Only you can decide if the benefits of becoming a doctor would adequately compensate you for the time, money and effort required to earn a medical degree. Being a doctor requires completion of an undergraduate degree, four years of medical school and up to seven years of internships and residency. Start by asking yourself what matters most to you in a career. If you are motivated by a sense of purpose, desire to make a difference and the deeply gratifying feeling of saving lives, then becoming a doctor may be your calling. Other perks include high earning potential, comfortable lifestyle and job security.
Doctors experience great fulfillment in using their medical knowledge and skills to improve the lives of their patients. Becoming a doctor will afford you an opportunity to specialize in whatever area of medicine you consider most appealing and personally rewarding. For example, general practitioners treat many different ailments and they enjoy high status in their community. Surgeons diagnose complex conditions, perform intricate operations and develop cutting-edge surgical techniques, which is intellectually challenging work. Psychiatrists find gratification in diagnosing and treating debilitating mental-health conditions. Discovering your niche in medicine can lead you to a job perfectly suited to your interests and skills.
Opportunity to Help Others
Many doctors go into medicine to help others recover from illness and lead healthier lifestyles that can promote quality of life and longevity. Doctors continually seek new methods and medications to treat patients and improve overall functioning. If you feel passionate about providing care to those in greatest need, you may consider volunteering for humanitarian organizations in the United States or abroad. For example, Doctors Without Borders seeks qualified physicians to live and work in developing countries around the world for weeks or months at a time. Medical care is provided in disaster areas, refugee camps and conflict zones. A small stipend is provided along with benefits such as insurance, annual vacation and student loan forgiveness eligibility.
High Paying Salary
A doctor’s salary can get you a big house, nice car, fashionable clothing and a good education for your children. You will be able to travel and take exciting vacations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, physicians and surgeons earned a median annual salary of $208,000, or $100 per hour, as of May 2016. That means that half of all medical doctors earned less than the median salary, and half earned more. The annual mean wage of doctors across the country ranged from $119,050 to $272,820. Doctors in New Hampshire, Wyoming, Minnesota and Wisconsin earned an average annual salary in excess of $250,000, which was higher than the average salary reported by doctors in other states.
Finding a job after finishing your studies should not be a problem. Opportunities abound for doctors and physicians, especially in rural and economically depressed areas that have great difficulty recruiting and retaining physicians. The BLS projects that between 2016 and 2026, the demand for doctors will increase by 13 percent, which is faster than average as compared to other occupations. Contributing factors include higher levels of chronic illness and the large demographic of aging baby boomers with age-related medical conditions. Cardiologists and radiologist will be in high demand. Of the 713,800 doctors working in the United States, approximately 50 percent work in private practice. However, increasing numbers of doctors are moving from private practice into hospital-managed care.
About the Author
Mary Dowd holds a doctorate in educational leadership and a master’s in counseling and student affairs from Minnesota State Mankato. Helping students succeed has been her passion while serving in many areas of student affairs and adjunct teaching. Currently she is a dean of students at a large, public university. Dr. Dpwd’s writing experience includes published research, training materials and hundreds of practical online articles.
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