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  1. #1
    uprising is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Should I become a doctor just for the money?

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    I didn't know where to put this thread, you can move it if you feel necessary. So I heard that becoming a doctor for the money is not worth the effort, but is this really true? I mean the effort in getting a job with 150k+ salary is very difficult if you are going into other fields.

    I've finished my undergrad in Biology and my only options are either to go to the carribean next semester or go to grad school and then to med school, which just seems to stretch the time to becoming a doctor to ridiculous lengths. I've never really enjoyed medicine, but when looking at other career paths, I've found that I primarily look at what the salary would be. Becoming a doctor would take 6 more years of schooling including residency, and going back to school to follow another career path would take a similar amount of time, but I would get a lower salary. If I were to be an economist for example, I would have to redo my bachelor's which would take 2 years, and then take 3+ years of grad school. And I would have to make it BIG in any field I was in to even reach the starting doctor's salary.

    EDIT: I guess I could get an MBA, which would take 4 years tops, but meh for 2 more years of schooling/residency I would make more as a doctor I think.
    Last edited by uprising; 03-02-2013 at 02:18 PM.

  2. #2
    devildoc8404's Avatar
    devildoc8404 is offline Ultimate Member 12699 points
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    I honestly can't tell if you are being serious here, but I will assume that you are.

    First off, the money? Really? With the trends in medicine in the States right now? HELL no, kids... medicine is not the place for someone who is solely interested in money. The amount of effort and sacrifice required over the course of medical school and residency, (which you essentially cannot fathom at this point, or you likely would not have started this thread) will probably make you loathe it even if you actually like medicine at the outset.

    Medicine is not worth the effort if you are only out for a good-paying job. Not even close. And let's be honest, if you don't like it now, you will bleeping HATE it during medical school, residency, and practice. It will eat your life.

    If you like medicine, then that is fine, you signed on for the deal, and you will basically enjoy your work, and that is just the price you pay. However, if you hate it, you will resent every second. There is no way I would recommend medicine to someone who is not passionate about it. I have known too many people who were on the fence about medicine who either quit, failed out, or told me that they hated their lives during residency and even thereafter. Do it because you love it. No patient deserves to be seen by someone who is only interested in their paycheck, anyway.

    If you are only interested in money but want to use that bio degree, go into dentistry (although the same principle applies... who wants a dentist who is only interested in them as a cash cow?). Dentists can start working right out of dental school and they make a very good living. if you specialize it goes up from there, and the hours are much more people-friendly.

    If you want to make money in something else, become an actuary. A lot of them make ridiculous amounts of money. Or get that MBA and go into business, kick tail, and become a CEO. Or go into the pharmaceutical industry. All of those are faster, easier, and much less likely to embitter you at the end.

    "When I haven't any
    blue... I use red
    ."
    - Pablo Picasso

    BA - Oregon ° MS - BYU ° MD - MU-Sofia
    Clinical Research Fellow / Resident
    Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman 1996-2003


  3. #3
    axiomofchoice is offline Senior Member 6116 points
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    I tend to disagree with devildoc a little on the matter. Statistically speaking, even with cuts in reimbursement, no career on average comes close to the salary of physicians. (CEOs, bankers, and high paid lawyers are outliers).

    While we like to think of ourselves 'special' when it comes to the calling of medicine, the day to day practice is still work, no more no less. An MD degree can give you many career options, including roles in administration, pharmaceuticals, consulting and business. Remember though, going to a caribbean med school closes many of those doors.

    There are many people in med school who chose to become doctors by default rather than calling. Some will hate their lives, but most will be just fine. Whether they make good docs is a different question.

  4. #4
    drrich2 is offline Junior Member 519 points
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    Think through what high income means to you. I assume you're familiar with the concept of diminishing returns; that investing in something worthwhile (nutrition, physical fitness, education, cultural enrichment, etc...) at lower levels often has a strong 'pay off' which diminishes as you get progressively more serious about it.

    That also applies to income. From the perspective of a homeless street person, getting a job and becoming 'working class' has a strong payoff; housing, regular meals, transportation, health insurance & utilities. Go to college and you're looking at an indoor air-conditioned job, more money, bigger house, nicer neighborhood, etc..., even with similar hours.

    Now, when you take it to the level of a Physician who runs up over $150,000 in debt & to start earning modest income in residency, and 'real' income afterward, with no pension benefits or seniority acrueing till after residency, and well, you've got to ask yourself how large an impact that bigger income will make on your quality of life, and your family's. And what it will cost you (hours, call, etc...).

    A Caribbean school will likely limit residency choices, so if you're looking at Dermatology or Ophthalmology, might better switch to looking at Family Practice (lower pay & can really burn you out with long, arduous hours), Internal Medicine, Neurology and Psychiatry.

    Richard.

  5. #5
    devildoc8404's Avatar
    devildoc8404 is offline Ultimate Member 12699 points
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    Medicine is a job, no question about it, but it also requires a much bigger sacrifice than a lot of jobs. That nice paycheck comes with some significant strings attached to it for most specialties, and if that is the SOLE reason that you are in the gig, it's going to get wicked old, wicked fast. What good is 200k/year if you are working 80 hours a week, rarely see your family and/or friends, and have "a fast car you never get to drive*?"

    *(Heat, Reverend Horton; "That's Showbiz")

    As far as lifestyle is concerned, it makes a hell of a lot more sense for someone who admittedly does not really like medicine to begin with to do something that pays even half to three quarters as much, but does not require the investment of time and effort (and then more time) to make more money.

    And yeah, I still would a thousand times rather be treated by a doc who gives a rat's rectum about medicine and his/her patients, than someone who is looking for ways to maximize profit on the back of my insurance company. One of the most intriguing docs I met in medical school told me that his goal was "to never make a clinical decision for a patient based on my own bottom line." He had outside business interests that he and his wife were pursuing to make that a reality, and it made the idealistic part of my heart wiggle a little bit.

    "When I haven't any
    blue... I use red
    ."
    - Pablo Picasso

    BA - Oregon ° MS - BYU ° MD - MU-Sofia
    Clinical Research Fellow / Resident
    Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman 1996-2003


  6. #6
    Riften is offline Junior Member 513 points
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    I don't think it's worth it given the time you have to spend for studying and clinicals.

  7. #7
    stledmonds15 is offline Newbie 510 points
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    there isn't a lot of money to made in medicine these days unless you are a specialist.

  8. #8
    devildoc8404's Avatar
    devildoc8404 is offline Ultimate Member 12699 points
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    That is not what my friends who are finishing residency this year are finding. I am not sure what the future holds, but there is currently still pretty decent remuneration in medicine, comparatively speaking, even for non-specialists. (As in, seven of the top ten occupations in the US on this list, and two of the other three are in dentistry.)

    Top Ten Lists :: Highest Paying Jobs

    The point is not the bottom line. The point is what it costs you to receive that paycheck, which is another animal entirely.

    "When I haven't any
    blue... I use red
    ."
    - Pablo Picasso

    BA - Oregon ° MS - BYU ° MD - MU-Sofia
    Clinical Research Fellow / Resident
    Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman 1996-2003


  9. #9
    patriciadolphin is offline Newbie 510 points
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    If anyone want a doctor them keep your focus on serving people.If yo your work nicely money comes automatically.

  10. #10
    patriciadolphin is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Don't be a doctor just to earn money.

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