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Show Me The Money! (Making money in medicine)

Discussion in 'Topics in Healthcare' started by astrife, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. astrife

    astrife Senior Member
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    One can always go to monster.com and look up average salaries for occupations in certain fields, but I'd like to get your guy's input. Where exactly is the big money in medicine? I remember reading about an orthopedic doctor in Chicago who started his own surgery facility, and I guess other surgeons paid him to use it. Apparently he raked in the money (I think we are talking 1-2 million a year). Well I think he was committing fraud or something and moved to Greece or something. But, that really got me thinking about where the money really is in medicine. To make more than the average doctor how do you end up doing it? Use that lucrative salary you make and invest it back into your practice more so than most? Pursue other avenues with that capital? Specialize?

    What's everyone's thoughts?
     
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  3. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    There are averages by specialty. On average, primary care docs are paid less than specialists, particularly if the specialist wields a 'scope of some kind. (Procedures pay).

    If this a big concern, be sure to bring it up in the interviews. :rolleyes:
     
  4. physiclas87

    physiclas87 Member
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    Shut up.
     
  5. Elastase

    Elastase StanfUrd bound!!!
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    I get sad when i see posts like this...trying to get into medicine because of the money that is involved.


    I definitely agree that physicians should make above average b/c of extra training...however, for some specialities, its is really really ridiculous...
     
  6. Doc.Holliday

    Doc.Holliday Senior Member
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    :D
     
  7. Shredder

    Shredder User
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    the key to amassing great wealth is putting either money or people to work for you, generally speaking. not sure if that counts as salary, but thats how the bourgeosie works. raking in money is a relative phrase depending on the context. the money in medicine is where the money is anywhere else--in the hands of those who own property of various sorts and means of production. to a lesser extent the money is in the hands of those who run the show but dont necessarily own it (CEO/manager vs owner, basically). and yes these things do also pertain to medicine/the healthcare industry

    additionally, you sdners are such fuc|<ers sometimes, leave the guy alone. "shut up"? typical of 1987er. if he saves lives he saves lives, regardless of his motivation. lizzym your sarcastic advice is much appreciated. God save the unsuspecting premed who actually decides to listen one day. i had to get all of that out.

    post in the md/mba forum dude, youre better off there. major newbie mistake posting this here where youre certain to be the subject of a pre allo witch hunt.
     
  8. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    The big money will come with the investments you make off of your salary.
     
  9. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    Without "attacking" the OP, I would like to add that there are better career areas where you can make more money over the course of a lifetime easier than becoming a physician. If you take even a modest job in business - one where you made only $100k per year initially, invested wisely, and received promotions, at the end of 8 years, you would be sitting on a nice chunk of change whereas the doctor wannabe would just be finishing training with a giant mountain of debt.
     
  10. Faust

    Faust Senior Member
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    seriously though. If you go into ob/gyn and sub specialize in reproductive endocrinology/infertility you can make mucho dinero, if your good that is. Although, getting into a repro/endo fellowship one's odds are very small instead of the usual 3:1 for premeds it is like 75:1.

    Good luck though. There is alot of money to be made though, and for the first time i agree with shredder on this one.
     
  11. tdd340

    tdd340 Assistant to the sensei
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    I see this all the time on SDN, people always mention that there alot of other ways to make alot of money outside of medicine. This is true but to talk about $100,000 a year jobs so casually is a little misleading I think. Yes the ceiling for a career in business can be much higher but as a rule they make less. VERY few people start off making $100,000 initially.
     
  12. fpr85

    fpr85 "newbie"
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    the better you are, the more referrals you'll get, the more money you'll make :thumbup:
     
  13. Apparition

    Apparition 1K Member
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    Flop, do you work in business? Not of the people I graduated with who went into business are making over 50-60K.
     
  14. Shredder

    Shredder User
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    putting aside all the BS, its no coincidence competition for medical school is the most intense of all professional schools. nowhere can you find the guarantee of 6 figures at all points on the bell curve. people respond to incentives, monetary or otherwise

    also income via referrals does not scale up well at all. you will quickly hit a plateau, and on top of that you will be working constantly with no time to enjoy your wealth.
     
