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Honest Starting Salary

queenofortho16

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Hi Y'all!

This is a question that everyone loves to bend and twist and answer in very non straight forward ways. Bluntly speaking, realistically if I did a one year GPR/AEGD and went into practice what could I expect on AVERAGE my first year starting salary to be. Reiterating the the word "average" I'm not looking for someone to tell me it differs between city and rural (both extremes), I'm asking in an average suburban area in an average office what will a realistic starting salary offer be?

Thank You!!
 
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It depends on how hard you are willing to work. The average pay here in CA is $550-600/day. If you only work 4 days/week, your annual income will be in the low $100k. If you work 5 days/week and don't tak any vacation, you will make $140k/year. If you work 6 days/week, $160k+/year.
 
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yappy

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If this is the average, and I'm not doubting that it is, this is really rough. For the education and services provided dentists are underpaid. Or said another way, the DDS/DMD do not offer a good return on investment. Where I'm from RDH and RNs make anywhere from 60-80% of this wage.
 
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allantois

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If this is the average, and I'm not doubting that it is, this is really rough. For the education and services provided dentists are underpaid. Or said another way, the DDS/DMD do not offer a good return on investment. Where I'm from RDH and RNs make anywhere from 60-80% of this wage.
People are sold on the idea of being called doctor, while ignoring everything else
 
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wannagiveup

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It's usually anywhere between 120k to 170k working five days a week. You will make more if you work more days obviously and at a profitable office with bonus systems..

Now I've seen people around here claiming to make 300-400k their first year out of school, but I don't know if that's realistic.
 
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wannagiveup

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If this is the average, and I'm not doubting that it is, this is really rough. For the education and services provided dentists are underpaid. Or said another way, the DDS/DMD do not offer a good return on investment. Where I'm from RDH and RNs make anywhere from 60-80% of this wage.
Yeah but RDHs were the first to get laid off at the onset of the pandemic...not to mention the low barrier to entry especially if you take the community college route (ie more competition)
 
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queenofortho16

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It's usually anywhere between 120k to 170k working five days a week. You will make more if you work more days obviously and at a profitable office with bonus systems..

Now I've seen people around here claiming to make 300-400k their first year out of school, but I don't know if that's realistic.
How would that even be possible? I feel like a well established practice owner makes that much... not a fresh first year...
 

ToothJockey

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Now I've seen people around here claiming to make 300-400k their first year out of school, but I don't know if that's realistic.

I'm guessing those people went straight into ownership?

To make 300k as an owner, you realistically need to produce ~ $600k of dentistry + 200k of hygiene (overhead of 62.5%).

To make 300k as an associate, you need to produce $1.2 million of dentistry (based on earning 25% of production)

The owner proucing 600k is a lot more realistic than an associate producing $1.2 million first year out.
 
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Utdarsenal

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Southern California here. You can expect between 500-600/daily, so.. approx 120k or a little bit more. I'd try looking for a job that has you on a daily minimum or production % (whichever is higher) because that way, if you make more than 2,000-2,500 daily or so, you can be making 700+ per day.

Most of my colleagues who also work in So-Cal started with either 500 or 550/day. The odd one out found his first associate position at 630/day. Just kinda have to look around..
 
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tooth-tastic

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Hi Y'all!

This is a question that everyone loves to bend and twist and answer in very non straight forward ways. Bluntly speaking, realistically if I did a one year GPR/AEGD and went into practice what could I expect on AVERAGE my first year starting salary to be. Reiterating the the word "average" I'm not looking for someone to tell me it differs between city and rural (both extremes), I'm asking in an average suburban area in an average office what will a realistic starting salary offer be?

Thank You!!

What is the salary for a recent dental school graduate?

"Please see the estimates below with these notes:
  • Due to a low number of responses, these estimates should be used with caution. They are liable to fluctuate from year to year.
  • The Survey of Dental Practice is conducted annually by the ADA Health Policy Institute. The estimates below are based on combined responses from our 2019 survey.
$150,000 = median annual net income, general practitioners in private practice, limited to dentists with dental school graduation years 2015-2017. Among this group of dentists, half earned between $98,000 and $180,000 annually."

