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Career choices: recommendations and advice

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by BradleyS., Jan 15, 2007.

  1. BradleyS.

    BradleyS. Well-Known Member

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    I have a family member that is about to graduate from HS and is having a tough time deciding in a career path. He feels that he needs to make a fairly firm decision soon so he can decide which college to attend. He is debating petroleum engineeering or some sort of medical profession (dentist,ortho.,dermatologist, anesthesiologist). Because of the durastic difference in majors, it basically decides which college he attends. I thought it would be helpful if I could throw out some ideas about the pros/cons of each type of job. I am not very educated on what careers are out there in these fields.
    His main debate seems to be wether the extra time spent in med school is worth it financially in the long run. Both jobs seem to interest him alot and I think he definitely likes the salaries associated with them.
    Just a few questions I have... When going the med school route, is their really much difference in actual coursework between say a dentist and surgeon? I would think it should cover basically the same material but just focus in different areas. So if going the med school route would it not be a better choice to become a surgeon (which i assume pays way more) than a dentist if the actual schooling is about the same?
    What type of salaries would these type jobs bring? I cant seem to find much online except median salaries and everything seems to max out at around 150k. This seems unlikely to me because I have always heard that in medical field the skys the limit for income.
     
  2. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Well-Known Member

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    the median income for an anesthesiologist is way more than 150K, more like 250K. but everyone knows picking a career by how much money you can make isnt a good idea, without knowing if you will actually like your job. surely he must have researched pros/cons of each job already, yes? what has he found by research so far?

    CJ
     
  3. BradleyS.

    BradleyS. Well-Known Member

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    he seems to think he would be perfectly happy with either type of job. He wants something that has stability (not much travel) and freedom to pick where he wants to live. The dentist,dermatologist, and ortho satisfy those requirements. The only con he can really find in medical jobs is the length of schooling. I have heard anywhere from 8-12 years total?
    The petroleum engineering interests him because of the short schooling (4-5 years), high starting salary, and its fairly easy to get an oil company to pay for much of your schooling. The only con he has with this job is frequent travel can be involved and you will most likely live in a larger city. Consequently, it is easy to go out on your own after 10-15 years work experience. If anybody has experience with the types of jobs please chime in and offer your views.
     
  4. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure if med school is longer for surgeons, but I'm pretty sure the residency is. Dentistry can be confusing, because there are two degrees (DMD and DDS) which both carry the same education and certification.
     
  5. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Well-Known Member

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    there is actually a position called sanitation engineer? i always thought that was a euphemism for garbage man. wow, you can major in anything these days! [​IMG]

    CJ
     
  6. SethH

    SethH Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest going to the engineering school. If he decides to go into medicine that will obviously require graduate school. So he could start out in engineering and if he decided to go for medicine he could switch his major into a pure science such as biology or chemistry to prepare him for med school.
     
  7. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Well-Known Member

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    He can go to college for the first 2 years and take core courses without declaring a major. He will need a undergrad before going to medical school anyway. Typically people will not go to the same school for grad work.
     
  8. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Well-Known Member

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    Med school including pre-med is a good 8 years..6 years if he's accepted in an accelerated program. Then there's 4 years of residency training to become a general surgeon. Add another 2 years if he's going into a subspecialty like urology, vascular ,etc. For derma, or anes, its going to be 4 years again, with a year for subpecialty.
    Dermatology, ophthalmology and radiology are the most sought after specialties due to its high salaries and relatively easy lifestyle, meaning they have more time for themselves and get paid more. These r usually reserved for the cream of the crop students, top 5% of the top 10%. Why? Programs get to choose with a gazillion applicants. With regards to surgical residencies, competition is also very hard and that includes anesthesia and emergency medicine. The primary care specialties r the easiest to get into as u may have deduced, pay less while working more.
    Basically it boils down to which specialty pays more so American graduates who have thousands in students loans can pay them off faster.
    I would suggest u "discourage" your family member about getting into med school. Too much time and money for little gains these days. My wife and I r both doctors here and we're hoping my only son doesn't get the insane idea to get into it with all the crap we go thru.That said, any child who really wants to become a doctor will never be disuaded from his goal.
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    If he wants money overall else, become a corporate lawyer. Only three years post-grad work, and it's straight classes. No bothersome thesis nor defense. And starting salaries are huge, with little risk of killing your clients as with medicine. Stability? Same as anything else: my corporate lawyer relative is waiting to see if she has a job after the corporate merger is finished.

    Medicine: seems like too much work for the money, compared to law. But the social respect for doctors is still very high. And you can work anywhere in the country, or the world. And medicine is not readily outsource...yet.

    Petroleum Engineering historically is very uneven work -- it seems one of the more unstable engineering fields. It's hot now, but will it be in ten years? Who knows.

    Engineering in general: a lot of engineers are down on the whole profession. The consequence to outsourcing is biting now: design and engineering work is now leaving, following manufacturing. Traditional engineering roles supporting big-business manufacturing feels like it's in a decline. I'm an engineer of sorts and love the work itself. But I wonder about the future, and whether I'd encourage a child to pursue it.

    But ultimately, there's no rush. Even a "rushed" person has at least the first semester of college to decide.
     
  10. Andy_Bu

    Andy_Bu Well-Known Member

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    I don't know much about the Petroleum Engineering business.

    Is there any worry of the growing outsourcing that is harming some of the other engineering fields for Americans?

    Andy
     
  11. Bonnie*F

    Bonnie*F Well-Known Member

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    Since I don't know where your relative lives - is there any kind of volunteer program at the local hospital or summer internship at an engineering firm that he could try out at?
    I'd say do some comparisons and see what classes are basically required for both or all majors and have him take those the first semester. He can get them out of the way while deciding what he wants to do. He can also look at the requirements on all levels from undergrad to residency (if he goes the medical route). If there is some class or set of classes that he absolutely hates doing, that is something to consider as well.
    Good Luck!
     
