Quantcast

Psychiatric specialist/ advice

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

luckym8

Full Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
17
Reaction score
1

Members don't see this ad.
Hello to all of you wonderful doctors,

I have some important questions whose answers will have a dramatic impact on my decision.
So I am asking you to put some comments and give me some advice.

I am a 30-year old guy ( single ) holding a master degree in Biomedical engineering. Although I am an engineer, I have done my research projects mostly in Neuro fields to find better treatments for neurological disorders.

Now, I am looking into switching my career. I'm going to be prepared for medical school, specifically psychiatric, and more specifically Neuropsychiatric program.
I have been interested in the treatment of Psychiatric diseases since long time ago. So this doesn't seem an irrational decision to me at all.

Needless to say, some of you are many years ahead of me in this field, so your suggestions play an important role in my decision.

My questions related to this career change:

1) Does this change make any sense at all?!
2) Is my age an obstacle ?!
3) My practice age will be almost 40, how will be the financial payback in this field ?! ( will need to pay off the loan and build life )

Any other recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

P.s. I'am living in the US.

Best of luck for all of you!
 

childpsychhopeful_1

New Member
2+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2017
Messages
6
Reaction score
2
With your background and the right scores you could probably get into MD or DO school in the US, but I sincerely hope you chose another path. Starting medical school at 31-32 to do Psychiatry doesn't seem like a good idea. If you want to work in mental health you can do it with different training ie masters in clinical social work or becoming a psychiatric nurse. Start this long, expensive, and arduous process at a time when most people are getting married and starting families will lead to diminishing returns.
 
Last edited:

luckym8

Full Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
17
Reaction score
1
With your background and the right scores you could probably get into MD or DO school in the US, but I sincerely hope you chose another path. Starting medical school at 31-32 to do Psychiatry doesn't seem like a good idea. If you want to work in mental health you can do it with different training ie masters in clinical social work or becoming a psychiatric nurse. Start this long, expensive, and arduous process at a time when most people are getting married and starting families will lead to diminishing returns.
Thanks for your comment.
The only thing that I know is thet I will continue my education, however I won't be satisfied by getting a PHD.
I've seen people with Postdocs and PHDs in this field which are lost! they don't have enough dgree of freedom to do research, and some still looking for someone to hire them!!
So in my case I was thinking to go for medical school with better job security and future albeit more years than phd
 

nexus73

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Messages
1,189
Reaction score
1,625
Try to get the air force to pay for medical school.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2014
Messages
1,008
Reaction score
836
Thanks for your comment.
The only thing that I know is thet I will continue my education, however I won't be satisfied by getting a PHD.
I've seen people with Postdocs and PHDs in this field which are lost! they don't have enough dgree of freedom to do research, and some still looking for someone to hire them!!
So in my case I was thinking to go for medical school with better job security and future albeit more years than phd
So I'm not in psychiatry - I'm in psychology (housed in a psychiatry department though!) but wanted to chime in re: PhDs and postdocs... not lost and floundering if they went to a good school. In fact, although I hear of some (like a friend of a friend kind of thing), I know of exactly zero in person who are struggling with figuring out what to do/being able to do research if they want to/trying to get hired, and I know a lot of recent PhD grads in psychology and related fields, some doing primarily research.You haven't said a lot about what type of work in particular you think you're interested in so I wouldn't just discount the PhD route out of hand just because you know some people who had a bad experience.

Also, I know someone who went to med school in her 40s and became a psychiatrist- a total career switch- worked out well for her. This was after she was married and pretty settled though. I think as a poster above noted, undertaking either a PhD or med school program is going to put a kink in your dating life/personal life if that's a concern for you. But I do know a few people who met their SOs (and some who somehow even managed to have kids and remain sane) during med school or PhD programs. Mostly with the help of a partner who did not work though- especially my med school friends.

are you more interested in clinical work or in research?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Psychotic

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2013
Messages
731
Reaction score
397
What were your grades in college and grad school? GPA overall, and for the med school pre-reqs?

