Engineering vs. Physician Salary Recovery Time (chances are you will never catch

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wisconsindoctor

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I know my numbers are going to be off, but I will give it a try.

I'm going to use a starting salary of $60,000 for engineering and a yearly salary of $132,000 for doctors.

Both graduate the same year. Student A is the engineering professional and Student B is the doctor.

For simplification, we are assuming no student debt from undergraduate school….I'm also not taking into account cost of living and everything else for simplification.

Student A:

Years in employment: please know that these numbers are not fully accurate….just a good guess to the numbers

1: 60,000
2: 62,000
3: 65,000 (attends masters degree program)
4: promotion…..85,000
5: 90,000
6: promotion…..100,000
7: 105,000
8: 110,000
9: 115,000
10: 120,000
11: 125,000
12: 130,000
13: 132,000
I will use 135,000 from here on out for the next 25 years

Total life-time salary for first 13 years = 1,299,000

Total life-time salary for the next 25 years = 3,300,000

Student B:

Medical school debt: 200,000

Year 1: 0
Year 2: 0
Year 3: 0
Year 4: 0
Year 5: 44,000
Year 6: 46,000
Year 7: 48,000
Year 8: 52,000
(for New York residents, add on 10,000 more for each year)
Year 9: 132,000
Year 10: 132,000
Year 11: 132,000
Year 12: 132,000
Year 13: 132,000

First 13 years of life-time income = 850,000

First 13 years comparison
Student A: 1,299,000
Student B: 850,000
Difference: 449000

Next 13 years of income = 3,300,000

38 years of total life-time income
Student A: 4599000
Student B: 4150000
Difference: 449000

Now add in medical school debt for person B

With a debt load of 200,000 with a 10 year repayment plan with a 6.8 percent interest = $236,483.75

4150000 – 236,483 = 3,913,517

Difference:
Person A: 4599000
Person B: 3913517
Difference: 685483

You will never catch up to a person in your life-time (from straight earnings) if you earn $132,000 a year as a doctor in your first year and throughout year life-time when you compare a person making the same salary level when you start as a doctor.

I'm assuming the usual undergraduate, to medical school, to residency path
 
8

87138

I know my numbers are going to be off, but I will give it a try.

I’m going to use a starting salary of $60,000 for engineering and a yearly salary of $132,000 for doctors.

Both graduate the same year. Student A is the engineering professional and Student B is the doctor.

For simplification, we are assuming no student debt from undergraduate school….I’m also not taking into account cost of living and everything else for simplification.

Student A:

Years in employment: please know that these numbers are not fully accurate….just a good guess to the numbers

1: 60,000
2: 62,000
3: 65,000 (attends masters degree program)
4: promotion…..85,000
5: 90,000
6: promotion…..100,000
7: 105,000
8: 110,000
9: 115,000
10: 120,000
11: 125,000
12: 130,000
13: 132,000
I will use 135,000 from here on out for the next 25 years

Total life-time salary for first 13 years = 1,299,000

Total life-time salary for the next 25 years = 3,300,000

Student B:

Medical school debt: 200,000

Year 1: 0
Year 2: 0
Year 3: 0
Year 4: 0
Year 5: 44,000
Year 6: 46,000
Year 7: 48,000
Year 8: 52,000
(for New York residents, add on 10,000 more for each year)
Year 9: 132,000
Year 10: 132,000
Year 11: 132,000
Year 12: 132,000
Year 13: 132,000

First 13 years of life-time income = 850,000

First 13 years comparison
Student A: 1,299,000
Student B: 850,000
Difference: 449000

Next 13 years of income = 3,300,000

38 years of total life-time income
Student A: 4599000
Student B: 4150000
Difference: 449000

Now add in medical school debt for person B

With a debt load of 200,000 with a 10 year repayment plan with a 6.8 percent interest = $236,483.75

4150000 – 236,483 = 3,913,517

Difference:
Person A: 4599000
Person B: 3913517
Difference: 685483

You will never catch up to a person in your life-time (from straight earnings) if you earn $132,000 a year as a doctor in your first year and throughout year life-time when you compare a person making the same salary level when you start as a doctor.

