MedScape 2012 Report: Only 54% of Doctors would chose medicine as a career again

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SeekerOfTheTree

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Are there surveys that compare what people in other careers would say? I am just curious. Is the satisfaction rate of garbage men 100 percent?
 

DocDanny

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Some people get into this profession for the wrong reasons.

They are unlikely to be happy.
 
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gutonc

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Are there surveys that compare what people in other careers would say? I am just curious. Is the satisfaction rate of garbage men 100 percent?

Doubtful...I'm sure there are unhappy garbage collectors out there. But they didn't spend 8 years in school, 3-8 years in post-grad training and spend $250K in borrowed money to get there either
 

SeekerOfTheTree

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And I am pretty sure most of them don't make 200k either. It's life. You pick a career and sometimes you deal with it. The grass is always greener on the other side and every medical professional thinks they could have been a space investment banking lawyer entrepreneur if they hadn't decided to pursue medicine.
 

Blitz2006

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Well...I think the point of this article is to show that medicine is no longer the career it was 20-30 years ago...

There are lots of people not in the healthcare field that still think doctors are walking with buckets of money and 'living the life'...when clearly this is not true.
 

Neuronix

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The response rate to that survey is dismal--about 10%. See slide 25.

http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/compensation/2012/public

I wouldn't take anything reported in the survey to be truly representative of the physician population. I honestly think its publication and the surrounding press "physicians earn x" or "physicians feel x" could hurt our profession based on this misleading information.
 

SeekerOfTheTree

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I agree about public perception. They think we are in the hospital for 10 mins and we make 1 mill for that. While nurses work for free and are chained to the hospital because of us. Maybe the public and our government needs to know all it takes to become a physician and how hard we work.

Nothing is the way it was 20 to 30 years ago. I have heard that from every old timer I met in corporate and medicine.
 

Blitz2006

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I agree about public perception. They think we are in the hospital for 10 mins and we make 1 mill for that. While nurses work for free and are chained to the hospital because of us. Maybe the public and our government needs to know all it takes to become a physician and how hard we work.

Nothing is the way it was 20 to 30 years ago. I have heard that from every old timer I met in corporate and medicine.

I agree with your first part 120%. Its frustrating that so many ppl think once you graduate med school, you instantly make bank. They don't have any idea of this concept of 'residency' or '80 hour work week'.

I agree, nothing is stagnate, but I feel there are careers that seem to be (dare I say) better than medicine in today's climate? Whereas 30 years ago, I gather (and this is before my time, so I'm just going on hearsay from my dad's generation) that medicine was one of the best career choices, if not the best.

Again, just my views.
 

NotAProgDirector

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20 years ago, when I went to medical school, the same stories were circulating -- how it "used to be good" and now it's bad, etc.

Plus, with a low response rate, you're much more likely to get responses from people who are unhappy.
 

SeekerOfTheTree

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I wish I was around to practice caveman medicine. It was good medicine back then.
 
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The response rate to that survey is dismal--about 10%. See slide 25.

http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/compensation/2012/public

I wouldn't take anything reported in the survey to be truly representative of the physician population. I honestly think its publication and the surrounding press "physicians earn x" or "physicians feel x" could hurt our profession based on this misleading information.

I think getting 10% of all physicians to fill out a survey is pretty impressive, no?
 

Neuronix

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I think getting 10% of all physicians to fill out a survey is pretty impressive, no?

You'll mostly get the pissed off ones to respond. That's the problem.

It's kind of like if you read this forum, you might think all residencies are malignant and residents are being fired left and right for no reason.
 

Blitz2006

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That's not supported by the data. The 2011 Medscape survey respondents were far more satisfied (and I imagine, the year before that as well, etc.).

Yeh I agree with dumb.

I doubt this data is skewed towards angry/pissed off doctors.

