Have you been asking yourself, “Is a career in medicine right for me?” Choosing your career path is an important decision and not one to be taken lightly. Most doctors choose medicine as a career because they want to help people and positively impact their lives. You, too, can make a difference by investing your skills, intelligence, and passion in helping others through healthcare. But not everyone is up to the challenge.
To help you understand if you have what it takes and are prepared for the hard work ahead, we’ve put together everything you need to know if you’re considering a career in medicine. Find out what makes a good doctor, the benefits of a career in medicine, and the most in-demand medical specialties in the US.
Is medical school the right choice for me?
Going to medical school is a huge and potentially life-changing decision. You’ll only really know if an MD program is the right choice once you experience it yourself.
Make an informed decision about it beforehand. Knowing yourself and the demands of medical school will help you determine whether it is the right route. Thinking about your goals, passions, interests, values, and personalities will help you gain clarity and perspective on yourself and your abilities. While many students want to become doctors, many have little knowledge of what it takes to become a physician and what’s involved in practicing medicine. That’s why you must do your homework and find out what you’ll be committing to when you start medical school.
Speak to those in the profession
If you can, try to speak to as many doctors and medical students as possible to learn firsthand about their medical school experience, including the ups and downs.
Research the medical school program
You should take an in-depth look at the medicine program content of the school you’re considering applying to so you can know what you’re setting yourself up for. It’s also a good idea to do some volunteer work or gain some work experience in a medical setting to give you a general understanding of what a career in medicine involves.
Think about you
When choosing the right school, you must make the right choice for yourself. Don’t let other things influence your decision, such as what others think you should or shouldn’t do or what your friends are planning to do. After all, it’s your career, and you are the best person to decide what career path you are most suited to pursue.
Understand it’s not just a study program, but a vocation
For a program like medicine, you need to focus on the program itself and keep the career at the end of it in mind. Many consider medicine a vocation, so make sure that what interests you is the career afterward, not just the program. Can you picture yourself working as a doctor in 20, 40, or even 50 years? If you can, then medicine could be the right career for you.
The traits of a good physician
Being a great doctor takes more than just high scores in exams and being able to recite basic science terminology. A great doctor also needs to have several positive personal traits. Here are just some of the essential qualities of a good physician:
- Good communicators
- Organized and conscientious
- Empathetic and can make patients feel cared for
- Curious and lifelong learners
- Good collaborators
- Advocates for their patients
- Leadership abilities
- Creative thinkers
- Desire to learn and teach
The benefits of a career in medicine
A career in medicine is undoubtedly challenging and demanding. But there are also many benefits to working in medicine.
Incredibly satisfying career
If you are passionate about learning, medicine is one of the best career paths you can pursue. Medical school is only the start of your education in medicine. Doctors with decades of experience in medicine behind them will still frequently encounter evolving technologies, unique situations, and new treatments. Medicine offers one of the most challenging and intellectually satisfying fields you can find.
Great job security
Certain job roles have become obsolete in recent years as technology has come on leaps and bounds. But doctors are rarely concerned about staying relevant and their job security.
Good salary and benefits
There aren’t many careers that require you to undertake such extensive training before you can practice medicine. That experience means that doctors are among the most generously compensated professions and are often listed among the 20 highest-paid occupations by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average annual salary of a doctor in the U.S. is $208,000, and many are also entitled to benefits such as life and health insurance, vacations, and vision care.
Make a difference every day
For many doctors, the biggest benefit of working in medicine is the ability to impact people’s lives positively each day. A doctor knows they will make a positive difference every day they go to work.
Diverse options for specializations
The medical field offers multiple career opportunities, including allergy and immunology, emergency medicine, neurology, pathology, pediatrics, preventative medicine, surgery, and psychiatry.
Exciting and never boring
Working in medicine is fast-paced and offers a huge amount of variety. Whatever area of medicine you specialize in, no two days are the same, and you’ll find yourself facing new challenges every day.
In-demand physicians in the U.S.
While all types of physicians are required to care for people’s health, some specialties in the US are in high demand. The top 10 in-demand physicians at the moment are:
- Family Medicine: Physicians working in family medicine care for patients of all ages, from newborns to geriatrics.
- Cardiology: Cardiologists specialize in the cardiovascular system, including the heart and blood vessels.
- Dermatology: Dermatologists specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases of the skin, nails, and hair.
- Gastroenterology: Gastroenterologists diagnose and treat diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, including gastroesophageal reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, nutritional problems, pancreatitis, cancer, colitis, and colon polyps.
- Internal Medicine: Internists or internal medicine physicians diagnose and treat various illnesses, including adults with complex medical problems and ongoing chronic illnesses, and provide preventive care.
- Neurology: Neurologists diagnose and treat brain and nervous system disorders. They frequently deal with patients suffering from concussion, epilepsy, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.
- Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health: In obstetrics, gynecology, and women’s health, physicians deliver surgical and medical care related to the female reproductive system.
- Orthopedic Surgery: Surgeons working in orthopedics diagnose and treat disorders and injuries of the joints, bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
- Psychiatry: Psychiatrists specialize in mental health and assess various psychological issues’ physical and mental aspects.
- Pulmonary medicine/critical care: Pulmonary medicine and critical care is an area of emergency medicine where physicians work with patients suffering from diseases and injuries of the pulmonary or respiratory system, such as the diaphragm, trachea, and lungs.
Ask any doctor or medical student, and they will tell you that medical school is demanding and challenging. They’ll also tell you that it is the foundation of a highly rewarding and exhilarating career that provides you with a way to make a difference in people’s lives. If you’re ready to start your journey toward a career in medicine, contact the Medical University of the Americas today to learn more about our MD program and how to apply.