It matters, a lot.
 

OldPsychDoc

Senior Curmudgeon
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2004
Messages
6,354
Reaction score
4,254
I started practice, with a family, at age 42. Many of my colleagues were also "non-traditional" medical students, who chose psychiatry based on previous life experience and projected lifestyle considerations. It is very do-able, and as compatible with having a family as any professional career is. In addition, one can expect to work productively, if one chooses, well into one's 70s.
(As an aside, I met a local psychiatrist last night who is choosing to take his recertification exam next week in a psychiatric subspecialty at age 80.) :eek:

Also--don't wait to "build a life" until you're done with formal training. It really bugs me to see this expectation--it's as outdated as the 1950s idea of women going to college just to get their "MRS" degree. "Life" is what you are doing now. In my 30s my "life" was going to grad school and med school, and my wife and kids were part of that. You can be single, date, marry, have babies, coach your kids' soccer team...whatever--at any and all phases of training, just as you would if you are working as an engineer.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users

MidwestMD2015

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2014
Messages
52
Reaction score
66
I am a 30-year old guy ( single ) holding a master degree in Biomedical engineering. Although I am an engineer, I have done my research projects mostly in Neuro fields to find better treatments for neurological disorders.

Now, I am looking into switching my career. I'm going to be prepared for medical school, specifically psychiatric, and more specifically Neuropsychiatric program.

1) Does this change make any sense at all?!
2) Is my age an obstacle ?!
3) My practice age will be almost 40, how will be the financial payback in this field ?! ( will need to pay off the loan and build life )

I identify where you're coming from. My undergrad degree was in biomedical engineering. I'm a second year psychiatry resident now, considering a fellowship, possibly/(likely?) neuropsych.

1) To me, your proposed change of career direction makes complete sense. Frankly, though, you don't really have to justify a career direction change to anyone--what matters more is if it makes sense to you, and you go into it with realistic expectations.

2) I don't see your age as an obstacle at all--the average age of first year medical students has been increasing anyway. In my first year of medical school (2011), the average age in my class was ~26, and there were many non-traditional folks that made it through without problems. The oldest in my class started when she was around 50.

3) Lastly, how you view the financial payback depends on many things. You'll be able to pay the loans back quickly if you're careful and manage your money well, and in my opinion even the lower end of the salary range in psychiatry is more than enough to support a really great lifestyle.

I'd just like to add my strong support for the 'don't wait to build a life' comment, quoted from OldPsychDoc. I know plenty of people who have deferred and deferred and deferred parts of their lives, needlessly passing up opportunities to be fulfilled in a more whole way. It can be tough, but it's worth it.
don't wait to "build a life" until you're done with formal training. [...] "Life" is what you are doing now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

luckym8

Full Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
17
Reaction score
1
So I'm not in psychiatry - I'm in psychology (housed in a psychiatry department though!) but wanted to chime in re: PhDs and postdocs... not lost and floundering if they went to a good school. In fact, although I hear of some (like a friend of a friend kind of thing), I know of exactly zero in person who are struggling with figuring out what to do/being able to do research if they want to/trying to get hired, and I know a lot of recent PhD grads in psychology and related fields, some doing primarily research.You haven't said a lot about what type of work in particular you think you're interested in so I wouldn't just discount the PhD route out of hand just because you know some people who had a bad experience.

Also, I know someone who went to med school in her 40s and became a psychiatrist- a total career switch- worked out well for her. This was after she was married and pretty settled though. I think as a poster above noted, undertaking either a PhD or med school program is going to put a kink in your dating life/personal life if that's a concern for you. But I do know a few people who met their SOs (and some who somehow even managed to have kids and remain sane) during med school or PhD programs. Mostly with the help of a partner who did not work though- especially my med school friends.

are you more interested in clinical work or in research?
It's totally true!
I'm interested in clinical research, find better treatments, particularly noninvasively!
I have done some researches after my graduation, from what I understood it's just sitting behind the computer and working with data instead of actual practice.
Assuming I put myself in a 5 years phd program, after graduation I still need to beg someone to hire me!! With no guarantee for the future!
I was thinking about psychology too, I actually like it... but I am required to pass many pre-reqs too

