Hey guys, I have been doing a little mind wondering lately. I know through experience that being a PA is almost identical to being a family practice physician(the more experience you have the more it becomes like a family practice physician). Now to become a PA, you go through four years of school (2 years premed, and then the first and third years of medical school which they combine to call PA school). Your debt would be about 20 thousand (average four year debt). There is little competition and far less stress (average accepted GPA is 2.25 and no MCAT). Then you immediately go get a job and make 70-80 thousand a year helping people. On top of that the career outlook is outstanding (even better security than a doctor). Many periodicals have rated it a one of the top five demanded professions over the next ten years (that = higher pay and more jobs available). Now to become a family practice physician you have four years of pre-med (20,000 debt). Then you move on to four year of medical school (average 80,000 dept). Very high competition which makes for high stress (average GPA is 3.5 and a stressful MCAT). Then you have three years minimum residency (which more than likely you are still incurring dept but we will call it even). Then you get a job making 110-120 thousand a year. The difference between the two, including both money spent and money earned (or not earned). Adds up to a total of 20,000 dept for the PA plus 490,000 earned income over 7 years for a net of positive $470,000 (more than enough to pay off school and live a happy life). The Physician spends 100,000 total debt minus $0 made while in school and residency for a total of minus $100,000. Also for the next ten years a physician will be paying around 2,000 a month for school dept. The difference is $570,000. The estimate of the amount of money a PA make compared to the amount of money a family practice physician makes it would take him close to 16 years to make up that $570,000 and break even with the PA. My question is this. Do many pre-meds think about this when they are hunting down med school. Or do they get lost in the competition and the "thrill of the hunt". We have not even talked at all about the Bureaucracy that doctors face either which is one of the main reasons for the drop in med school applications (or so I am told). I have thought a lot about these differences but I think the only reason I am still in "the hunt" is because helping people is not my motivator for med school (I do enjoy helping people it is just not my motivating factor). I have no interest really in family practice or PA. My interests lie more with pathology, oncology, or surgery. Its seems to me that its fairly obvious why med schools are getting far too many specialty doc wannabe's and not enought primary care doc wannabe's. I know that some people will criticise this and say that money doesn't matter and yes you are right. But the fact is that if money didn't matter at all, there would be very few people choosing family practice over PA. The few family practice docs would probably only be docs because the like the sound of "Dr. so and so". Anyone who has real experience with PA's (friends, relatives, or otherwise)knows that they are basically one in the same. Especially when it comes to the "helping people" idea. By the way I am not being critical or putting anyone down, I myself am a pre-med and therefore guilty of the same things that other pre-meds think about and that is money, power, skill, etc. (any pre-med who hasn't dreamed of the empowerment that comes with finding the cure for cancer is either a liar or part of the .1% of pre-meds who actually don't care). I am just asking for other people's opinions on this subject. Its seems black and white to me, but there are still so many people going into family practice or other areas of primary care. Why? I would love to hear your opinions.