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Riceman

switching to medical field?

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I just graduated and working for an consulting firm. The pay sucks, I work 10+ hrs a day sometimes weekend. I'm not sure if this is something I want to do for the rest of my life. I'm a masters student, I'm thinking about taking a few chemistry classes and apply to dental or medical school. Please share if you know anyone has done that, or any advise.

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You must REALLY like school if you are planning on making that switch. You're talking about at least 3 years of med school (if you currently meet pre-reqs), plus several years of residency before you are ever a full-fledged doctor. Dentistry would be a little less than that, but not much.

Then, once you get out, you'll have to deal with the aftermath of Obama-care. I would advise against it unless you are really passionate about medicine. I absolutely advise against it just for the bump in pay.

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A couple things to consider: Every fresh graduate needs to pay his dues. Engineers who don't work their ass off the first 4-5 years of their career are at a disadvantage compared to someone who finds a cushy job fresh out of school. If you work hard, get your PE, you should be able to get yourself into a better job eventually. Plus, every day of experience you gain makes you more efficient. Things that take you a week to accomplish now may take only a few hours later in your career. You need to just accept the fact that you are going to be working very hard for several years to get up to speed. That's the whole idea behind the P.E. licensing model, and why we don't spend 3 more years in school like Doctors do. We earn our credentials on the job.

Of course, the consulting business is not known for life-friendly working hours, so you will probably be facing more than 40 hour weeks for the rest of your career anyway if you stay in it, but if you do well and earn some experience, you may be able to find a cushier job in a related industry such as government.

On the other hand, if you have a deep desire to become a medical professional, now is the time to do it, while you're still young. But like wilheld said, don't do it just for the money. You will find yourself just as stressed out, if not more, and in a world of debt by the time you graduate. "Obama-care" is not all that bad, though, as it includes hundreds of new opportunities to pay off medical school loans through service in under-served populations, etc.

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I think unless you had a "cool" medical job like surgery or coming up with new ways to fix stuff I think 85% of Doctors actually hate what they do, all day long little johnny with a cough coming in to see you, I imagine after 6 months of that I would go back to my cubicle....

My brother in law AND his wife are doctors, I beleive they actually hate their patients (clients) and what they do, but they do make a nice living and take lots and lots of time off so maybe its not all that bad, but I just wouldnt enjoy it..

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A couple things to consider: Every fresh graduate needs to pay his dues. Engineers who don't work their ass off the first 4-5 years of their career are at a disadvantage compared to someone who finds a cushy job fresh out of school. If you work hard, get your PE, you should be able to get yourself into a better job eventually. Plus, every day of experience you gain makes you more efficient. Things that take you a week to accomplish now may take only a few hours later in your career. You need to just accept the fact that you are going to be working very hard for several years to get up to speed. That's the whole idea behind the P.E. licensing model, and why we don't spend 3 more years in school like Doctors do. We earn our credentials on the job.

Of course, the consulting business is not known for life-friendly working hours, so you will probably be facing more than 40 hour weeks for the rest of your career anyway if you stay in it, but if you do well and earn some experience, you may be able to find a cushier job in a related industry such as government.

On the other hand, if you have a deep desire to become a medical professional, now is the time to do it, while you're still young. But like wilheld said, don't do it just for the money. You will find yourself just as stressed out, if not more, and in a world of debt by the time you graduate. "Obama-care" is not all that bad, though, as it includes hundreds of new opportunities to pay off medical school loans through service in under-served populations, etc.

I think unless you had a "cool" medical job like surgery or coming up with new ways to fix stuff I think 85% of Doctors actually hate what they do, all day long little johnny with a cough coming in to see you, I imagine after 6 months of that I would go back to my cubicle....

My brother in law AND his wife are doctors, I beleive they actually hate their patients (clients) and what they do, but they do make a nice living and take lots and lots of time off so maybe its not all that bad, but I just wouldnt enjoy it..

I'd listen to them.,..they're pre-med.

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I thought they were pre-law?

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Is there a difference?

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Riceman,

I have been looking at doing this for the last year or so. I really don't like what I'm doing all that much anymore but I determined that ultimately, to get into a specialty in medicine that I would enjoy, I would be looking at an additional 4 years of medical school, plus 3 years of residency, plus 3 to 5 years of fellowship. Plus a year or two to get prereqs and get accepted into medical school. At that point I'd be 44, have a huge load of debt from not earning a decent income for 12 years, and my kids would be going to college by the time I had a decent schedule/income. Ultimately I concluded it wasn't worth it. I still find myself wishing I had followed through with my plan to go to medical school when I was in college.

