“Is a career in medicine right ?”

A career in medicine is a career of:

  • Service — The profession of medicine requires a unique commitment to put the service of others first.
  • Knowledge — Physicians are lifelong learners, always acquiring new skills and learning new information.
  • Teamwork — Physicians must be effective communicators and collaborative problem solvers.
  • Contribution — A physician impacts the lives of individuals, families, and communities.
  • Flexibility — There are many career options for physicians, ranging from primary care to research.
  • Security — Physicians are in high demand, as health care needs continue to rise and evolve.

As you weigh your career options, take time to reflect upon how the opportunities, preferences, and talents you possess compare with the demands and benefits of a medical career. Here are some suggestions to help you get started.

Get to Know Yourself

Getting to know yourself — your goals, aptitudes, personality, interests, and values — is the best place to begin to answer this important question. Consider using personal insight tools such as these to gain clarity and persepective on yourself as a person, as well as potential careers.

Be Realistic about the Challenges and Rewards

Although many students enter college wanting to become physicians, most students have little or no knowledge of what is involved in the practice of medicine.

Do Your Homework

Take the time to explore what life as a physician might be like for you.

  • Ask to meet with physicians informally, and interview them about their careers.
  • Review statistics on today’s physician workforce.
  • Understand the education and training requirements involved in becoming a doctor.
  • Learn the basics about medical school, including typical application requirements and types of medical education programs.

Consider Educational Expenses

The national average debt for medical students is more than $100,000, and the cost of tuition continues to rise. While medical education is expensive, it is an investment with a rewarding career and an above average income. If you choose a career in primary care, there are many loan forgiveness and loan repayment program options available. Ninety percent of medical school students incur some type of student loans to finance their education.

To learn more about paying off debt from student loans, visit the Debt Management section, where you can download and print a guide to use as reference throughout medical school.

Expect to Be Challenged

Medical school admissions committees are looking for students who will be able to keep up with the coursework. Most medical students agree that the amount of material required during the first two years of pre-clinical study is exponentially higher than the workload during undergraduate school. During the third and fourth (clinical) years, there are also physical and psychological demands made by very long hours, hard work, and interaction with patients. Bottom line: It takes a highly motivated individual to pursue a career in medicine.