Thanks for your comment
 

luckym8

Full Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
17
Reaction score
1
I started practice, with a family, at age 42. Many of my colleagues were also "non-traditional" medical students, who chose psychiatry based on previous life experience and projected lifestyle considerations. It is very do-able, and as compatible with having a family as any professional career is. In addition, one can expect to work productively, if one chooses, well into one's 70s.
(As an aside, I met a local psychiatrist last night who is choosing to take his recertification exam next week in a psychiatric subspecialty at age 80.) :eek:

Also--don't wait to "build a life" until you're done with formal training. It really bugs me to see this expectation--it's as outdated as the 1950s idea of women going to college just to get their "MRS" degree. "Life" is what you are doing now. In my 30s my "life" was going to grad school and med school, and my wife and kids were part of that. You can be single, date, marry, have babies, coach your kids' soccer team...whatever--at any and all phases of training, just as you would if you are working as an engineer.
Thanks for the inspirational comment.
Sometimes you know what you're doing in your life and know how to handle it, but just need to hear the approval from the others!
Thanks
 

luckym8

Full Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
17
Reaction score
1
I identify where you're coming from. My undergrad degree was in biomedical engineering. I'm a second year psychiatry resident now, considering a fellowship, possibly/(likely?) neuropsych.

1) To me, your proposed change of career direction makes complete sense. Frankly, though, you don't really have to justify a career direction change to anyone--what matters more is if it makes sense to you, and you go into it with realistic expectations.

2) I don't see your age as an obstacle at all--the average age of first year medical students has been increasing anyway. In my first year of medical school (2011), the average age in my class was ~26, and there were many non-traditional folks that made it through without problems. The oldest in my class started when she was around 50.

3) Lastly, how you view the financial payback depends on many things. You'll be able to pay the loans back quickly if you're careful and manage your money well, and in my opinion even the lower end of the salary range in psychiatry is more than enough to support a really great lifestyle.

I'd just like to add my strong support for the 'don't wait to build a life' comment, quoted from OldPsychDoc. I know plenty of people who have deferred and deferred and deferred parts of their lives, needlessly passing up opportunities to be fulfilled in a more whole way. It can be tough, but it's worth it.
Thank you bery much for the encouraging comment.
I totally agree with your view on number 1
 

Psychotic

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2013
Messages
731
Reaction score
397
My overall GPA is 3 out of 4. I haven't started the pre-reqs yet!!

You do realize that unless you go at it full time in a post bacc program, it will take you at least 2 years to schedule, take, and pass all of the pre-reqs, right? I did a post bacc program, having done only one of the pre reqs in college, and it took me one and a half summer sessions and 2 semesters to complete all course work and labs, or about a calendar year. If you plan to take the pre-reqs part time, while you still work, it could take 3 or more years. However you do it, you need to make As, especially with a GPA of 3.

What was your undergrad major? As for your undergrad GPA of 3 you need to understand that is fairly low. Not much leniency if any at all is given in med school admissions for undergrad majors in "hard" degree programs like engineering, either. Some, but not much.

Med school admissions cycles begin in June every year. With the above pre req time info in mind, what is the first cycle you can realistically apply? 2020, or 2021? Meaning you would start med school in 2021 at the earliest, more likely 2022? And finish residency in 2030? Be realistic about all of this.
 
Last edited:

OldPsychDoc

Senior Curmudgeon
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2004
Messages
6,354
Reaction score
4,254
....What was your undergrad major? As for your undergrad GPA of 3 you need to understand that is fairly low. Not much leniency if any at all is given in med school admissions for undergrad majors in "hard" degree programs like engineering, either. Some, but not much.
In the OP he said he has a Masters in Biomedical Engineering. I doubt there are many prereqs that he's going to have to take. Give the guy a break.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Psychotic

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2013
Messages
731
Reaction score
397
In the OP he said he has a Masters in Biomedical Engineering. I doubt there are many prereqs that he's going to have to take. Give the guy a break.