I’m assuming the usual undergraduate, to medical school, to residency path




You have a very weird agenda. We get it.
 
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mfrizzo3

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If I wanted to be a engineer I would be on SEN, so stop posting your crap about physicians pay. Nobody cares what you have to say.
 

Quadratic

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SgtDoc

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Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, some people might go into medicine for reasons other than money? You can't always calculate the intangible...
 

jpro

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wisconsin doc,

Just do engineering already and stop these stupid posts. Medicine is more than how much money or debt you have. If all you premeds will do what you are passionate about you will not only be very happy but very successful. My grandfather used to tell me this story about a guy that washed windows on the skyscrapers in NYC. He did this to pay his way through school. He absolutely loved his job and instead of going into wall street, engineering, medicine, ect... He washed windows and eventually got contracts all over the city, had some employees, and became a very wealthy window washer. The best part was that he got to do what he loved for the rest of his life.

The hardest part about finding a career is finding what you are passionate about. You will be very disappointed if you choose a career based of money.

Lets say you are passionate about engineering and start your own firm. What is your earning potential then. Lets say that you are all about medicine. I can think of a few multimillionaire/billionaire doctors. These are docs that have revolutionized medicine in some way. You can only do that if you have the passion.
 

TheRealMD

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A doctor who starts are $132k and stays at $132k isn't a doctor for the money. Period.

A doctor who truly cares ONLY about money probably wouldn't setting for FP in the first place. Plus, if they are going to bring themselves to have $200,000 worth of debt AND are motivated purely by money, they'd go after ANY OTHER SPECIALTY (and from what I know, it's not THAT hard to avoid FP). Besides, even if they are THAT worried about money, there are plenty of loan repayment programs you can take where you go work in a semi-rural area and they'll pay off your loans. Debt goes away and then you can move away when you're done.

Again, using FP is pretty shady, considering most doctors aren't family practicioners. Most pre-meds don't aspire to be such either. Those that want to do FP are the ones that match into FP.

Oy.
 

jpro

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A doctor who starts are $132k and stays at $132k isn't a doctor for the money. Period.

A doctor who truly cares ONLY about money probably wouldn't setting for FP in the first place. Plus, if they are going to bring themselves to have $200,000 worth of debt AND are motivated purely by money, they'd go after ANY OTHER SPECIALTY (and from what I know, it's not THAT hard to avoid FP). Besides, even if they are THAT worried about money, there are plenty of loan repayment programs you can take where you go work in a semi-rural area and they'll pay off your loans. Debt goes away and then you can move away when you're done.

Again, using FP is pretty shady, considering most doctors aren't family practicioners. Most pre-meds don't aspire to be such either. Those that want to do FP are the ones that match into FP.

Oy.

An FP in the right location doing the right procedures can pull some serious money. If you are an FP wanting to make a ton of money just focus your practice towards derm or do colonoscopies, ob, ect....
 

kedrin

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so with your numbers a doctor makes a fixed income with no pay raises for the rest of his career? wrong.

also 132000 is pretty low tier, i thought avg doctor pay was 200k, and what makes an engineer get 5k raises each year?
 

TheRealMD

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An FP in the right location doing the right procedures can pull some serious money. If you are an FP wanting to make a ton of money just focus your practice towards derm or do colonoscopies, ob, ect....

Yeah, I didn't want to come off as knocking FP or anything, but the OP is really just trying to cause a ruckus.
 

Pinkertinkle

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Why are posts in a different font always full of crap?
 
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CRSMD

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Wisconsindoctor,
So do you have sources to back up these engineering salary claims? According to Salary.com, the average salary for a top level engineer is $103,000.


oh... and Yay! This is my first post!
 

