jakeanton7

5+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2010
1
0
Status
Hey guys, I am in my first year of college and I am really going in circles in my head trying to decide on a career path or even a decision on my major and any help would be really appreciated.

I am a freshman at a pretty small Midwest state school and originally came in to college as either going to major in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering. I’ve always been really uncertain about what career I wanted to go towards, switching between everything from college professor to lawyer to surgeon to math teacher and who knows how many others. I eventually decided on Electrical Engineering because I have an interest in technology and because it seemed like a fairly broad technical degree that could also go into finance, management, research, patent law, ect. But now I am really starting to second guess my choice in major and am considering switching towards a more pre-dental friendly major.

Now the main reasons I am considering dentistry are what everyone will probably say are the wrong reasons. I love the idea of building a practice up from scratch and being a self-employed, small town country dentist. I considered medicine for a while because of this very same reason, but it is increasingly clear to me that that is a dying way of life among physicians. I really have a strong interest in business, managing, and finances, and I feel like I would enjoy this whole aspect of it. I’m also a pretty compassionate person and enjoy helping people, so that appeals to me alot. The ability to work in a wide variety of locations sounds great (especially in rural/suburban areas, since I really dislike big cities), as opposed to being confined to certain cities to get a good job in many professions. And the pay and lifestyle sound pretty great, since I want to have time for my family and for other things in my life and not be working every night or weekend. One of the biggest things I am concerned about in pursuing dentistry is I don’t have a very strong interest in biology and medical type subjects. Although I am the kind of guy who loves to learn about a ton of different fields, I don’t feel any huge passion for medicine and health over any other topic. With this being the case, is it stupid for me to even consider being a dentist?

On the flip side with engineering, it seems like I have a variety of different fields to go into, whether on the research end or the business and management end. I like the fact that our engineering college requires three co-ops, which normally pay well and provide great opportunities for future employment. And I am fairly interested in the technology of most of the stuff, at least on a superficial level. I honestly might get to higher engineering classes and realize I hate it, it’s hard to say. But with engineering I am not guaranteed to be able to pick where I want to live, or to pick my hours, or have any of the freedoms that seem to come with solo practice dentistry. The pay is fine, but isn’t near as high as dentistry (this is a factor in any decision, so please don’t say that you can completely ignore salary).

What I’d really like to do is to try and combine engineering and pre-dental requirements, but this will ensure that I will spend at least 5 years for undergrad, including summers, and may hurt my GPA a good deal. To be honest, pre-med requirements don’t fit in at all with EE, so I may pursue something like ChemE instead, since that at least reduces a few more classes I need. Or I could pursue something like physics, which I am also very interested in, along with pre-dent. It seems to have better job prospects with just a BS than a standard biology degree, but will probably be much tougher. The biggest problem I think I have is I don’t really know what I am interested in. I like a wide variety of subjects, but I don’t know enough about the careers in engineering, dentistry, physics, finance, ect to say which one I would be happiest in.

Sorry about the wall-o-text I put up, but thanks to anyone who is willing to offer any advice!
 

UndergradGuy7

10+ Year Member
Jun 23, 2007
897
2
Status
Pre-Dental
Nowhere does it say you need to be a biology major to be a dentist. If you can do well in engineering courses and take the pre-reqs and maybe a few upper level biology classes you will be fine for dental school. But don't think just because you are engineering major and it is harder that you can get a 2.8 gpa and apply. You still need a good gpa like everyone else, regardless of major. So gpa, DAT, pre-reqs and you are fine.

If you don't like biology and it does not interest you, don't you think it will be harder for you to be a biology major than an engineer major?

Also shadow a dentist or two, or a physician, etc before you get into applying and all. You said dental doesn't have options like engineering. You say engineering has research and many fields. Dental can do research, you have a few specialties to pick from, you can teach at a dental school...?


If you like electrical engineering, stay engineering if you can get a good gpa in it, take the chemistry/biology pre-reqs and apply to dental school. That way you have an engineering background and can go to dental school, both options open. There is a few people on this forum that did engineering and dental, I would think you can do it in 4 years if you take summer school?