That being said, don't do what I did and get stuck in a job you don't like and look back on it 8 years after you graduate college and find yourself in my position saying "I wish.." or "I should have...". I think from a career satisfaction standpoint, being a doctor would be far above anything I will ever experience in engineering. However, the hours suck, much worse than what you're doing right now, and the quality of life is pretty bad as a result. One of my best friends/fraternity brothers is in his cardiology fellowship right now. I find myself somewhat envious of him some times, but we don't get to hang out all that often because he works 70 hours a week.

I have a younger brother that is 12 years younger than me that is getting his chemical engineering degree right now. I told him to get his Chem E degree but go to medical school. I think that's the direction he's heading.

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Thank you everyone for the response. I look around in my firm, and see registered SE's with 10 years of experience making 70k a year, while putting in 50+ hrs a week, the principal nets 110k a year, and drives a camry. personally I have bigger aspirations than that. The work I do is moderately interesting(residential and industrial projects), but I also deal with bad building owners, architects a lot.

Chucktown PE, what you said really stroked home for me. I intend to study dentistry, maybe become a orthodontist. I'm 24 now, not a lot of commitment, I think it's the right time make a career change.

However, I'm a structural engineering grad student at a top university, should I finish my masters degree or completely forfeit that and take all the pre med/dental classes?

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Thank you everyone for the response. I look around in my firm, and see registered SE's with 10 years of experience making 70k a year, while putting in 50+ hrs a week, the principal nets 110k a year, and drives a camry. personally I have bigger aspirations than that. The work I do is moderately interesting(residential and industrial projects), but I also deal with bad building owners, architects a lot.

Chucktown PE, what you said really stroked home for me. I intend to study dentistry, maybe become a orthodontist. I'm 24 now, not a lot of commitment, I think it's the right time make a career change.

However, I'm a structural engineering grad student at a top university, should I finish my masters degree or completely forfeit that and take all the pre med/dental classes?

Structural Engineer making 70k with 10yrs experience?

Principal making 110k?

I do not believe that either you or we are getting acurate information. It may just be a matter of moving to a better area of the country. What are the benifits like? Do they get vacation time? There is much more to a compensation package than a yearly salary.

just sounds a little fishy...

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project engineers actually make 75k. no OT pay, 2 weeks off a year, we're a 23 man firm and only 2 of the assoiates are in the profit sharing plan. End of year bonus is usually a few thousand dollars. Please tell me, what should a PE with 5 years of experience make, what about SE with 10 yrs of experience in California?

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Chucktown PE, what you said really stroked home for me. I intend to study dentistry, maybe become a orthodontist. I'm 24 now, not a lot of commitment, I think it's the right time make a career change.

However, I'm a structural engineering grad student at a top university, should I finish my masters degree or completely forfeit that and take all the pre med/dental classes?

Okay, let me just say this - it strikes me if you had a real desire to be a dentist, not just a notion, you wouldn't need to ask that question here. You'd quit the SE program and get started.

Why do you think you want to be an orthodontist? What is it about being an orthodontist that appeals to you? Having had braces as a kid, having a kid with braces, numerous dentist friends and a sister who is a dental hygenist, I can't imagine a worse job. Why a dentist and not a doctor or pharmacist or college professor?

Nobody should change to a career merely because they have some vague ideea that it is prestigious and well paid, and certainly not merely because they don't like what they are doing. Dentistry is a major commitment. You'll be around 30 and probably in big debt by the time you're done. You should want to be a dentist for a real reason, and you should know you have an aptitude for it.

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project engineers actually make 75k. no OT pay, 2 weeks off a year, we're a 23 man firm and only 2 of the assoiates are in the profit sharing plan. End of year bonus is usually a few thousand dollars. Please tell me, what should a PE with 5 years of experience make, what about SE with 10 yrs of experience in California?

If you're living in a town near a top university, the only places I can think of would be LA or SF (maybe SLO), and yes that's really low for that many years experience. I work for the state and licensed engineers make around 105K after five years. And that's based on pay parity tables, so it's probably low.

I suppose if you were going to Davis that might be a reasonable salary for that area, but still pretty low after 10 years.