Hurricane95

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Most branches of engineering start lower than $60k with a BS. Lots of engineers start at $60k WITH a master's degree. Very few engineers make it to $130k at all during their career. Those who are truly doing engineering as their daily job (designing, planning, programming, etc.) usually rise up and eventually plateau somewhere below $100k (anywhere from $70k to $90k). Those who pass $100k and rise up as you speculate are usually engineers doing more business related work, corporate stuff and management. These are a minority. Engineers with PhDs doing academia or research are about on par with all other science investigators as far as salary ($100k or less). Furthermore you are assuming a $5k a year raise?! What kind of golden fantasy job are you imagining? Seriously I don't know where you got your numbers.
Don't get me wrong, I love engineering. I did it for undergrad and had I not gone to med school, I would have either gotten an MBA to go with the BS and try to climb the corporate ladder or gone to law school and done patent law for a biomedical company. But your math for the run of the mill engineer is all wrong...do your research.

I see you are also assuming the engineer's schooling is completely free. Master's degrees don't pay themselves in most cases.
 

mfrizzo3

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What a douche LOL. Passionate about washing windows 8 hours a day (For the rest of his life!?)? You've turned my life around. I'm going to become a pro window-washer and be happy forever! I'll die at 94, washing windows. The people are my funeral will say "It's good he died doing something he loved. He lived a full, happy life"

Who cares what people say at your funeral?
 
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I don't understand...

If you want to do engineering, then do engineering. If you want to be a doctor, then go into medicine...

What's the point in comparing the financial prospects of each one? In both you can potentially make pretty decent money, or you may not. There are certainly no guarantees in either profession
 
8

8744

I know my numbers are going to be off, but I will give it a try.

I’m going to use a starting salary of $60,000 for engineering and a yearly salary of $132,000 for doctors.

Both graduate the same year. Student A is the engineering professional and Student B is the doctor.

For simplification, we are assuming no student debt from undergraduate school….I’m also not taking into account cost of living and everything else for simplification.

Student A:

Years in employment: please know that these numbers are not fully accurate….just a good guess to the numbers

1: 60,000
2: 62,000
3: 65,000 (attends masters degree program)
4: promotion…..85,000
5: 90,000
6: promotion…..100,000
7: 105,000
8: 110,000
9: 115,000
10: 120,000
11: 125,000
12: 130,000
13: 132,000
I will use 135,000 from here on out for the next 25 years

Total life-time salary for first 13 years = 1,299,000

Total life-time salary for the next 25 years = 3,300,000

Student B:

Medical school debt: 200,000

Year 1: 0
Year 2: 0
Year 3: 0
Year 4: 0
Year 5: 44,000
Year 6: 46,000
Year 7: 48,000
Year 8: 52,000
(for New York residents, add on 10,000 more for each year)
Year 9: 132,000
Year 10: 132,000
Year 11: 132,000
Year 12: 132,000
Year 13: 132,000

First 13 years of life-time income = 850,000

First 13 years comparison
Student A: 1,299,000
Student B: 850,000
Difference: 449000

Next 13 years of income = 3,300,000

38 years of total life-time income
Student A: 4599000
Student B: 4150000
Difference: 449000

Now add in medical school debt for person B

With a debt load of 200,000 with a 10 year repayment plan with a 6.8 percent interest = $236,483.75

4150000 – 236,483 = 3,913,517

Difference:
Person A: 4599000
Person B: 3913517
Difference: 685483

You will never catch up to a person in your life-time (from straight earnings) if you earn $132,000 a year as a doctor in your first year and throughout year life-time when you compare a person making the same salary level when you start as a doctor.

I’m assuming the usual undergraduate, to medical school, to residency path


The only way to make money in engineering is to be in business for yourself either as consultant or as the principal of an engineering firm. Even then you are at the mercy of the economy and have to make hay like crazy while the sun shines to cover you when it doesn't. I was a real, honest to gosh, engineer and, assuming that medical salaries stay relatively constant, I will come out way, way ahead as an Emergency Physician even taking into account my half-million or so of debt plus opportunity cost.
 

jelly476

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well you've converted me! im going to change my life around and become an engineer. Lets all be engineers!
 