Here is an example of engineering + dental (sure an extreme example). Dentists + engineer make sonicare

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonicare
 
Last edited:

4thMolar

5+ Year Member
May 25, 2009
957
0
Status
Pre-Dental
You seem really interested in engineering, so, as the above poster mentioned, stick with engineering as a major and take the dental school pre-reqs. That way you can still apply to dental school and if it doesn't pan out, you can always have a backup plan in engineering. Also, dentistry is a multi-dimensional field, you don't necessarily have to go into private practice. You can do research, become an academician, go into public health, etc. You really need to shadow a few general dentists and specialists and see if dentistry really fits you and is something you can see yourself doing for the next 30+ years. You're still early in your academic career, but one thing you definitely want to make sure you do, no matter what field you go into, is to keep your GPA high and be a well-rounded student.
 

dentalWorks

Nights Watchmen
7+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2009
5,646
158
Sterling Hts, Mi
Status
Dentist
Hey guys, I am in my first year of college and I am really going in circles in my head trying to decide on a career path or even a decision on my major and any help would be really appreciated.

I am a freshman at a pretty small Midwest state school and originally came in to college as either going to major in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering. I’ve always been really uncertain about what career I wanted to go towards, switching between everything from college professor to lawyer to surgeon to math teacher and who knows how many others. I eventually decided on Electrical Engineering because I have an interest in technology and because it seemed like a fairly broad technical degree that could also go into finance, management, research, patent law, ect. But now I am really starting to second guess my choice in major and am considering switching towards a more pre-dental friendly major.

Now the main reasons I am considering dentistry are what everyone will probably say are the wrong reasons. I love the idea of building a practice up from scratch and being a self-employed, small town country dentist. I considered medicine for a while because of this very same reason, but it is increasingly clear to me that that is a dying way of life among physicians. I really have a strong interest in business, managing, and finances, and I feel like I would enjoy this whole aspect of it. I’m also a pretty compassionate person and enjoy helping people, so that appeals to me alot. The ability to work in a wide variety of locations sounds great (especially in rural/suburban areas, since I really dislike big cities), as opposed to being confined to certain cities to get a good job in many professions. And the pay and lifestyle sound pretty great, since I want to have time for my family and for other things in my life and not be working every night or weekend. One of the biggest things I am concerned about in pursuing dentistry is I don’t have a very strong interest in biology and medical type subjects. Although I am the kind of guy who loves to learn about a ton of different fields, I don’t feel any huge passion for medicine and health over any other topic. With this being the case, is it stupid for me to even consider being a dentist?

On the flip side with engineering, it seems like I have a variety of different fields to go into, whether on the research end or the business and management end. I like the fact that our engineering college requires three co-ops, which normally pay well and provide great opportunities for future employment. And I am fairly interested in the technology of most of the stuff, at least on a superficial level. I honestly might get to higher engineering classes and realize I hate it, it’s hard to say. But with engineering I am not guaranteed to be able to pick where I want to live, or to pick my hours, or have any of the freedoms that seem to come with solo practice dentistry. The pay is fine, but isn’t near as high as dentistry (this is a factor in any decision, so please don’t say that you can completely ignore salary).

What I’d really like to do is to try and combine engineering and pre-dental requirements, but this will ensure that I will spend at least 5 years for undergrad, including summers, and may hurt my GPA a good deal. To be honest, pre-med requirements don’t fit in at all with EE, so I may pursue something like ChemE instead, since that at least reduces a few more classes I need. Or I could pursue something like physics, which I am also very interested in, along with pre-dent. It seems to have better job prospects with just a BS than a standard biology degree, but will probably be much tougher. The biggest problem I think I have is I don’t really know what I am interested in. I like a wide variety of subjects, but I don’t know enough about the careers in engineering, dentistry, physics, finance, ect to say which one I would be happiest in.

Sorry about the wall-o-text I put up, but thanks to anyone who is willing to offer any advice!
Okay, let me put a few things in prospective for you since I am a computer science major and yes, I have worked as a software engineer in a project where more than 30% of the I.T guys had engineering degrees (mechanical / electrical / computer engineering, and even 1 chemical engineer haha).

