“A doctor gave a man six months to live. The man couldn’t pay his bill, so he gave him another six months.” – Henny Youngman
There was a time when job opportunity existed for all who educated themselves, almost regardless of choice of study. Those days are gone. Ask any Starbucks barista. You’ll find intelligent folks with art, drama, English, and anthropology degrees. I’m amazed at the number of stand up comics who majored in philosophy, some at Ivy League schools.
My art degree from a prestigious university has opened doors for me too, mostly on the cars I’ve repossessed. You see, my sheep skin qualifies me to drive a tow truck for a recovery company. But, thanks to my degree, I can properly articulate just how big a mistake I made.
“I’m not a real doctor but I play one on TV.”
I should have listened to Mom. She wanted me to become a doctor. Fortunately for me, my kids are actually considering doing so. Yeah, I know. That means enormous college costs. Is the investment worth it? What are the job prospects going forward? And the expected salary? This time around, we’re going to research, do our math, and get input from health care professionals (or from those who play on on TV).
“Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.”
I’ve read differing opinions on the topic of med school admission. There is one recurring theme, however. Med schools consider both the student’s GPA and the perceived difficulty of their undergraduate program when considering admission. This means that even top notch med schools admit students from a variety of educational backgrounds, prestigious and otherwise.
That being said, it stands to reason that one should comparison shop and find the best value. In other words, the Ivy brand isn’t as important as we’re led to believe.
“You’re the margarine of evil. You’re the Diet Coke of evil. Just one calorie, not evil enough.”
We’re not looking for the one calorie version of premed programs. I’ve been told that Georgia and North Carolina have some great schools. Some smaller Virginia colleges have a great deal to offer as well, and the programs are considered comparable.
Let’s look at comparative tuition:
Emory (GA) – $55,000 yr.
Duke (NC) – $59,000 yr.
Randolph-Macon (VA) – $32,000 yr.
At first glance, Randolph-Macon looks like a promising alternative.
If we use Randolph-Macon as an example, one can estimate that there will be an initial investment of approximately $128,000 dollars. A four year estimate of med school tuition will add approximately $200,000, making the total investment around $328,000.
That’s a large chunk of change. Let’s look at future salary expectations.
According to the bureau of labor statistics, a family physician makes on average around $177,000 per year. But an anesthesiologist can make on average over $300,000. That tells me one very important thing. One should also factor in desired area of expertise. Specialists can expect bigger returns on their investment.
“I didn’t spend six years in Evil Medical School to be called mister, thank you very much.”
What if my student decides half way through the program that he or she doesn’t want to become a doctor? What if he decides to change his major? Have I squandered my investment? I don’t want to spend over $100,000 only to give my kid a set of tow truck keys and a student loan payment book.
I was pleased to learn that Dentists, Pharmacists, and Veterinarians also go through a premed program. This is a degree with flexibility. And they of the professions listed above make pretty good money.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
Here’s the bottom line. A student can receive a premed degree at any number of quality institutions and find him or herself in the med school of their choice, even without an Ivy League pedigree. Get creative. Be open to alternatives. You can go any direction you choose. Really.
[The quotes above come from following famous TV (or movie) doctors: Peter Bergman (Vicks Formula 44 TV commercial), Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Evil (Austin Powers), Dr. Evil (again), and Dr. Seuss]
Richard Rossi is a guest blogger, humor writer and illustrator from North Carolina by way of Syracuse NY. You can find his Childrens books at Amazon.com or Costco.
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Good luck in your search.