To be fair, I'm more concerned that the salaries are skewed (in that physicians don't want to reveal their true pay)
 

dragonfly99

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Neuronix, thanks for posting. that was a very interesting survey.
I (final year fellow in cards) was surprised by how few of the docs earning 200k+ didn't consider themselves "rich", but I think that rich is relative...for those older docs who have stagnant incomes and were probably earning around the same 5-10 years ago, they probably don't consider themselves rich. Also there are probably quite a few recently done w/training who had 200k loans, already have kids, etc. and feel like it's going to take them a while to dig themselves out from under all that debt. But there is not question that someone with that much income is making >>the average American. I was surprised at how little time a number of the docs spend in direct patient care...I'm about to sign a contract where I'll be seeing patients 4 days/week in clinic...and doing procedures the other day. I'm expecting to get my a-- kicked and I suspect I'll be spending >4 hrs/week doing paperwork/administrative stuff (that is one of the questions on the survey...).
 
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cowme

That's not supported by the data. The 2011 Medscape survey respondents were far more satisfied (and I imagine, the year before that as well, etc.).

There's definitely something fishy about the change in job satisfaction from 2011 to 2012. I understand the rads and orthopods being pissed, but numbers are down across every specialty. I doubt anything THAT significant went down to every specialty to justify these changes
 

link2swim06

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The real question is if you took the same subset of people and put them into any other career would the satisfaction rate rise?

Medicine has alot of self-selecting to it...

Think about it.
 
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cowme

Who knows? Everyone loves to complain, especially in today's day and age. Nobody is happy with what they have, and they adopt the grass is greener mentality about how much better life could have been. Having 50% of doctors being unhappy with their career sounds remarkably similar to the 50% of marriages that end in divorce. Maybe half of Americans understand to accept what they have and the other half think that they always deserve something better.
 

johnnydrama

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Neuronix, thanks for posting. that was a very interesting survey.
I (final year fellow in cards) was surprised by how few of the docs earning 200k+ didn't consider themselves "rich", but I think that rich is relative...for those older docs who have stagnant incomes and were probably earning around the same 5-10 years ago, they probably don't consider themselves rich. Also there are probably quite a few recently done w/training who had 200k loans, already have kids, etc. and feel like it's going to take them a while to dig themselves out from under all that debt. But there is not question that someone with that much income is making >>the average American. I was surprised at how little time a number of the docs spend in direct patient care...I'm about to sign a contract where I'll be seeing patients 4 days/week in clinic...and doing procedures the other day. I'm expecting to get my a-- kicked and I suspect I'll be spending >4 hrs/week doing paperwork/administrative stuff (that is one of the questions on the survey...).

It's actually pretty easy to understand.

Even though $200k+ places you in the top 1%, few people earning that much will feel "rich". Things like college tuitions, mortgage payments, etc will still weigh heavily on you at that level.

People don't really start feeling "rich" until the $2 million+ range, which is not within reach for almost all doctors. And even people at that level know people earning much more, which can make them feel if not poor then at least less "rich".

The problem is that even if doctors don't meet some theoretical definition of rich based upon comfort level, they're still doing much better than the median, so surveys like this make them come across as out of touch.
 
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But there is not question that someone with that much income is making >>the average American.

This seems to be one of the major sticking points in these discussions. But the fact is that doctors should not be compared with the average American...apples and oranges, really.

If you compare docs to the other educated elite, you realize that many docs with far longer and more intense training are paid less than, say, software engineers at the big tech companies.
 
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johnnydrama

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This seems to be one of the major sticking points in these discussions. But the fact is that doctors should not be compared with the average American...apples and oranges, really.

If you compare docs to the other educated elite, you realize that many docs with far longer and more intense training are paid less than, say, software engineers at the big tech companies.

What doctors buy with their training is not their salary, rather it's job security. There is no other profession where you are essentially guaranteed a 6 figure income after completing your training.
 

SeekerOfTheTree

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This seems to be one of the major sticking points in these discussions. But the fact is that doctors should not be compared with the average American...apples and oranges, really.

If you compare docs to the other educated elite, you realize that many docs with far longer and more intense training are paid less than, say, software engineers at the big tech companies.