  15. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    You have to look at the average person with med school caliber credentials, not the average college grad. The person with a higher GPA tends to have more doors open to them in terms of good salaries than the proverbial average. Thus it's not so misleading. I think all people are saying is that someone smart enough to get into med school is smart enough to make more money elsewhere. It also should be noted that if you go into medicine for the money, you will take out a ton of debt, spend many years in school and training, work longer hours, only to get into a practice to see your income limited by HMO reimbursements and insurance costs, and spend the rest of your life seeing your friends in other fields having cushier lives and passing you by. Thus if $ is your real motivation, you will be happier following another path. A good percentage of the people who are malcontent with their medical career cite salary issues as a significant factor. If, however, you are interested in medicine for intellectual, altruistic or other non-$ reasons, you will likely be less frustrated while you are roughing it for the next umpteen years, and will feel like you are getting what you bargained for.
     
  16. rocketman

    rocketman Member
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    Aren't you like in 8th grade? Stop worrying about all the money you are never going to make.
     
  17. novawildcat

    novawildcat Senior Member
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    theres a reason ob/gyns get paid a lot- their job sucks the most.
     
  18. MattD

    MattD Curmudgeon
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    I cannot for the life of me figure out where some of these ideas come from. Yes, Jack Welsh made more in business than the typical physician will. Yes, Bill Gates did the same. I simply cannot fathom, however, how people seem dead determined to convince people (and themselves?) that there are easier ways to make the money physicians make. If the other ways are so much easier, why aren't people clamoring to do those things? And why haven't I met one of them? I have certainly never met this mythical group of business majors who make hundreds of thousands per year out of college. The fact is, the wealthiest people I've met have all been physicians, or dentists, or some other kind of professional healthcare provider. Well, ok, the CEO of the company I worked for was better off, but still, he didn't become CEO right out of college. My father owns his own business, and he does well, so it certainly isn't impossible, but it certainly wasn't EASY to build his company to the point where it is today either. He worked every bit as hard as a physician in training for longer than any residency program lasts to get there. So basically, what I'm trying to say is, do what you want to do, and if what you want to do is make money, medicine is a great field in which to do it. It offers the highest AVERAGE salary (read that as attainable by everyone in the field) of pretty much any profession. The average FP's salary may be 120K as compared to a CEO's 500k salary (or millions if you insist on using a fortune 500 example), but the AVERAGE business major does not make anywhere near 120K.
     
  19. SanDiegoSOD

    SanDiegoSOD Milk was a bad choice
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    My thoughts exactly. On top of this, becoming a physician does not require the same skills necessary to succeed in the business world. All you REALLY need to get into medical school is a hard work ethic and intelligence, not the drive, initiative, and interpersonal skills required to build your own successfull business or to hagle your way to the top of the corporate ladder. I've always said that many premeds that are going to make fine physicians would not be nearly as successful (or make nearly as much money) in a different environment, especially one outside of healthcare.
     
  20. calvinandhobbes

    calvinandhobbes Senior Member
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    it's called the ROAD to success: radiology, opthamology, anesthesiology, and dermatology -- highest pay, easiest hours.

    personally, i don't think i want to enter any of those fields, but if you are interested in good money and a nice lifestyle, there ya go
     
  21. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    The fact that you personally haven't met them doesn't mean they don't exist. I've certainly met, and worked with, my fair share. If the wealthiest people you have met are all health care providers, you clearly aren't running with the high income crowd.
     
  22. Chris127

    Chris127 Senior Member
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    Matt and Shredder seem to be the only ones on here who know what they are talking about.
     
  23. CTSballer11

    CTSballer11 Senior Member
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    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: that was awsome.

    OP, dont sweat it man. Some people on here will flame you if you talk about money and practicing medicine in the same sentence. The highest salaries in medicine are in specialties that preform procedures (surgery, interventional cardiology, etc) vs. family medicine or pediatrics. You have to keep in mind that reimbursements for any given procedure is not as much as it once was. My uncle makes half of what he made 10-15 yrs ago and his volume has not changed much.
     
  24. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    I live in the bay area of California, and see many engineers, real estate brokers, and business people that will make as much as or more than a physician over the course of a lifetime without the difficult academic challenges associated with becoming a physician. I agree that physicians are generally financially better off than the average person, but need to see data suggesting that this is the best way if a person's motivation is strictly financial.
     
  25. xraygray

    xraygray Senior Member
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    i don't know anyone in the "high income crowd" that didn't come from a high income daddy or didn't get one of their well paying jobs through one of daddy's friends. i'd be very interested to meet someone 30- that is making six figures that didn't come from a wealthy family in the first place. I'm sure they exist, but are probably very rare. could be wrong though.
     