The OP is not very well informed on any of this, per his own posts. Even he says he has not taken any of the pre reqs, and I assume he is correct about this and has looked into it. My recollection is that masters level courses do not substitute for the 8 required undergrad pre reqs and labs.

OP says he has a "3" undergrad GPA. That will be a problem in med school admissions no matter how well he did in grad school, and regardless his undergrad major.

OP might as well get a dose of reality now, something woefully missing from the advice offered by others in this thread. He needs to understand that, depending on how long it will take him to begin, and finish, the pre req coursework, he is not 8 years from the end of residency finish line, but more likely 13+ years...and that assumes he can overcome his low undergrad GPA, do well on the MCAT, etc.
 

OldPsychDoc

Senior Curmudgeon
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2004
Messages
6,354
Reaction score
4,254
The OP is not very well informed on any of this, per his own posts. Even he says he has not taken any of the pre reqs, and I assume he is correct about this and has looked into it. My recollection is that masters level courses do not substitute for the 8 required undergrad pre reqs and labs.

OP says he has a "3" undergrad GPA. That will be a problem in med school admissions no matter how well he did in grad school, and regardless his undergrad major.

OP might as well get a dose of reality now, something woefully missing from the advice offered by others in this thread. He needs to understand that, depending on how long it will take him to begin, and finish, the pre req coursework, he is not 8 years from the end of residency finish line, but more likely 13+ years...and that assumes he can overcome his low undergrad GPA, do well on the MCAT, etc.
My point was that every BME program I've ever encountered was loaded with PChem, Physics, and Biol course work. And there are a LOT of med schools that are interested in attracting non-trads with actual life experience, and which will properly credit a 3.0 in a good engineering program as morally equivalent to a 3.6-3.7 liberal arts bio major. Yes, he needs to rock the MCAT--but I think that there are more assets than liabilities in his app.

He should really start talking to Admissions Offices at 2-3 schools in his state and find out from them what he needs for prep.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Psychotic

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2013
Messages
731
Reaction score
397
He should really start talking to Admissions Offices at 2-3 schools in his state and find out from them what he needs for prep.

Then why didn't you say this instead of taking the time to knock my post? That was my point...get informed.

The OP doesn't need to be given a "break" by me or anyone else on SDN, he needs to get up to speed to understand exactly what he needs for pre req course work, prep, etc. And that was my point - get informed, and be realistic about the path and its length, and the hurdles he needs to clear, starting with that fairly low UG GPA.

Again, my recollection is that masters level course work does not substitute for the undergrad science pre reqs - this is a critical issue for him to understand before going any further. Thus I agree completely with you that he needs to talk to med school admissions officers, as well as a good undergrad pre-med advisor, on his best course of action RE the pre-reqs, MCAT prep, and all the other stuff expected of applicants. There are med school admissions people on SDN who might be able to shed some light on all of this, too, but nothing beats talking directly to someone at the colleges and med schools in his area, and he should do this asap.
 

luckym8

Full Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
17
Reaction score
1
thank you all very much for your contributions!

As I wrote in my first post, I am expecting to finish at around 40! If it takes to 43, it really doesn't matter ( I can trust on my brain functioning for an additional 2 or 3 years).
When you wanna start a long road trip, the arrival time is not crucial but the trip itself! The point is, is it worth putting effort while knowing the fact that your car engine (age) is no longer that new brand turbocharged v8 powerful engine you used to have!!
Besides, can I get my car serviced at the destination for another road trip!!

Thanks
 

nexus73

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Messages
1,189
Reaction score
1,625
There is no reason you can't do it. I had older classmates in my med school class who did just fine.

That being said, why not just go to PA school? Much shorter road. Or, a slightly different direction, go to pharmacy school and work towards being a board certified psychiatric pharmacist. A little longer, but really only 4 years of school and 1 year residency probably (income not as good though).
 
Top