There aren't as many software engineers making 200k+ as you might think. For an avg software engineer to break 100k takes 7 to 10 years. Avg doc after med school and training would take about same time and make 150k+ easy. Demands vary yearly based on what tech is hot and that drives pay the most. To break 150k as a software engineer you take on manger and VP and in those roles you are working 60+hrs and your butt is on the chopping block. For every Facebook software engineer there are a thousand normal software engineers who are worried about what they can do so tata, infosys, etc don't outbid them and take their job to India, Philippines, china, etc....it seems nicer from here to work in that field but it can be a pain in the arse.

If Bill Gates compared himself to Buffet he would think he's not that rich but compared to the average American he could make it rain all day.
 
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What doctors buy with their training is not their salary, rather it's job security. There is no other profession where you are essentially guaranteed a 6 figure income after completing your training.

Oh I agree. I just don't think it's appropriate to compare doctors to the average American...in any way.
 

johnnydrama

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Oh I agree. I just don't think it's appropriate to compare doctors to the average American...in any way.

Eh, it's a fallacy to think we'd be high earners in any other field though.

I suppose I have to concede doctors are smarter than average, but that's not a high bar and there are still plenty of idiots in our profession. Lawyers may be less scientifically knowledgeable, but they're equally bright, even MBAs come close.

We also are incredibly dependent on the general population for our income, so we really need to be humble or we could easily find our income slashed.
 

Blitz2006

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Eh, it's a fallacy to think we'd be high earners in any other field though.

I suppose I have to concede doctors are smarter than average, but that's not a high bar and there are still plenty of idiots in our profession. Lawyers may be less scientifically knowledgeable, but they're equally bright, even MBAs come close.

We also are incredibly dependent on the general population for our income, so we really need to be humble or we could easily find our income slashed.

What about dentists?

I'm sure a lot of our colleagues in this survey regret not doing dentistry?

Or I could be talking ****
 

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fig3.jpg


Basically, everyone in the negative will be pissed. And we see here that the lows outweigh the highs by a factor of ~2:1.

That's not even factoring in the fact that inflation is 3% per year, which means that you can substract 3% from all of these figures to get the actual change in purchasing power.

Pediatrics for the win!!! I knew the $$ future was in pedi.....:D If this trend continues for 20 years I'll be able to sell my 2000 Subaru and buy a new car. Maybe.

Glad to be in the 54%.
 

Law2Doc

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I think more telling is never what people say but what they do. You probably have the same percentage of people saying they wouldn't do any given profession again, but what percentage actually change their jobs? In law, for example, it's not a small percentage. In medicine it's effectively zero. Is that totally because of the golden handcuffs of high debt and long tracks of specialized training? (Law school isnt free either.) Maybe partly. But bear in mind that the educational elite also bring a lot of proven brainpower and problem solving to the table that many others don't, so if you wanted to make a change you probably could, and aren't viewed as the one trick pony others would be -- you actually have choices whereas Joe six-pack might not. So I don't care if 50% say they aren't happy, when 0% are voting with their feet. That's more telling than if 70% said they were happy but the other 30% actually changed careers. Take it from a career changer.
 
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It's actually pretty easy to understand.

Even though $200k+ places you in the top 1%, few people earning that much will feel "rich". Things like college tuitions, mortgage payments, etc will still weigh heavily on you at that level.

Its never that much money after you've spent it all!
 

johnnydrama

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Its never that much money after you've spent it all!

That's just the thing - people earning 7+ figures have to try really hard to spend it all (unless they're foolish with it like most lottery winners). 3 college tuitions and a mortgage on a not fancy home can easily make a doctor feel financially strapped.

I'm not saying they should complain since other people face far worse, but it isn't really easy.
 

Blitz2006

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That's just the thing - people earning 7+ figures have to try really hard to spend it all (unless they're foolish with it like most lottery winners). 3 college tuitions and a mortgage on a not fancy home can easily make a doctor feel financially strapped.

I'm not saying they should complain since other people face far worse, but it isn't really easy.


Exactly, thats what people don't realize. 200K isn't really that much, after you factor in

a) Med school loans
b) Potentially 8-10 years of lost income time (after highschool )
c) 5-7 years of brutal residency hours at minimum wage pay
d) Having to support a family of 5...
 