Source: 2019 Survey of Dental Practice. "
HPI/ADA
 
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AONLINE

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According to Aspen Dental they were paying their new grads around $150k. Just recently in one of their Zoom webinars they said new 2020 grads should still expect this salary from them. Not sure if we should trust that or not.
 

allDAT

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The ADA average for employee dentists is around 160k and that's about right. That includes people working a variety of days (1 day - 7 days) in a variety of settings. The owner comp the ADA reports is usually low because it's the owner's compensation without distributions.

Most new graduates start out between 500-650/day depending on the area for a while and then the base drops off. If the new graduate is willing to move to a rural area they may find an offer as high as 800 (maybe even $1000/day) but these opportunities are often not what they seem (difficult to uproot your entire life to move to the middle of nowhere to find out the job sucks and you hate the town and you have no social net). I've met new grads making less than 100k a year as they bounce from one bad job to the next (more common than you think), and I've met new grads making more than 200k. Part of this depends on luck, who you know, and how geographically flexible you are.

Many large corps don't actually pay a "salary", instead they pay a draw that calculates to ~120-180k/year, but if you don't produce enough dentistry, you may not be paid as much as you thought you would.

What most associates find is that unless they go the corporate route, they have to secure multiple part-time jobs to make a full-time schedule. Both part-time jobs offer a similar base for 6 months - let's say that's 550/day, and then the base expires. At one job, the associate is only producing enough to average collections of $1600/day 3 days a week and at the other job they are making enough to average $2900/day two days a week. That works out to be $480/day at the first gig and $870/day at the second. So they're making about $3180/week, 48 weeks a year (assuming 2 weeks of unpaid time off/sick leave and 14 days of forced time off due to office closure for Holidays) for a total of 152k/year with no benefits (PT everywhere and dental offices don't usually offer any benefits anyway).

Some associates find that second job where they're producing 2900/day right out of the gate. Some associates find a place where they can produce 5k/day right away, and some bounce from one $1500/day gig to another for YEARS until they finally say F it, and buy their own job (a practice).
 
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allDAT

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If this is the average, and I'm not doubting that it is, this is really rough. For the education and services provided dentists are underpaid. Or said another way, the DDS/DMD do not offer a good return on investment. Where I'm from RDH and RNs make anywhere from 60-80% of this wage.

The ROI is not really there for early career dentists at the moment. School costs too much and associate compensation is basically stuck at the same level as the 1990s. If you don't have aspirations to own the practice or specialize you shouldn't pursue this career path for ROI. The exception is the student who is from a small town that gets into dental school with the intention of returning home. That sometimes makes sense even as an associate. But life-long associates in major metos are usually not on a path to financial independence.
 
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Big Time Hoosier

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Southern California here. You can expect between 500-600/daily, so.. approx 120k or a little bit more.
Here’s how much of that $120,000 they’ll actually get to keep in LA:

336231EF-FD25-46DB-8324-98EE2B8CD76C.jpeg

With a recent USC grad needing to pay almost $60,000/year towards student loans, they’re left with less than $30,000/year to live on. And of course, they absolutely must stay in “SoCal.”

Big Hoss
 
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wannagiveup

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How would that even be possible? I feel like a well established practice owner makes that much... not a fresh first year...
I've read somewhere that a Comfort Dental dentist can make around 300k with 400k buy-in. Aka the originator of "lean and mean" practice model...if it's true, then as long as a new grad can somehow finance the 400k buy-in, perhaps it's feasible.
 
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ToothJockey

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Here’s how much of that $120,000 they’ll actually get to keep in LA:

View attachment 307350

With a recent USC grad needing to pay almost $60,000/year towards student loans, they’re left with less than $30,000/year to live on. And of course, they absolutely must stay in “SoCal.”

Big Hoss

And this is assuming you make 0 contributions to your 401k etc.