As an engineer, you will MOST LIKELY land an I.T job. You sit infront of a computer screen for 8-9 hours a day, you have 1hr to 1hr30minute lunch to go out and "socialize" but then you come back to your cubical and..... you guessed it, back to that computer screen. The job is dull and can rob you of your soul.... you will have the LEAST amount of interactions amongst other human beings...... Can you see yourself doing this job for the next 20-30 years (basically till retirement?).... I couldn't, which is why I switched to a more healthcare based environment

As a health care provider (dentist), you have to know your biology cold, even if you don't use it in your private practice that much, you still need it to pass the national boards so you can get licensed. Its annoying for some, but enjoyable for others. The job (I am not a dentist - yet) but is extremely human-interactive, and the term "the skys the limit" is absolutely true with this field..... there are SOOOO many different things you can do when you earn your dental degree. You can work only 20-30 hours, be an associate, and never have to worry about owning and managing your own bussines.... or you can bust your butt working 50-60 hours a week, make an amazing income, but not have much of a life style.... or you can go on and open a private practice, if you see yourself able to open more and branch out, you can do that (if your business skills are up to the task of course) and again, make a HUGE income..... there are soooo many things you can do as a dentist.

You don't have to enjoy biology to become a dentist or physician... but you need to be able to understand it (memorize it) when the situation calls. If you can't handle biology, forget healthcare in general
 

racquetballer

7+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2010
43
2
Maryland
Status
Dentist
I agree with DentalWorks. However, don't get the idea that you must be in a biology major Period. However, I would not stray away from taking a science based major. I am a biology major because I thought that it was what everyone did that wanted to be in health care, but it isn't. If I were to do it over again I wouldn't pick biology, I would probably pick chemistry. Now, here are some more options of some majors that will give you the science that you need; clinical lab science, biochem, nursing (don't laugh), and even anatomy and physiology.
 
Jun 24, 2010
302
0
Status
Pre-Dental
As an engineer, you will MOST LIKELY land an I.T job. You sit infront of a computer screen for 8-9 hours a day, you have 1hr to 1hr30minute lunch to go out and "socialize" but then you come back to your cubical and..... you guessed it, back to that computer screen. The job is dull and can rob you of your soul....
LOL, well, that might be the case for a " Code Monkey" ( it is not meant to be insulting) but engineering is not ALWYAS as what you described.

I have my masters in engineering and I have worked for few years and I worked on some amazing projects. My experience is nothing like you described. Yes, there were days that I spent infront of computer and coded for 10 hours straight but there was also days that I spent flying in planes, on ships and ... doing data gathering and testing.

I am sharing this so JakeAnton7 get a different feel for what engineering is about and could be for him.
 

dentalWorks

Nights Watchmen
7+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2009
5,646
158
Sterling Hts, Mi
Status
Dentist
As an engineer, you will MOST LIKELY land an I.T job.
LOL, well, that might be the case for a " Code Monkey" ( it is not meant to be insulting) but engineering is not ALWYAS as what you described.

I have my masters in engineering and I have worked for few years and I worked on some amazing projects. My experience is nothing like you described. Yes, there were days that I spent infront of computer and coded for 10 hours straight but there was also days that I spent flying in planes, on ships and ... doing data gathering and testing.

I am sharing this so JakeAnton7 get a different feel for what engineering is about and could be for him.
Did you read the keyword "MOST LIKELY"? Yes I know about the amazing opportunities that engineers (such as the consultants from my old firm) have, but MOST young-fresh out of undergrad engineers tend to land jobs in the I.T industry as 'code-monkeys' cause a) its somewhat "easy" to land this job for THAT type of degree and b) the pay is good-to-very good.

As I mentioned earlier, we had 1 chemical engineer in our department. That was an oddity, right? Not really, it turns out, he couldn't find a job in that sector, after working in some biochemical plant for 20+ years, he was laid off.... his next "logical" step was code-monkey (as you described it).

I understand you want to give people a different prospective about engineering, but you should also give them an indication of the likelihood of them landing the more-interesting opportunities.
 

7 Iron

5+ Year Member
Oct 8, 2010
686
9
Status
Dentist
As an engineer, you will MOST LIKELY land an I.T job. You sit infront of a computer screen for 8-9 hours a day, you have 1hr to 1hr30minute lunch to go out and "socialize" but then you come back to your cubical and..... you guessed it, back to that computer screen. The job is dull and can rob you of your soul....
Haha.. you're not a fan of the cubicle either, I see... this is the situation I'm in. I'm not in engineering, but I am in corporate America. As facetious as you may have been, I think after a couple years in corporate it really does rob you of your soul. I can't take it that much longer. Thank God dental school is coming. It's gonna be hard, but it's gotta be easier than this. If you get stuck in a pencil pusher job, you can be there until you die. There's women who are 60+ in my department, still slaving away for "the man." In dentistry, you can avoid all of this garbage.