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Difference Between Fellowship and Residency

Fellowship vs Residency

Studying medicine can take a longer time than most other fields. After several years of a pre medicine course, it is time for medicine proper. Then after graduation from a medical program, the new graduate must then apply for a residency and a fellowship.

These two are done after graduation from medicine. They provide further training for those who want to specialize in a specific field of study like pediatrics, neurology, or cardiology, to name a few.

One might ask if they are necessary. If you want to treat a specific disease then you should specialize. If you want to enter into teaching and a bigger community or medical facility, then you should get a fellowship.


Residency is usually done after internship and graduation. It is a medical training required of those that have received a medical degree, from pharmacy, and dental, optical, and podiatric programs under supervision of licensed physicians in a medical establishment.

In the United States, a residency is usually funded by Medicare. It is aimed at further educating those that are in the medical profession, including physical therapists, in preparation for providing proper patient care.

It is designed to help expand the health provider’s knowledge and expertise in the examination and diagnosis of a patient in a specialized area. It also helps him provide the right prognosis of an ailment and determine its effective management and intervention.

A residency will enable the individual to become a board certified clinical specialist. It encompasses community service, research, supervision, and patient education of professional and paraprofessional health care providers.


A fellowship usually follows a residency. The requirement for a fellowship depends largely on the individual’s field of specialization and the area where he wants to practice medicine. Small communities don’t require their doctors to have undergone fellowship training but working or teaching in large hospitals would require fellowship training.

A year of residency might be included as the first year of a fellowship. It allows one to gain more knowledge and training on his chosen specialty. For example, after finishing a cardiology residency program, you may opt to take a fellowship on pediatric cardiology.

Those that have done residencies in internal medicine can do a fellowship on cardiology. If you want to enter into academic medicine, then a fellowship is needed. It will allow one to act as attending or consultant physician in his field of specialty.


1. Residency is done after graduation and internship while Fellowship is done after residency.
2. Residency is additional training on an individual’s chosen field of specialization while Fellowship is further training on his specialization.
3. Both are funded by the government and those who only want to practice medicine can only get a residency while those who want to enter into academic medicine must have a fellowship.
4. Those who want to work in small communities only need a residency while those who want to work in a bigger community or medical establishment would need a fellowship as well.

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1 Comment

  1. After pa physician assistant .. can a person do fellowship??

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