  12. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Well-Known Member

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    I'm a BSEE/MBA and my brother-in-law is a Family Practice Physician. As a senior engineer, I probably make about what he does as a family practice MD and I definitely am happy with the career I chose. Oh, and I started making money long before he did. Also, my MBA was paid for by the company I worked for so very little out of pocket cost to me.

    Also, it's one thing thinking what you want to do before you get to college and another when you start taking classes in a competitive environment. To excel in engineering or the sciences takes a great deal of commitment and effort. Also it helps to enjoy the classes you are taking, not take classes or a program because of the salary it will bring. As Eric already stated only the most selective medical specialties bring extraordinary salaries. Other medical salaries can easily be beaten in many other career paths. Medicine is a field for those truely driven to it.

    I would suggest he apply to colleges/universities commensurate with his high school achievements. Many, if not most top schools, have first year programs or honor programs for talented students that introduces them to many career opportunities.

    Engineering in general seems to be picking up again. I have 2 sons who are Mechanical Engineering majors and co-op assignments and jobs are more and more available. My one son is already in a co-op program and will make nearly 30K while in it.

    Anyway, my 2 cents on your question.
     
  13. Mike~Sileck

    Mike~Sileck Well-Known Member

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    I'm 19 years old, a sophomore at Stevens Institute of Technology. This is my second school, my first was the University of Missouri. Also, next year I'm hoping to transfer to the University of North Carolina. I have about a 3.8 GPA, so I'm pretty much able to transfer anywhere I want....

    Point is, I've changed my mind twice and its not gonna really affect me that much. I'll probably declare a Business Administration major next year where-ever I am, and maybe a specialty after that. BUT if I really wanted to I could switch to Biology and be ready for grad -med school in like 2-3 years. Basically he has plenty of time to decide....

    Great ambitions though!
     
  14. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Well-Known Member

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    I was one of those people that 'knew' exactly what I wanted to do when I entered university....but by the time I graduated I'd switched directions somewhat and 12+ years later am working in the field I was drifting over too. Its all related and the background in my major definitely helps but my point is that you don't really know what you want till you're immersed in it and even then you grow so much as a person during those years that you'll find a lot of people end up on a different path then they started on.
     
  15. BradleyS.

    BradleyS. Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the input guys! I can see where you guys are coming from about not having to decide right away. His only fear is that if he starts at a public university(for engineering) and then decides to pursue pre-med at a private university he will most likely lose all his hours. As far as having the first 2 years to decide- he is entering college with 30+ hours and has nearly all the basics completed. So he will basically enter college and start taking classes that pertain to his major.
    I have not done much research on this topic, but I heard that it only takes about 96 undergrad hours to be accepted into med school, and that you dont even have to have a biology major? Would it even be possible to get an engineering degree and then transfer into med school? I understand that a few biology and chem classes may need to be taken, but is it even a realistic concept?
    Also, just for kicks and to satisfy my own curiosity, how much does malpractice insurance run for the more risky jobs like surgeons and anesthesiologists?
     
  16. mech_eng9t7

    mech_eng9t7 Member

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    a professor once stated the following and it has stuck with me:

    If you want to earn a lot money go into meds

    If you don't care about money, go into engineering.

    from my username you can tell which path I took. should of went with meds.
     
  17. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Well-Known Member

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    Yes it is possible to get an engineering degree then go to med. school. My brother is doing it now. Got his BSCE at Florida. Worked for 2 years and got his P.E. . Started a VERY sucessful engineering firm for 8 yeras then sold it and is going to F.S.U. medical school. He had several semesters of ore req's in the biology and chem areas but it is doable. If he wants to keep his time to a minumum that's not the way to go.

    With that said....If he wants to make money as an engineer the way to do it is get your P.E. and consult.
     
  18. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Well-Known Member

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    He sounds really smart. If he's really interested in a lucrative interesting career with a long future he should check out nuclear engineering. The future is nuclear, and there is a great shortage of engineers. Fascinating, challenging, and important!
     
  19. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Well-Known Member

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    Highest malpractice insurance would be on OB Gynes...most sued next to surgeons. Anesthesiologists and ER docs r quite high. It may also depend where ur practicing. These may be daunting but a doctor only pays for these fees only if he's into private practice. If u r employed, ur employer eats it. Of course, with private practice, u get more bucks but with all the aggravation, I think its not worth it. Recently, there's this group that u have to dole out big bucks to join. They have powerful lawyers behind them that it serves to deter "whimsical" lawsuits, basically going after the other side.
    On another note, someone said the respect is still there for docs. That my friend is steadily dwindling. Did u know doctors r the most sued people in the US? Everybody thinks we earn big bucks that we're targets for lawsuits, and I'm not talking about malpractice...just everyday crap. Its one of the reasons I dropped the MD monicker years ago when dealing outside the medical community. Also, patients r very demanding these days, like they own us or something, thinking we live off of them. Not to put down anyone, but it seems those that r on medicaid or any "free" coverage r the most rude. Go figure! This is also one of the reasons I've been getting into small businesses to augment our income if not totally replace it.
    I f u ask me personally, I'd rather be an engineer. I like tinkering with things, knowing how they work, how to improve them and repair them if broken. My father's a mechanical engineer, 3 of my brothers r engineers. I'm the only idiot who went into medicine.......[​IMG]
     
  20. RichP

    RichP Well-Known Member

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    Does he like numbers and statistics and probabilities? Look into becoming an Actuary. The salary is off the charts. Some Actuaries can make 7 figures a year easily. The apprenticeship is long though, but the rewards are worth it.
     

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