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Thanks Benbo, most of my work consists of designing seismic anchorages for large equipments and residential buildings, I find very little satisfaction in doing that, the "design" are done by softwares, I find the work quite tedious and not challenging. I go to Stanford, the job market is too volatile, only 5 of my classmates graduated from Berkeley last year got job offers, many of whom are looking for jobs in New Zealand. the firm I'm at fired 8 people this past year. I do enjoy classroom settings and some of the advance topics in structural engineering, but teaching jobs are very competitive, it's all about who brings in the research money. I've had braces before, and I like working with kids, there's a reason why medical field continued to grow despite the recession. Thanks everyone for your inputs, I respect all of your opinions, I'll finish my degree and continue practicing while taking pre-dental/med classes, I'll re evaluate my options again in a year or two.

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Thanks Benbo, most of my work consists of designing seismic anchorages for large equipments and residential buildings, I find very little satisfaction in doing that, the "design" are done by softwares, I find the work quite tedious and not challenging. I go to Stanford, the job market is too volatile, only 5 of my classmates graduated from Berkeley last year got job offers, many of whom are looking for jobs in New Zealand. the firm I'm at fired 8 people this past year. I do enjoy classroom settings and some of the advance topics in structural engineering, but teaching jobs are very competitive, it's all about who brings in the research money. I've had braces before, and I like working with kids, there's a reason why medical field continued to grow despite the recession. Thanks everyone for your inputs, I respect all of your opinions, I'll finish my degree and continue practicing while taking pre-dental/med classes, I'll re evaluate my options again in a year or two.

That sounds like a good plan.

Frankly, with degrees from Berkeley and Stanford, if the economy starts turning around at all, you should be able to get a good job.

Of course, I hope you're not taking out loans to finance all of that Stanford education.

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Those numbers must have really gone up over the years, because I knew several aerospace and petroleum engineers who didn't make anywhere near those numbers as a recent grad.

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I don't buy those numbers for an instant. Colleges really overinflate their grads' starting salaries to make themselves look attractive.

My college swore students in our dept would start out making $50k. In reality, we were lucky to get $40k.

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project engineers actually make 75k. no OT pay, 2 weeks off a year, we're a 23 man firm and only 2 of the assoiates are in the profit sharing plan. End of year bonus is usually a few thousand dollars. Please tell me, what should a PE with 5 years of experience make, what about SE with 10 yrs of experience in California?

That is extremely low. You need to find a new place to work ASAP. I work for a multinational and we have an office in Walnut Creek. I farmed some structural work out on one of my projects to a guy out there and his salary is about $125k. He might have 10 years of experience. That salary doesn't include bonuses or additional benefits like profit sharing.

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I was thinking $75k for someone at a small firm with ~10 years experience sounded about right.

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I was thinking $75k for someone at a small firm with ~10 years experience sounded about right.

No way that is right for Cali or anywhere in the northeast.

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I was thinking $75k for someone at a small firm with ~10 years experience sounded about right.

No way that is right for Cali or anywhere in the northeast.

THe California engineers union conducted pay parity salary surveys to determine the median salary for pay parity raises. This was a serious survey based on real data across public and private industry because real wages are based on it.

http://www.pecg.org/Members/MOU/salaries.htm

As of now, Associate Struc Engineers (basically means you have a license - you could technically earn this much 2 years out of school, certainly at 5 years) earn $8379 a month. After 10 years, a lot of Struc Engs will become seniors or principals. Seniors top at 10, 379 a month, principals at $10,826. THe salaries are similar for every type of engineer.

Entry level, often called "Range A" is $5334 a month.

So this is about the median in CA. If you live in Sacramento it's pretty good pay. In SF it's subsistence level.

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Dang I need to move to cali, problem is you have to watch out for the cost of living. I desperatly need a new job but even though thoes wages look good im simply not seeing very many openings, of course im not in touch with the cali market only Alaska and there is not much going on up here, I hope things pick up. I make 4k a month with 5 years and a PE in chemcial engineering after taxes, so I guess are we talking before or after taxes.

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I make 4k a month with 5 years and a PE in chemcial engineering after taxes, so I guess are we talking before or after taxes.

Interesting. Your profile discipline says Civil Enigeering. Tell us more about that crossover.

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Wow, I never expected ironman to return after we discovered his true identity.

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