  26. glp

    glp Vegas Baby Vegas
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    word. compare these numbers, hbs has a class size of 900, harvard med's class size is 165.
     
  27. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    The thing is that if you get into med school.....you are guarenteed 6 figures. The questionable admit who passes the USMLE by a point will make 6 figures.

    The same person would prolly not hit six figures in business.

    Another point comes down to skillset. Some would thrive in Biz and others in Med.
     
  28. nicholasblonde

    nicholasblonde Senior Member
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    I know a radiologist who pulls in 3 mil per MONTH off of a huge outpatient radiology clinic he built with 1 other partner. He got contracts with a ton of local clinical groups, and probably gives them a percentage of the referrals/commission.

    I also know some people who built an entire private hospital, which then got bought out by another, larger hospital. They're all sitting on huge piles of money, I'm sure.

    Lesson to be learned: do some market research as to what services are underserved in a particular geographic region, then build it...with baby-boomers retiring, they will come...you'll be helping them and making money at the same time--a rewarding situation for all parties involved.

    PS> If anyone on here has problems with this discussion, swear to me that you would go through all of this and then practice for free...that's the only way you will convince me that you are morally superior to the guy who started this thread.

    PPS> Plumbers make more money overall between the ages of 18 and 65 than doctors (at 65, the average doc has just about made as much cumulative earnings (after cost of education) as the plumber has working the same hours all that time). So you can't blame this guy for capitalizing on market demand...the guy with the radiology clinic is providing a more-convenient, obviously in-demand service to patients whose INSURANCE is paying the bill 90% of the time. I don't see how anyone could think wanting to make some extra money, while providing value to patients, is a BAD thing...that is, unless you would work for free...which you wouldn't/don't...so now it's your turn to shut up (unless you would practice for free). Would you practice for free?
     
  29. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    The basement in medicine is higher than in biz.

    The ceiling in medicine is lower than in biz.

    If you think you could top out in biz then go for it but it takes hard work and luck.
     
  30. Doc.Holliday

    Doc.Holliday Senior Member
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    but there is no reason a doc cant mix in a bit of business and push that ceiling into the stars!!! :D plus, if the business aspect doesnt work out, youve still got a fine contingency plan with that MD.
     
  31. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    You are preaching to the choir here. Future MD/MBA.
     
  32. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    well said.
     
  33. Phil Anthropist

    Phil Anthropist SDN Moderator
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    Moving to the Topics in Healthcare forum.

    Lay off the personal attacks or I'll be forced to close the thread.
     
  34. Doc.Holliday

    Doc.Holliday Senior Member
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    haha, i know you are... so does everyone else that spends any considerable amount of time browsing sdn. I myself have considered an MD/MBA program, but have decided getting an eMBA later on would better serve my purposes.
     
  35. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Two words: Tech Sector.

    If you have the abilities, training, and work ethic, the odds of pulling $100K/year in tech by the time you're 30 are very good if you live in one of the major markets.

    Many of us in San Francisco hit that threshold well before 30. It's do-able, but not a lot of fun.
     
  36. MattD

    MattD Curmudgeon
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    I think you're missing my point. I never claimed that these people don't exist, I'm simply saying that as a GROUP, business majors on AVERAGE will not have the same earning power as physicians on AVERAGE. In medicine, a few physicians will have the drive, business savvy, and luck to build a practice that brings in the millions, but ANY physician who isn't a complete financial dunce should be able to bring in a 6-figure salary, simply due to the nature of the industry. I'm not interested in discussing outliers, because we all know they're out there, and they're not representative of the entire data set, so if there's a physician out there you know who works his tail off for 50K per year, I'll just take your word for it and move on. In business, again, a few individuals will have the drive, savvy, and luck to make it big, but earning a degree in business or choosing to enter the business sector does NOT guarantee the 6-figure salary that medicine does. While there are certainly many graduates who will have 6-figure starting salaries, especially in high cost of living areas, there are many more who will not. Therefore, my argument is simply that medicine has a higher 'guaranteed' salary than business, because physician renumeration is fairly standardized with regard to services provided, while business is influenced much more by an individuals entrepreneurship, natural ability to hob-nob, and often unpredictable market forces.