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medicinesux

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Wow, half ADMIT to NOT choosing medicine again! And this doesn't include the other 25% or so who are in denial. From my REAL life friends from residency and med school these numbers seem to be dead on though. There was only 1 resident in my crop that I can recall who seemed to love being at the hospital as much as I enjoyed chilling on a Costa Rican beach and sipping on mojitos. So the odds are stacked against you that this will turn out to be your dream career.

And for the person who mentioned dentistry. YIKES! Do you know how much dental school costs nowadays?!?! I have a feeling dentistry is going the way of vet and chiropracter school if it is not there already. In another 10 years, a root canal will cost 5000 dollars in this country so these poor dentists can just pay off their massive student loans!
 

SeekerOfTheTree

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I tried to look for the job as a mojito taster when I graduated engineering. Most of my friends felt the same way about that career. As a consultant most everybody was waiting to jump ship after they put in three years or hoped they'd get into a top 10 MBA program. Very smart people tend not to be satisfied with life when it all comes so easy.
 

naus

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Well, I think the frustration is based on the fact that there are even nurses getting paid more than physicians...

http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/11/news/economy/health_care_doctor_incomes/index.htm

So why would someone go through 8 years of hell, 300K loan, 3-4 years of residency, and still get their but kicked financially?

Just some food for thought

If you include pensions, opportunity cost, debt and 3 months vacation for summers, even grade school teachers make more over a lifetime than a primary care physician or a pediatrician.

And yet we don't have millions of Democrats rallying for the pediatricians in Wisconsin. Something tells me these same people think doctors are overpaid greedy bastards.
 

johnnydrama

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If you include pensions, opportunity cost, debt and 3 months vacation for summers, even grade school teachers make more over a lifetime than a primary care physician or a pediatrician.

And yet we don't have millions of Democrats rallying for the pediatricians in Wisconsin. Something tells me these same people think doctors are overpaid greedy bastards.

Now that's just silly.

You clearly haven't actually crunched those numbers.
 

naus

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Now that's just silly.

You clearly haven't actually crunched those numbers.

You clearly don't appreciate the costs of pensions with automatic COLA, union health care, and 3 months of summers off.

johnnydrama said:
And if you think teachers anywhere are making $100k, you're nuts. College professors at big schools can make six figures, but most teachers are lucky to break $50k.

Among the highlights of the Naperville, IL (population 141,000) teachers' salaries:

--- 2 sex ed teachers pulling down $122k and $115k

--- A $112k drivers ed teacher

--- 14 guidance counselors pulling down between $100k and $124k

--- 21 gym teachers with six figure salaries, the highest being $151k

--- 8 social workers and 4 psychologists reeling in 6 figures

--- And of course, an army of 57 administrators pulling down between 100k and $242k a year.

http://chicagolampoon.blogspot.com/2011/05/napervilles-fat-teachers-salaries-union.html

Naperville School District:

