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Should I invest in my future by going to med school?

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  • Should I invest in my future by going to med school?

    Title. I've always loved helping people, and I am passionate about bio, studying the chemical properties of medicine, psychiatrist seems like the perfect job for me, on the other hand, 10 years seems like a good chunk of my life, I mean I am not even 20.

    Would psychiatry be worth it? What's the ceiling in terms of salary in psych, I am on the east coast.
    Last edited by Larry Ragman; 04-28-2022, 04:16 PM.

  • #2
    I once told a high school teacher that same thing, that I was wondering about spending 10 years in training before getting a job. He told me that in 10 years, you will be 30 irrespective of whether you are a doctor or not so you might as well be doing what you want to be doing at age 30. 10 years goes by like a flash.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by excited_delirium View Post
      Title. I've always loved helping people, and I am passionate about bio, studying the chemical properties of medicine, psychiatrist seems like the perfect job for me, on the other hand, 10 years seems like a good chunk of my life, I mean I am not even 20.

      Would psychiatry be worth it? What's the ceiling in terms of salary in psych, I am on the east coast.
      What does "studying the chemical properties of medicine" mean - sounds like you might like pharmacology?

      Might as well become a pharmacist then - much shorter path with stable 6-fig income.

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      • #4
        One recommendation i would have is to not take too many gap years, plan for 1 max. That still means you have to apply your senior year, so def think about what you need to do to make that happen.

        Unfortunately, its competitive so kind of hard to not commit fully from the get-go... the worst is if you dont get in or dont want to go anymore and have kind of a useless bio degree

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        • #5
          Originally posted by xraygoggles View Post

          What does "studying the chemical properties of medicine" mean - sounds like you might like pharmacology?

          Might as well become a pharmacist then - much shorter path with stable 6-fig income.
          Pharmacy is extremely, extremely saturated nowadays. There's like an 80% acceptance rate now. I wouldn't recommend anyone go into pharmacy, especially if they were looking for a stable/high income

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          • #6
            Originally posted by nephron View Post
            I once told a high school teacher that same thing, that I was wondering about spending 10 years in training before getting a job. He told me that in 10 years, you will be 30 irrespective of whether you are a doctor or not so you might as well be doing what you want to be doing at age 30. 10 years goes by like a flash.
            cant argue with that flawless logic.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by xraygoggles View Post

              What does "studying the chemical properties of medicine" mean - sounds like you might like pharmacology?

              Might as well become a pharmacist then - much shorter path with stable 6-fig income.
              I enjoy studying chemical formulas, and i'm good at memorizing them

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Turf Doc View Post
                One recommendation i would have is to not take too many gap years, plan for 1 max. That still means you have to apply your senior year, so def think about what you need to do to make that happen.

                Unfortunately, its competitive so kind of hard to not commit fully from the get-go... the worst is if you dont get in or dont want to go anymore and have kind of a useless bio degree
                oh, thats no worry for me. When I commit myself to something, I give it 110%, guns blazing & everything.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by excited_delirium View Post

                  I enjoy studying chemical formulas, and i'm good at memorizing them
                  I earned my PhD in synthetic and physical organic chemistry. Why not go that route, since you enjoy studying chemical formulas? At least you get paid in school for that route while you sort out your early goals...

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                  • #10
                    RN is undoubtedly the way to go in terms of years/debt : hours/income ratio. No joke, that's the move in pure money return terms. Finish school and get that invest account stuffed early. Do crit care and enjoy a ton of days off and $$$.

                    MD is rewarding, but esp in a low end pay specialty like psych, you had better do a top residency (Ivy or similar name/connections).

                    Dent is pretty good if it interests you.

                    I would stay away from DO unless you really want FP, peds, psych. You could do worse, but if you are considering the financials, it must enter the convo. Can of worms, I know... but it's still a thing at the vast majority of good residencies: they know even top DO students weren't competitive for most MD schools. It is worth doing a MS or gap year and re-taking MCAT if you are borderline between the two. Again, not a huge thing if you don't want surgery and just want to do rural FP or peds, etc... but you might decide you want to compete for surg, anesth, etc after your clinicals... so best to leave all doors open. There is also a pay gap for a reason.