    And you're absolutely right, I don't run with the high-income crowd, I tend to hang with people with similar interests to my own, without regard to their bling :) Although as a poor college student who doesn't come from old money, just about anyone with a full-time job is the high-income crowd compared to me LOL
     
  37. stwinson

    stwinson Junior Member
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  38. stwinson

    stwinson Junior Member
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    A decent ivy-grad landing a job in an ibank makes almost a 6 figure fresh off....and also law grads entering coperate law start at 100K+ as well....and it's not too hard to grad from college or law skol before 30
     
  39. astrife

    astrife Senior Member
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    Yeah, that's really where brand name schools matter: business.
     
  40. almost_there

    almost_there Senior Member
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    Didn't get a chance to reply to Law2Doc in the other thread (away on interview with very slow internet access), but here are some relevant links:

    1. Atul Gawande (MD, Harvard MS, surgeon, Rhodes (?) Scholar, New Yorker writer + "Complications" author), on physician salaries:

    http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/050404fa_fact

    2. The study he cites by Dr. William Weeks (Prof at Dartmouth), that examines salaries of physicians vis-a-vis other professional careers (lawyers, dentists, business school people)

    http://www.vaoutcomes.org/papers/Ed_Costs_and_Incomes.pdf

    In short, if you calculate all the costs, and control (as best he could given his data sources) for GPA, family practice docs are more poorly compensated than lawyers, dentists, businesspeople, and specialty docs. The order of the remaining fields fluctuates depending on what measure of career income you choose.

    One assumption I question is that a 3.x GPA med school matriculant is equivalent to a 3.x GPA law school matriculant. I'm not convinced of that assumption. Also, I tend to think that many more people can go to medical school, if they are willing to put in the work and effort necessary, than can go to a top law or business program. The graduates from the top law or business programs can make big bucks even starting out, no question. But anyone who gets into med school will make a tighter range of income, with a much higher floor (and a lower ceiling), as someone else mentioned.

    Also mentioned in Gawande's article is the fact that a doctor has the option to say,"Screw the insurance system!", only take patients who will pay cash, and make a lot more than they would get in insurance reimbursements, without the billing overhead. So even though average doctor salaries are a certain amount, doctors do have the option to make much more... if that is what they want to do.

    a_t
     
  41. MattD

    MattD Curmudgeon
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    Very interesting articles. I question a few points in Dr. Weeks study, such as the assertion that the typical dentist works a 38 hour week, but I'm sure he did his homework. The key point I believe is that he performed his analysis on graduates of only the top 20 business schools. It is my personal opinion, so if there's something official out there that disagrees I'd be interested in seeing it, that it is much MUCH harder to find yourself in a position to be graduating from a top 20 business school than it is to earn an MD. While these people have doors opened to them that can take them straight to the top of the financial ladder, the fact is that the majority of business school grads in the U.S. do not graduate from top 20 schools, and therefore do not have the same opportunity for astronomical salary. The point that I thought was being discussed here, and maybe I just got it wrong, was the salary floor, not the ceiling. So while the average Wharton MBA might make far more than the average Duke orthopod (and I'm not sure that that's accurate..), the average U. of State MBA will not make more than the average U. State Internist. Of course there are always the big name flops and the small school superstars, but I think my point stands. If you're in it for easy money, business school does not necessarily beat out med school. Those 1.5 million dollar earners in I-banking are not working 40 hour weeks... The education (at least the science part) may not be as rigorous, but the work is still hard.
     
  42. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I promise you from very personal experience that someone with the stats to get into the average allo med school would get into a very good law or business school. Not necessarilly Harvard or Wharton, but certainly up there. The difference with business school is you need to have some work experience first, but the GPA requirements tend to be very significantly lower for both those types of graduate education. Thanks to the prior poster who linked to the Gawande article, which I believe I referenced in my initial post. The real point I tried to draw out of that is that the average med school matriculant has the stats of a well above average law or business student, and so needs to be compared based on those credentials, not to some very average person coming out of some community college B school with a b- average. As to your last point, I agree, a very successful I banker would have to be pulling extremely long hours to be earning in the millions. But an MD during residency, will be pulling similarly long hours for $45k.
     