NAME SALARY
Aaron, Candice $89,844
Abbott, Jean $82,209
Abshire, Carolyn $81,587
Adamatis, Patricia $111,231
Adams, Kyle $60,756
Albiniak, Mike $74,627
Albiniak, Sarah $19,876
Allen, Megan $43,781
Allen, Richard $118,797
Allen, Tarah $77,311
Alles, Colleen $52,979
Allison, Patricia $46,642
Aloe-Millsaps, Mary $96,914
Alstadt, David $81,309
Amberger, Robin $104,179
Amburn, Amanda $68,048
Ameri, Charity $71,092
Ancira, Sara $74,560
Anderson, Debra $24,503
Anderson, Erin $123,814
Anderson, Kristen $65,060
Anderson, Noel $70,886
Anderson, Sarah $78,591
Anderson, Sheryl $30,325
Anderson, Susan $122,434
Anderson, Wayne $137,492
Andonian, Ann $64,063
Andre, Donald $110,314
Andrees, Lynn $33,753
Angelos, Kathleen $107,541
Antonio, Dennise $86,965
Antonio, Lisa $108,002
Applegate, Lee $97,869
Arizaga, Sylvia $80,522
Arlis, Thomas $98,840
Armitage, Geralyn $116,625
Arndt, Jeffrey $48,225
Ashton, Cary $64,928
Aspan, Stephanie $57,347
Atiq, Jihan $69,458
Atseff, Jennifer $42,629
Atseff, Laura $70,373
Auld, Thomas $83,899
Awe, Nanette $86,460
Bach, Janel $31,780
Bachar, Candace $51,326
Bailey, Joyce $101,227
Bailey, Mark $94,146
Baird, Hiram $67,549
Baker, Debra $84,463
Baker, Diane $97,127
Bakke, Brian $111,582
Bakke, Mary $96,550
Baldwin, Barry $91,802
Ballard, Richard $89,016
Banach, Nancy $57,928
Barach, Denise $120,352
Barbino, Eleanor $59,227
Barenbrugge, Karen $59,177
Barr, Katherine $54,510
Barrett, Andrea $48,506
Barry, Kathleen $73,748
Barth, Amy $70,937
Bartosz, Rebecca $83,966
Barz, Margaret $115,511
Baumgartner, Gina $82,944
Baumgartner, Jennifer $101,105
Bean, Marcia $107,971
Bedore, Jeffry $77,464
Bee, Martin $122,679
Beehler, John $118,210
Beehler, Julie $120,255
Behrends, Charlene $113,744
Belasich, Taryen $44,945
Bell, Barbara $76,215
Bell, Charles $104,199
Bell, Christine $104,470
Benages, Kevin $58,130
Bender, Doris $62,234
Bennett, Linda $60,754
Benning, Allison $55,385
Benson, Joan $71,945
Bentel, Christina $45,520
Bentley, Jeromy $68,558
Benyo, Christopher $109,526
Berg, Dori $69,597
Bergantino, Angela $55,488
Berkley, Ross $61,208
Bessler, Linda $105,354
Betterman, Kathleen $116,521
Bey, Charles $60,470
Beyer, Susan $71,979
Bibby, Carole $74,365
Biddinger, Patricia $100,661
Biggs, Kathryn $72,791
Bilardello, John $103,310
Billings, Nancy $81,059
Birch, Stephanie $66,168
Bishop, Emily $75,068
Biskup, Jamie $72,756
Blackburn, Thomas $117,867
Blaisdell, Regina $105,764
Blaskovich, Kathryn $0
Blaskovitz, Jennifer $45,779
Blondell, Matthew $33,844
Bluhm, Karen $0
Blumthal, John $49,241
Bochenski, Michael $79,595
Bockman, Gwen $113,659
Bodinet, Dora $52,936
Bogen, Suellen $118,548
Bohdan, Thomas $116,188
Bonet, Don $100,937
Boor, Jane $105,534
Borgetti, Caryn $30,207
Borgman, Brianne $55,660
Bornancin, Nathan $54,823
Bostrom, Barbara $69,006
Bowman, Barbara $75,258
Boykins, Denise $107,531
Bradley III, Charles $55,331
Brady, Lori $90,196
Brady, Seth $67,509
Brandes, Jennifer $58,746
Brasel, April $66,448
Brate, Philip $120,900
Braun, James $122,735
Breese, Karen $116,431
Brenner, Lindsey $60,755
Breslin, Pamela $68,416
Brindle, Kristin $85,432
Briseno, Dr. Kathleen $120,624
Brooks, Renae $116,250
Brotherly-Lamb, Ann $108,270
Brown, Catherine $76,535
Brown, Daniel $53,188
Brown, Melissa $65,161
Brown, Timothy $89,406
Brucker, Elizabeth $81,518
Buckland, Allyson $104,060
Buckley, Michael $96,096
Buhrandt, Sue $112,683
Bukusi, Wanjugu $79,559
Buresh, Scott $26,226
Burghardt, William $75,997
Burke, Jeffrey $96,178
Burke, Lisa $110,580
Burke, Marjorie $118,548
Burke, Tamara $82,969
Burns, Kathleen $105,521
Burns, Lauren $57,382
Butler, Heather $27,494
Cabrera, Karen $95,153
Cain, Sarah $55,251
Callahan, Jane $114,681
Campbell, Karen $62,210
Campise, Gino $51,041
Campos, Christine $111,855
caneff, Cathy $104,179
Cannon-Ruffo, Colleen $83,519
Cantu, Joey $55,905
Canty, Karen $52,741
Carbonaro, John $77,756
Cardenas, Lisa $39,887
Carlson, April $107,971
Carlson, Janet $108,427
Carlson, Keith $59,886
Carlson, Lisanne $47,808
Carpenter, Madeline $59,397
Carroll, David $80,929
Carson, Jean $114,996
Carter, Joyce $86,021
Caruso, Amy $62,828
Casey, Edward $51,996
Castner, Kimberly $108,689
Catalano, Lisa $97,541
Catapano, Rosanna $49,871
Caudill, James $147,514
Cave, Joseph $129,803
Cavlovic, Amy $70,449
Cerchio, Pamela $97,303
Ceresa, Andaree $63,380
Cesareo, Meghan $0
Cesena, Joseph $118,548
Champion, Thomas $84,942
Chaney, Jeremiah $89,734
Chavez-Davalos, Laura $67,235
Chenelle, Julia $43,661
Cheng, Yvonne $57,868
Chesters, Katherine $62,857
Chiappetta, James $58,381
Chidley, Carin $79,146
Chipman, Katrina $74,365
Chiszar, David $124,843
Chiu, Piling $82,236
Choate, Pamela $121,648
Christensen, Cynthia $107,990
Christenson, Lynette $51,989
Christoff, Samantha $66,938
Churchill, Keri $91,920
Cibils, Lynn $60,742
Cirko, Leslie $95,542
Clancy, Marissa $64,828
Clark, Cheryl $105,316
Clark, Leslie $53,522
Clark, Lorraine $80,159
Clarke, Barbara $64,807
Clarke, Jennifer $60,346
Clayton, Linda $93,694
Cleveland, David $125,712
Cluver, Michael $96,066
Cohen, Deborah $92,178
Cohoon, Catherine $102,926
Cole, John $61,143
Collier, Flint $63,703
Colon, Laura $72,847
Comerford, Julie $52,960
Compton, Jeffrey $120,726
Conant, Elizabeth $57,069
Cone, Eva $49,015
Conley, Jennifer $44,854
Connell, Lisa $86,221
Connolly, Mary $117,619
Connor, Martha $112,728
etc
etc

