The specialties in medicine and surgery developed slowly during the later 19th century and the early decades of this century. The American boards were the focal points for sponsoring specialty societies through which these developments occurred. The resident review committees have also played an important role. Otolaryngology resident education has developed into a progressively structured educational experience so that presently otolaryngology resident education is a broad experience in head and neck oncology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, otology, laryngology, rhinology, allergy and immunology, bronchoesophagology, teaching and research. Resident education is not static. The year of 1978 can be noted as the year of change, for the Resident Review Committee in Otolaryngology recommended that resident education be of five years in duration, one year being in surgery, three years in otolaryngology and one year being elective as to content. Such programming can be highly structured to meet a candidate's present and future needs in manpower, superspecialization and general otolaryngology. In this system superspecialization can and will be recognized and awarded through channels already established in otolaryngology. Manpower and general otolaryngology will also profit.