Are Two Fellowships Too Many? Probably Most Of The Time!
Since most job seekers look for new jobs for only a few years and the majority of those job seekers are fellows, the collective consciousness of the radiology job market at any given time rapidly fades away. And, when the job market changes, we often forget about what new radiology residents had to deal with only a few years ago. But, talk to radiologists that graduated around 5 or 6 years ago. You will find that many of these folks had experienced a 180 degree opposite job market of today’s when they started to look. Moreover, if you ask them which fellowships they have completed, you shouldn’t be shocked to hear that they finished two of them. In all likelihood, that may have been the norm!
So, the question I pose for today, is there still a role for completing two fellowships? Are there any economic advantages to finishing two advanced subspecialty programs? And, what circumstances should lead a new resident to achieve more than one? You should find this discussion enlightening!
Why Should Anyone Complete Two Fellowships?
OK. From a monetary standpoint, it no longer makes much sense. Most folks can receive the same pay regardless of whether they have completed one or two, let alone none! And, indeed, the job prospects don’t change all that much nowadays if you have finished one or two. So, let’s scratch that reason off the list.
What about future job security? Well, again, I believe that folks that fellows that have completed two fellowships are just as likely to get canned as those have finished one. If you are an excellent radiologist, it should not matter much. And, you can be a lousy radiologist regardless of if you have one or two fellowships. Additionally, I can make the argument that some less competent radiologists have completed two advanced programs because they did not feel comfortable initially starting in the job market with just one. So. let’s nix that reason as well.
How about allowing you to do what you want in practice? No, most jobs have a niche that they need to fill. And, they will meet the demand regardless of the number of fellowships you complete. Sure, you may find a job that advertises for someone that could perform two specialties competently. But, by no means in most cases, do you need to complete two fellowships to fill the position. Those positions tend to be more general. And, it probably does not matter if you have graduated from two subspecialty programs.
So, When May Two Fellowships Come In Handy?
Honestly, I could come up with three main reasons for completing two different fellowships in the market in general. And, one reason specifically for economic reasons.
So, let’s start with the economic reason. (Does not apply for the current market!) When the job market is terrible, you may need two fellowships to stand out from the crowd. And, precisely, that situation happened five or six years ago. It was not uncommon to find these applicants at that time.
Next, some folks choose the wrong fellowship from the get-go. I know of one interventionalist that never really liked it much. And, this person practiced for years and years with the hope that one day she would grow into it. It never happened. So, she chose to start from scratch at a different fellowship. That could make some sense in certain situations.
What else? Say you want to bolster your academic credentials. Well, in the game of academics, numbers of papers, lectures, abstracts, and even degrees matter. And, yes, having an additional fellowship is like having an extra degree. It has the potential to boost your academic prospects in that sort of venue. (A bit different from my world!)
Is More Than One Fellowship Too Many?
Based on our short discussion, the answer is sometimes. And, for most people today, that want to set out into the world of radiology, two fellowships is most likely overkill. But, there is a time and a place for the second fellowship. The question is: is it yours?