Quadratic

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What a douche LOL. Passionate about washing windows 8 hours a day (For the rest of his life!?)? You've turned my life around. I'm going to become a pro window-washer and be happy forever! I'll die at 94, washing windows. The people are my funeral will say "It's good he died doing something he loved. He lived a full, happy life"

One of my dad's friends told me a story about 5 years ago. One of his teachers asked him and his friends what career did they want when they got older. She threw out different options and one was "garbageman." He was the only one to raise his hand.

Now he has one of the best disposal companies in Chicago. He not only does neighborhoods but also private commercial garbage for big time retailers: Walgreens, Home depot, different malls, etc.
http://www.floodbrothersdisposal.com/

Moral: Often the jobs people don't want to do turn into the most profitable. The more you don't like his job, the better. More for him.
 

Luxian

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So you're saying for just a 10% lifetime paycut I can have a job I love instead of a job I hate? Rock awesome!

Seriously, I'm already making this decision. Engineering degree at Caltech --> starting med school in the fall.
 
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Jack S

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Your numbers are way off. This should be obvious from your conclusion "You will never catch up to a person in your life-time". Of course he won't catch up! You gave the engineer a higher salary than the doctor! This is not realistic - go look up average salaries on salary.com. The engineer gets a $20,000 raise in year 4? Absurd even granting a promotion. As an engineer you will probably top out just a little above $100k after many years of work with the same company (depending on location of course). As a doctor you will probably start at a higher salary than the engineer will top out at and it will only increase from there. Why did you not give the doctor any salary increase at all? That's totally unrealistic. Also this is assuming the lowest paid specialties.


 

HappyG0Lucky

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I just had to say, as the significant other of a mechanical engineer, your salary predictions are extremely optimistic for the engineer. What sort of engineer is this and did he have a 4.0 or something coming out of school? It takes quite awhile to reach 132k as an engineer. My SO's father is an extremely specialized fire safety engineer (mechanical + chemical + several emphasis) and he has only just reached the $135k mark at 30+ years in the field.

In the end it's not about money anyway. Even if I never catch up to engineers, who cares? I will still be living comfortably enough, be able the provide for my family, and more importantly (for me) working with people and seeing what a difference I'm making for them instead of sitting at a desk punching in numbers waiting for 5:00. If you want to be an engineer, fine, but at least get your facts straight first.
 

Jack S

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Just a brief look up on salary.com shows a pretty "average" engineer:
Electrical Engineer III ~ $82,000 / year (national average)

and the top of the line:
Electrical Engineer V ~ $109k /year

Of course, you COULD work your way up the corporate ladder and become a manager or supervisor and make more $ but that wouldn't be what the average worker would do. You would have to compare an engineering manager to a doctor with an above average specialty to be fair (maybe orthopedic surgeon).

Now look at doctors:

Physician - Family Practice ~ $158k / year
Physician - Internal Medicine ~ $166k / year

so even some of the lowest paid specialties are making on average close to twice the "average" engineer.

My point isn't to say that you will be super rich being a doctor. I just wanted to point out how biased and inaccurate your numbers are.
 

Obnoxious Dad

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The OP's financial assumptions, analysis and conclusions are entirely absurd.

I know a kid who recently graduated in the middle of his class from Michigan's Chem E program. He can't find an engineering job. Engineering is not an easy path. Layoffs are frequent. Experienced engineers often have a tough time retooling after a layoff because they may not be experienced in the hottest new software.

The OP keeps hanging on to this stupid salary of $132,000 per year. This may have been the norm in 1990.

Do you think the OP might be on a waitlist or two?:laugh:
 

66fb

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I feel like I have to weigh in and correct some misinformation (enough to register after lurking for over a year). I have been an engineer for almost ten years and I am now a manager. While the OP's scenario my not be the average, it is very possible - with the right field. I work in aerospace engineering and our starting salaries are above 60K. In my industry, wages rise very rapidly at first and then approach inflation as one plateaus in one's career. My salary doubled in about seven years. I personally know at least 3 engineers making 130K ten years out of undergrad.