                    Pharma, podiatry, chiro, OD, PA/NP, etc are very hit-or-miss and not worth over $200-500k debt. There are probably some people loving them, but they are the minority. And again, a good RN can beat them with half the schooling and loans.

                    ...if you're NOT very keen on medicine (anatomy science etc), programming or business (MBA specialist) is the way to go for return on time/money put into school. A lot of those folks pull same or near what MDs do.

                    Originally posted by Turf Doc View Post
                    Pharmacy is extremely, extremely saturated nowadays. There's like an 80% acceptance rate now. I wouldn't recommend anyone go into pharmacy, especially if they were looking for a stable/high income
                    Definitely.

                    The only way to have real nice success in pharma is to do the basically entrepreneur route: have a store that sells braces, walkers, vitamins, various rubs and OTC med stuff, candy, snacks, soda... oh, and Rx meds too. That takes credit or family money... and the thing is, you don't really need a doc degree to do that, you just do a gas station or drug store.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Max Power View Post
                      RN is undoubtedly the way to go in terms of years/debt : hours/income ratio. No joke, that's the move in pure money return terms. Finish school and get that invest account stuffed early. Do crit care and enjoy a ton of days off and $$$.
                      If you consider BSN/RN, be sure that you do every science and math prerequisite course (anatomy, physiology, microbiology, statistics, et cetera). And note that many schools time-bar some the prerequisites (i.e. 5 years on average, then they no longer "count", unless you have an advanced degree, then some programs give you grace for 7 or 10 years). Some schools even require classes like child development as a prerequisite, or speech communications. So there can be many more requirements than just the "standard" medical school prerequisites.

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                      • #12
                        Making good money in any profession is going to require a lot of time and dedication no matter what you end up doing. It's well known that physicians spend endless hours studying or in the hospital, but attorneys, business owners, finance (not financial advisors), etc etc all work into odd hours. The big difference with physicians and personal finance is the significant lag time to making money, and the student loans that aren't really touched until the end of training (age 29-32 for many who went straight through).

                        Nursing can be good money if you work in the right state. Nurses here start at like $22/hr. There are a lot of days off, but the hours aren't great for when kids come around, which is why a lot of nurses end up in admin or clinic later on. Or they marry out of the profession. Or they pick a completely different profession altogether.

                        You don't need to go to Ivy League to make good money in psych. You just have to be willing to open up your own practice. Psych is on the lower end of the pay scale when it comes to employment. Hopefully the psychiatrists can weigh in on the accuracy of this statement.

                        DO doesn't automatically send you to primary care (but they do push primary care quite a bit). The biggest issue is most of them are very expensive. There are a few affiliated with state systems, including one in TX (which has the lowest in state tuition for med schools from what I recall). If you end up in a DO school, you can still do pretty much everything, but Max Power is correct in that it will make it that much harder to get into really competitive specialties.

                        No matter what advice you get, you really won't know if you like it until after your pretty far into it. Best thing about medicine- high paying with job stability. Worst thing about medicine- not a lot of room to pivot once you pick a path (but it can be done).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by excited_delirium View Post

                          I enjoy studying chemical formulas, and i'm good at memorizing them
                          That's great - but psychiatry is very far removed from that - why not consider grad school in chemistry?

                          You will never use chemical formulas in psychiatry - or in any field of medicine. That's the kind of thing you learn during 1st year of med school, memorize for Step 1, then never use again in your life (as a doctor).

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                          • #14
                            Xraygoggles is right. Most fields of medicine are primarily about working with people. Understanding science is important, but having strong people skills is more important.

                            Have you tried shadowing some physicians or volunteering at a hospital? You need to see a bit more of what physicians actually do before you make a decision to go to medical school. If pure science is more your interest, graduate school may be a better fit for you than medical school.

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                            • #15
                              @WCI has a great quote to answer you:

                              "If you can be talked out of a career in medicine, you should be."

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