  43. mshheaddoc

    mshheaddoc Howdy
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    I suppose I don't agree with most of your perspectives of "medicine is more money than business" because there are jobs I know ... people with high school education making $80K a year. As the one article reflected above ... honestly physicians and business and lawyers all end up with the same amount but its the steps that get them there. There are exceptions to all but the average salary across an general field is hard to say because there is MORE to life than money. Benefits and stock options are a HUGE thing in the "real" world that some of you will come to appreciate. Especially in the business employment world. Bonuses, perks, etc are valued just the same as money. The fact that I gave up a $50K plus salary only 3 years out of college (which I stragetically worked my way up to) to persue medical school was a cost-analysis for me. If I wanted money, I'd stay in business because with less education I would go farther with income/benefits (I have my MBA, NOT from a top 20 school, but regionally its recognized as a good school). Its all about what risks you take ... same goes with a doctor. There are some derm paths making $1.5million a year with their own clinic then you have your basic family practioner who makes $100K a year, loves what he does, and is part of a hospital system that will help invest a 401K for him. He can provide for his family and he's happy with that.

    If you're looking for money, you can find it in medicine. But you can find it in other areas as well. Medicine will take investment and business strategy in order to achieve above and beyond what average physician salaries are. I just ask that as physicians/medical students/pre-meds you don't get the "holier than thou" attitude. If you haven't lived in the real world outside of school or medicine, you really can't wholely appreciate everything that is offered. Everyone has a limited scope, so judge less others than to yourself.
     
  44. firebird69guy

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    The reality is that we ARE concerned about money. Med school is expensive and a huge committment. Don't worry about what other say.. you can be concerned about money and still be sincere about medicine. Those that pretend money isn't an issue are straight up lying or their parents are paying for everything (including undergrad). I'm still in debt from student loans in undergrad, and don't necessarily feel like going 150K more in debt! =)
     
  45. almost_there

    almost_there Senior Member
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    The point I want to make is this: saying that medicine is a poor choice of profession for those who want good compensation is a little misleading. To say that lawyers and business people make a LOT more money is misleading and a generalization. Yes, med school graduates can have huge, quarter-million dollar debts when they get out, work as residents on relatively (40-50K) low pay, but over a lifetime, being a doctor puts you at least in the upper middle class. 2004 census figures gives household income of $88K at the 85th percentile of households, and $157K at the 95th percentile of households.

    On the other hand, it is true that the person who decides to go into medicine vs. other professions will be much poorer than their peers and enjoy less free time and social life for 7-10 years during the prime period of life for such activities (20's to early 30's). And even afterwards medicine will define your life and lifestyle. So DESPITE the quite reasonable compensation, if one really doesn't love (or at least like) the science and practice of medicine, it is not necessarily a good career choice.

    A problem is that med school grads, having sunk some of the best years of their lives and $250K into med school, may feel compelled to practice medicine even if they realize that they don't really like it. It's no surprise that some are bitter.

    a_t
     
  46. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Totally agree with your post, but don't think that folks on here are saying that physicians don't get a comfortable level of compensation. I think the point, in response to an original post labeled "show me the money" was that if money is your PRIMARY concern, or what drives you (as is certainly the case of many folks who go into, say, finance), then you are really making a wrong turn. Some of us have opined that you can make more money with less effort and investment elsewhere (there is clearly hot debate on this thread about this issue, but I stand firm in my opinions).
    However, speaking as someone who has been out there, I can assure you that while wealth maximization seems awfully important when you are still in college (and in debt), it is really not what gets you through the day, and you will ultimately come to the realization that if you don't enjoy what you do, there is no amount of money that is going to make it palatable. If you find what you love to do, that in and of itself is worth a ton. Such a statement will resonate more with someone who has already been in the rat race than someone who is still in school though -- it may be one of those lessons you have to experience. In sum, if you are just working for that paycheck, but otherwise lack excitement about the field you are in, a time intensive and emotionally taxing career such as medicine is going to get old really really fast, and you would have been happier elsewhere.
     
  47. almost_there

    almost_there Senior Member
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    Agreed. Personally, this is exactly what I am doing. In my previous career, I was making over $100K a year (with a strong upwards trajectory), and also have worked as a consultant being paid over $1200/day. Pursuing medicine makes little sense financially for me, but I am doing it for the personal satisfaction of the profession itself.

    However, I'm arguing these points because I think that it is not stupid to enter medicine for at least partially financial reasons. Look at it from the perspective of financial risk -- if you get into med school, you are virtually guaranteed future income of $100K+ (and probably closer to $150K+). This cannot be said for the vast majority of other professions -- auto mechanics, construction, plumbing, landscaping, in which there is much greater fluctuation in risk and corresponding income. Boom and bust years, lots of events out of your control affecting your business and trade.