Now this scenario is not the average (Id say 95K ten years out is average at my company). However if you are smart enough and hardworking enough to get into medical school, especially a very competitive one, my guess is you may very well be one of the better engineers around your company. Your pay and job opportunities will reflect this and your salary could easily rise as fast as originally posted.

Also, at my company, if you are willing to attend a master's degree program in engineering while working, the company will automatically pay for it (my company wont pay for MBAs, but other companies will) . So, in that sense, master's degrees do pay for themselves.

Some of the previous posters were once civil/structural engineers and I think their comments are also valid. When I graduated, structural engineering salaries were about 30% lower than aerospace engineering salaries and a masters degree was essentially required (I only know one engineer who got a structural engineering job without at least an MS).

Now, I am in no way trying to disparage a medical career, or its financial or personal rewards, but I would discourage people from posting their opinions as fact and personally attacking another poster if they know nothing about a topic.
 

ufgrad00

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I love how he uses his calculations with high salaries for an engineer and an FP salary for a doctor. If money is all that matters, maybe he should see how the calculations work out when he is using a cardiologist making 280K or a rad onc doctor making 300K. :rolleyes:
 

mfrizzo3

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I feel like I have to weigh in and correct some misinformation (enough to register after lurking for over a year). I have been an engineer for almost ten years and I am now a manager. While the OP's scenario my not be the average, it is very possible - with the right field. I work in aerospace engineering and our starting salaries are above 60K. In my industry, wages rise very rapidly at first and then approach inflation as one plateaus in one's career. My salary doubled in about seven years. I personally know at least 3 engineers making 130K ten years out of undergrad.

Now this scenario is not the average (Id say 95K ten years out is average at my company). However if you are smart enough and hardworking enough to get into medical school, especially a very competitive one, my guess is you may very well be one of the better engineers around your company. Your pay and job opportunities will reflect this and your salary could easily rise as fast as originally posted.

Also, at my company, if you are willing to attend a master's degree program in engineering while working, the company will automatically pay for it (my company wont pay for MBAs, but other companies will) . So, in that sense, master's degrees do pay for themselves.

Some of the previous posters were once civil/structural engineers and I think their comments are also valid. When I graduated, structural engineering salaries were about 30% lower than aerospace engineering salaries and a masters degree was essentially required (I only know one engineer who got a structural engineering job without at least an MS).

Now, I am in no way trying to disparage a medical career, or its financial or personal rewards, but I would discourage people from posting their opinions as fact and personally attacking another poster if they know nothing about a topic.

we have had multiple engineers speak about the topic, not one of them said it was not possible. They only said it was not the norm.
 

Drogba

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Wisconsindoc you have cemented yourself as the most annoying poster on SDN, at least in my book.
 
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oompaloompab0i

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wow, thats ridiculous, my dad graduated from UCLA engineering master's program and 24 years later makes about 100,000, and trust me, it took him 24 years of hard work. i dont see how on AVERAGE any engineer would make 132,000 a year. actually, i know a lot of my friends' parents are engineers for over 15 years and still dont make over 80,000. i have no clue where you are getting your information from.
 

Drogba

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I guess it's the time of the year when we all like to rant, because this post is getting far more attention than it deserves.

Probably because people are sick of seeing wisconsindoc post this BS. He has made several posts to this effect with similarly idiotic analysis. I felt compelled to let him know how unappreciated his efforts are and it seems others feel the same way. :)
 

BigRedPremed

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Using some very questionable "averages," some very questionable math, and some very questionable logic, you can make any point you want. And, yet, all of this BS still ignores the fact that engineering is a very different field from medicine. How do you put a price on doing what you want?
 

TheElement

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Why is this forum always talking about money these days? Ahhhhhhh
 

jpro

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What a douche LOL. Passionate about washing windows 8 hours a day (For the rest of his life!?)? You've turned my life around. I'm going to become a pro window-washer and be happy forever! I'll die at 94, washing windows. The people are my funeral will say "It's good he died doing something he loved. He lived a full, happy life"

You missed the point. Probably not the first time though.
 

vin5cent0

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Look how flawed your data is.