You get the point.
 
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You clearly don't appreciate the costs of pensions with automatic COLA, union health care, and 3 months of summers off.



Among the highlights of the Naperville, IL (population 141,000) teachers' salaries:

--- 2 sex ed teachers pulling down $122k and $115k

--- A $112k drivers ed teacher

--- 14 guidance counselors pulling down between $100k and $124k

--- 21 gym teachers with six figure salaries, the highest being $151k

--- 8 social workers and 4 psychologists reeling in 6 figures

--- And of course, an army of 57 administrators pulling down between 100k and $242k a year.

http://chicagolampoon.blogspot.com/2011/05/napervilles-fat-teachers-salaries-union.html


You get the point.

So don't live in Illinois.

In my home school district (South and very low cost of living), a PhD public high school teacher at year #25 makes around $70,107/year not including benefits. That's less than half of what the average starting pay was for our graduating FM residents last year (not including their benefits either). Bear in mind that a PhD, usually, takes at least as long as an MD to obtain. And, again using my old school district and my residency's pay structure, those same PhDs must teach for 9 years before they would out-earn our current 3rd year residents.
 

DocDanny

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Mar 25, 2010
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There are a lot of school systems struggling with the financial burden placed on them by exorbitant pensions and overpaid bureaucrats.
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Doctors make plenty of money. If you live like a resident for a measly 2 years as an attending, and are smart with money, you can pay off your loans by your mid 30s.

I frankly have no idea how I'll spend my Hospitalist salary of $150,000 (or whatever they make in the Midwest) when I finish my residency.
 
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