Realistically you will have less than 15k for living expenses. You're essentially living like a college student again, only you're "Dr. College Student" now, and you've upgraded to "Dr. Ramen Noodles"
 
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Alpha Centauri

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Here’s how much of that $120,000 they’ll actually get to keep in LA:

View attachment 307350

With a recent USC grad needing to pay almost $60,000/year towards student loans, they’re left with less than $30,000/year to live on. And of course, they absolutely must stay in “SoCal.”

Big Hoss
31% in taxes. Criminal.
 
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distressstudent

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Here’s how much of that $120,000 they’ll actually get to keep in LA:

With a recent USC grad needing to pay almost $60,000/year towards student loans, they’re left with less than $30,000/year to live on. And of course, they absolutely must stay in “SoCal.”

Big Hoss
Then factor in cost of living adjustment from the crazy high rent in California. Many companies have to pay employees extra to relocate them to California.

New grads in Cali earn less, taxed more, pay more.

But tbf. No one is paying 60,000 a year. I really don't know any of my classmate that isn't on an income based repayment plan
 
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Big Time Hoosier

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Then factor in cost of living adjustment from the crazy high rent in California. Many companies have to pay employees extra to relocate them to California.

New grads in Cali earn less, taxed more, pay more.

But tbf. No one is paying 60,000 a year. I really don't know any of my classmate that isn't on an income based repayment plan
Under IBR, USC grads aren’t even paying enough to cover their accrued interest. They’re just letting that balance grow and grow, hoping to flee the country before they have to pay the “tax bomb.”

Big Hoss
 
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lwergod

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Under IBR, USC grads aren’t even paying enough to cover their accrued interest. They’re just letting that balance grow and grow, hoping to flee the country before they have to pay the “tax bomb.”

Big Hoss

transfer your money to a Swiss bank account and then live in a country without an extradition agreement with the US. I hear Kazakhstan is nice around this time of the year.
 
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monkeykey

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Can anyone explain the enrollment drop seen here from 1980-1990? Will this trend of stangnating income continue in the future seen as the enrollment has jumped 46% in the last 20 years and population growth has not... 1590366567007.png
 
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ToothJockey

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Can anyone explain the enrollment drop seen here from 1980-1990? Will this trend of stangnating income continue in the future seen as the enrollment has jumped 46% in the last 20 years and population growth has not... View attachment 307546

"During the period from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, the inflation rate was frequently above 8 percent and reached double-digit levels four times. High inflation rates have a negative impact on dental incomes because dentists often have a difficult time increasing their fees to match the inflation rate increases. During these periods, dental incomes often fall relative to increases in the rate of inflation. High inflation rates also have a negative impact on dental program enrollments. Virtually all dental students must borrow to fund their education. During periods of double-digit inflation, the cost of borrowing soars and can discourage some students from pursuing a career in the health professions. The period of severe applicant decline from the mid1970s to the late 1980s is largely coincident with this period of high inflation"

This is a quote from this study:

While there isn't 8% inflation currently, I think that it's likely students will stop applying to dental schools because dental income hasn't kept up with inflation. There are plenty of jobs that pay 150-200k, so it's not necessary to grind your way through dental school to make a good living anymore. Add in the high student loan debt, and I can definitely see why there is a decline in applicants.

The principles are the same, careers which offer a high quality of life will be extremely desirable. Dentistry used to offer a very high quality of life, not so much anymore if you have to finance a 500k loan for your education.
 
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Utdarsenal

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Here’s how much of that $120,000 they’ll actually get to keep in LA:

View attachment 307350

With a recent USC grad needing to pay almost $60,000/year towards student loans, they’re left with less than $30,000/year to live on. And of course, they absolutely must stay in “SoCal.”

Big Hoss

yep.. there is no way in hell I’d be practicing here if I had a significant debt to pay off. To people wanting to work here, please think twice about that..

You’re not just competing with U.S. dentists, you’re also competing with Tijuana dentists.
 
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Utdarsenal

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Actually, also dentists from La Salle dental school in Mexico and Moldova dental school.

True..but to be honest, I think the “saturation” argument comes second or third to there being a high cost of living here and the state tax.
There is a lot of work here but one may have to be willing to take medicaid or be in network with many insurances.