    You argue that you need to compare apples to apples -- i.e. you contend people who get into medical school will likely be more successful than the "average" person in any of the above professions, so you cannot compare averages. A good point, but I'd like proof. I would argue that the attributes that make people successful med school applicants (on average) are NOT the same attributes that make a successful plumber, electrician, programmer, business person, etc.. (Note: I distinguish between being financially successful and being skilled, as the former requires good marketing/networking, business acumen, customer relation skills, etc.).

    On a third note, I concede that some professions (e.g. law, business, dentistry) may have similar low-risk/high income profiles for top graduates. But these professions have their own intensities and characteristics that are strong turn-ons/turn-offs to individuals.

    a_t
     
  48. USCguy

    USCguy Earnest Internist
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    Pharmacist make really good money right out of college. The program at our school is 2 years of pre-req's and then 4 years of pharm school. That also only leaves 2 years of school that has to be paid for in loans. (you can apply 4 year scholarships to the first 2 years of pharm school). Thus you get out quickly and your debt load is very managable. my roommate is in his 3rd year of pharm school. just got a job in the Walmart pharmacy making $14/hour. Guaranteed to go up to $35/hour when he passes his licensing test. then $50/hour when he graduates next year. 6 years of school for a salary of $95,000. Also, some places like Walgreens will provide you with a company car. Granted, I don't think I would be happy working in a pharmacy, but it does seem to be a good deal...
     
  49. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I don't think there's any proof one could give other than pointing to people who made the transition from one field to the other and did well in both. That and the fact that law and business schools take people with lower averages, such that someone with med school caliber GPA can get into a much better than average school. I can tell you that in law, the brighter you are the more you are able to separate yourself from the average.
    Also just on a side note, both you and BrettB above indicated that in medicine you are "guaranteed" a six digit salary. I note that there are no guarantees in life, and while the average physician certainly makes more than that much, there are, in fact, physicians (post residency) who do not make six digits.
     
  50. kimmcauliffe

    kimmcauliffe Surfer Chum
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    I agree that there are no gaurantees in life, especially with medicine. While most medical students are drawn to the more lucrative areas of the professions, such as surgery, there are a number of doctors who choose to work in low-income neighborhoods (a former marine officer turned internal med doc in LA comes to mind). While her income does afford her a nice life, it's not the six digits that some of you are speaking of.

    I don't think that it's necessarily a bad thing to be questioning how much certain fields make, though it seems that most hard-core premed and med students assign taboo to the subject.

    Taking into consideration how much money students have to fork over, both out of pocket and on temporary loans, it is a legitimate concern that we all have, whether spoken or not, that we will be able at some point to pay off those loans as well as put that hard-earned money towards family, ourselves, and to good causes such as research or furthering our own education. Most of us don't come from very wealthy families and have to rely on other means to get through the expenses.

    Money will always be taboo, no matter what context you put it in, but it's something we all think about. Admit it!!
     
  51. almost_there

    almost_there Senior Member
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    But that is assuming that GPA is what gets you into med school, law school, and business school. As you yourself say, the brighter you are (in law), the more you can separate yourself from the average. From my experience, GPA is a poor correlate to how smart you are, and it seems that law schools look much more towards LSAT scores to determine intelligence and potential (you know far more about this than I do, so I'd love to hear from you). Unless you argue that anyone with a "high" pre-med GPA can do well on the LSAT... (very untrue in my experience). For business school, I think they look much more towards your relevant business experience, record, and recommendations than your undergrad GPA. Oh, and the GMAT, of course. (anecdotal "evidence" -- my very smart friend, < 3.0 GPA, went from being a software engineer in tech to working in venture capital, to Harvard Business School, which totally proves my point! :p ).

    I would venture that lower GPA's in business and law school does NOT mean that these are less qualified people, and in fact are more qualified in other ways than people with higher GPAs. In fact, I would venture to say that the schools COULD raise its average entering GPA, but chooses to weigh other factors more heavily.

    Oh, and about guarantees in life. Of course there are none, but assuming you continue working hard in medical school, and don't encounter a natural/personal disaster, I think that there are very few physicians who will have no choice but to accept a field/position that pays < $100K. I would imagine that most of folks who do so are doing so voluntarily, and could easily get better paying jobs. But perhaps I'm wrong (and please point out if I am!).
     

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