You use the highest debt possible against doctors (200k?..). Then, you assume an engineer is going to start at 65k (HIGH) and end up at 132k? My friend is majoring in Electrical engineering and he'll be lucky to be making 35k his first years out of college.

The, you go on and assume some of the lowest wages for a physician. It isn't uncommon that a doctor be making $70,000 more than you made it seem.

In summary, it's easy to skew numbers when you give one profession some of the highest salaries available and the other profession one of the lowest.

If you want to play that game, how about this? There was a doctor at the Mayo Clinic a while ago who made something like 1.3 million a year. How do I know? Mayo Clinic is a non-profit org, so they have to post their top 3 highest salaries. My father works there and I remember him telling me how he made something like 3x the amount the CEO (for lack of better term) was making. I bet that guy will catch up to an engineer.
 

mfrizzo3

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The next person to post in this thread will be rejected by every school they apply to for the next 12 years. You have been warned.
 

axlaxl1

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I know my numbers are going to be off, but I will give it a try.

I’m going to use a starting salary of $60,000 for engineering and a yearly salary of $132,000 for doctors.

...
First 13 years of life-time income = 850,000

First 13 years comparison
Student A: 1,299,000
Student B: 850,000
Difference: 449000

Next 13 years of income = 3,300,000

38 years of total life-time income
Student A: 4599000
Student B: 4150000
Difference: 449000

Now add in medical school debt for person B

With a debt load of 200,000 with a 10 year repayment plan with a 6.8 percent interest = $236,483.75

4150000 – 236,483 = 3,913,517

Difference:
Person A: 4599000
Person B: 3913517
Difference: 685483

You will never catch up to a person in your life-time (from straight earnings) if you earn $132,000 a year as a doctor in your first year and throughout year life-time when you compare a person making the same salary level when you start as a doctor.

I’m assuming the usual undergraduate, to medical school, to residency path

First, if you're in it for the money go be an engineer. They need you more than the healthcare community. Second, you make IDIOTIC assumptions about a physician. 132K? That is a doctor that is working about 2 days a week 20 weeks out of the year. Come on. Second IDIOT assumption. Engineers salaries don't raise to such levels. You are nutz t think they will be earning over a 100K on a masters degree as a median with "promotions" from their bosses, lol.

Put in two quarters and try again. :lol:
 

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Those upper engineer salaries are way off. If you are taking into account all of the ex-engineer managers, then the upper salaries are certainly possible however that represents only a very very small segment of people who graduated with a B.S. in Engineering. I would concur with the above posters that a normal engineer won't make that much money unless they go into management and are very successful.

Additionally, some types of engineering jobs goes in waves. Some companies are notorious for hiring new grads for awesome salaries and then firing these engineers 5-10 years later and starting over. This makes rising the salary food chain very difficult.

The starting salary isn't too high though for this market. If you went to a decent school, got good grades and did internships you can make that. I know one girl who started at Exxon for near 70k (absolute genius, interned there for like 2+ years). Most of the top people in my classes are getting offers in the mid 50k's.

Also, why isn't this posted on studentengineer or something..........?
 

arwilli3

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Specifically regarding the OP's analysis, I find it somewhat lacking. Where is the effect of inflation, discount rate etc. ? You can't just add up the dollars for each year and have it make any true sense.......(one of my professor's this semester told me that by understanding this I'm probably 60% of the way to an MBA.....haha).
 

TM2006

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so four of my engineering friends just got 'possible lay-off notices'...the economy sucks man
 

RasslinGod

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But medicine is much more stable. Engineering has huge problems of outsourcing literally to another country and H1-B visa workers within the US.

Medicine is a much better career choice.
 

littlealex

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Wisconsin: are you seriously this unintelligent?

Your calculations are terrible. 130k a year is on the high end of engineering salary and low end of physician salary. In fact, you assumed no growth of the physician salary, which is just dumb.

I feel like you know your calculations are ******ed and just posted it to be a troll. Or maybe you didn't. In the latter case uh... I'm sorry..
 
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