Never thought i’d have trouble purchasing a home being a dentist. I’ve only been out for three years, but, it’s tough. Can’t find a decent home for less than 550k.
Not a good state to be in if retiring early is your game plan.
 
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Molar Whisperer

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True..but to be honest, I think the “saturation” argument comes second or third to there being a high cost of living here and the state tax.
There is a lot of work here but one may have to be willing to take medicaid or be in network with many insurances.

Never thought i’d have trouble purchasing a home being a dentist. I’ve only been out for three years, but, it’s tough. Can’t find a decent home for less than 550k.
Not a good state to be in if retiring early is your game plan.

It's an unfortunate irony where you have to go to an area with lower COL to receive higher pay. The homes in saturated areas are being priced out. I see patterns in areas with high numbers of Asians (for those who don't know, I'm Asian) equals higher number of tech jobs equals unsustainable COL. I knew early on, I could never afford to live in Cali and in Seattle since I like the West Coast. In 2003, I purchased my home with 4.5 car garage, earthquake resistant (5.5 scale) 2650 sq ft with a postcard view of the Pacific NW valley and mountains for $455k. Since my house is in between 2 foreclosures, its value didn't go up very much. You need to think outside the box to find that decent home. In the state where I grew up which is undesirable for Asians, you can find mansions for less than $250k and very nice homes for less than $150k. This applies to most Red States with the exception of desirable areas in Dallas and Houston TX where there are a lot of Asians.
 
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ToothJockey

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It's an unfortunate irony where you have to go to an area with lower COL to receive higher pay. The homes in saturated areas are being priced out. I see patterns in areas with high numbers of Asians (for those who don't know, I'm Asian) equals higher number of tech jobs equals unsustainable COL. I knew early on, I could never afford to live in Cali and in Seattle since I like the West Coast. In 2003, I purchased my home with 4.5 car garage, earthquake resistant (5.5 scale) 2650 sq ft with a postcard view of the Pacific NW valley and mountains for $455k. Since my house is in between 2 foreclosures, its value didn't go up very much. You need to think outside the box to find that decent home. In the state where I grew up which is undesirable for Asians, you can find mansions for less than $250k and very nice homes for less than $150k. This applies to most Red States with the exception of desirable areas in Dallas and Houston TX where there are a lot of Asians.

Yeah I've noticed most HCOL desirable cities have their own "niche" with obsecenly high earners that drive up the COL. Not a great place for dentists unfortunately, if you're not part of that niche you'll be a small fish in a big pond

SF/Bay area + Seattle has big tech
NYC has high finance
LA has entertainment
Miami has drugs
 
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allDAT

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Can anyone explain the enrollment drop seen here from 1980-1990? Will this trend of stangnating income continue in the future seen as the enrollment has jumped 46% in the last 20 years and population growth has not... View attachment 307546

It’s not clear if a stagnant income caused a small decline in applications over the last 10 years. I don’t think they’re related because I don’t think pre-dental students really know much about the economics of a dental office (just an observation I’ve made from personal experience).

In fact, last week, I spoke with a pre-dental student applying this upcoming cycle who was absolutely blown away by our discussion around the state of the profession. She may now have second thoughts about this career choice (I don’t like doing this to kids), and will certainly omit the highest price schools in her application.

I don’t think population growth holds much weight in an applicant’s decision to apply to dental school either. Applicants just don’t seem to think about supply and demand when it comes to healthcare.

I think the swings in the volume of applications coincides with contractions and expansions on the macroeconomic level.

The stagnation of dentist’s incomes will continue and the reason is insurance reimbursement.
 
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AONLINE

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Yeah I've noticed most HCOL desirable cities have their own "niche" with obsecenly high earners that drive up the COL. Not a great place for dentists unfortunately, if you're not part of that niche you'll be a small fish in a big pond

SF/Bay area + Seattle has big tech
NYC has high finance
LA has entertainment
Miami has drugs
I don't know much about the other 3 industries, but the average of income of tech people in SF/Bay Area and Seattle is comparable to that of a new dentist grad. And the dentist owner's income would definitely surpass tech industry. Of course the dentists also have more student debt to pay than the tech people.
 
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theleatherwalle

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Can anyone explain the enrollment drop seen here from 1980-1990? Will this trend of stangnating income continue in the future seen as the enrollment has jumped 46% in the last 20 years and population growth has not... View attachment 307546


A couple of reasons:

1. A strong belief that dentists could easily get HIV doing dentistry according to my mentor
2. Dentistry was no longer seen as a profession that would bring a good income. Schools closed down
3. Expect the same exact stuff happen again until the profession balances out
 
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ToothJockey

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I don't know much about the other 3 industries, but the average of income of tech people in SF/Bay Area and Seattle is comparable to that of a new dentist grad. And the dentist owner's income would definitely surpass tech industry. Of course the dentists also have more student debt to pay than the tech people.

Yes but you have to look past the lower tier jobs in tech. Often engineers in tech start out around 100k, but after 10 years experience they can top 500k TC.
You don't have to take my word for it, there is an entire website dedicated to big tech salaries.

The key here is stock options. Techies are paid a pretty regular salary (100-200k) but they receive another 200k in stock options + bonuses. So yeah their salary is the same as a dentist, but their total compensation is much higher. If the company does well (IPO's) then their stock options can be worth millions. Early techies at companies like Airbnb, Uber, Lyft etc. are all worth 8 figures+ and they're probably not even 40 years old yet. Sure these are unicorn situations, but you can't get rich in dentistry like you can in big tech. Unless you're Rick Workman of Heartland Dental. But in that case you're an entrepreneuer not a dentist.

Unfortunately I'm straight booty at anything to do with computers, so I'll just stick to dentistry. Dentistry is higher floor, lower ceiling. With 400k+ student loans, I'm not even sure if it's higher floor...
 
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bracketbuster68

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Yes but you have to look past the lower tier jobs in tech. Often engineers in tech start out around 100k, but after 10 years experience they can top 500k TC.
You don't have to take my word for it, there is an entire website dedicated to big tech salaries.

The key here is stock options. Techies are paid a pretty regular salary (100-200k) but they receive another 200k in stock options + bonuses. So yeah their salary is the same as a dentist, but their total compensation is much higher. If the company does well (IPO's) then their stock options can be worth millions. Early techies at companies like Airbnb, Uber, Lyft etc. are all worth 8 figures+ and they're probably not even 40 years old yet. Sure these are unicorn situations, but you can't get rich in dentistry like you can in big tech. Unless you're Rick Workman of Heartland Dental. But in that case you're an entrepreneuer not a dentist.

Unfortunately I'm straight booty at anything to do with computers, so I'll just stick to dentistry. Dentistry is higher floor, lower ceiling. With 400k+ student loans, I'm not even sure if it's higher floor...
Devils advocate here, but as dentists, we are the experts of the field. If we want to create new dental solutions like appliances, materials, workflows, etc. we can make a TON of money and thus our income ceiling can be very high.
 
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yappy

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Devils advocate here, but as dentists, we are the experts of the field. If we want to create new dental solutions like appliances, materials, workflows, etc. we can make a TON of money and thus our income ceiling can be very high.

Yes but these incomes are from staff engineers who are employed. They make much more than most dentists. I'm not saying I would trade places with them but it sounds like a great career if you're interested in technology - I think a lot of predents/meds could be successful in that career. In my calc/chem/phy classes pre-health students typically did better than the engineering students.

If anything these salaries show that it is absolutely not worth it to pursue a science career. Technology is where the money is.
 
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bracketbuster68

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Yes but these incomes are from staff engineers who are employed. They make much more than most dentists. I'm not saying I would trade places with them but it sounds like a great career if you're interested in technology - I think a lot of predents/meds could be successful in that career. In my calc/chem/phy classes pre-health students typically did better than the engineering students.

If anything these salaries show that it is absolutely not worth it pursue a science career. Technology is where the money is.
I was only saying that dentists have a high income ceiling. In my opinion, we set our income ceilings.
 
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