A 34-year-old attorney writes I have a good salary, am married, and have two children. My whole life I've been drawn to medicine (I'm an EMT, have experience on the job with trauma related injuries, etc.) and have always enjoyed it. However, I have a Bachelor's in English literature, so I've always put it as unattainable to become a doctor. Now, once again, I'm considering doing one of the post bac premed programs out there and going for it.
Am I insane? At my age, I'll likely be 41-42 by the time I'd complete medical school, then residency. I'd love your opinion.
Let's do some math. You are 34. Most post bac premed programs take at least a year if you go to school full-time. Assuming you can get into a program this summer, you will be applying to medical school for a class starting in the fall of 2017. You will be 36 years old when you start.
Four years of medical school plus five years of general surgery residency and you will be 45 years old. If you want to take a fellowship in something for a year or two, add those years on.
What are you going to do for income while you are pursuing your medical degree? And let's not forget the tuition cost of the post bac program and medical school, living expenses, and your paltry salary for the 5 years of your residency.
I wrote a post about this four years ago. It was about a then 30-year-old man did not get into medical school until 2014 which means he is now in the middle of his first year at the age of 34.
My discussion of the "cons" of doing this is much more expansive in that post. Just remember that tuition costs have risen much faster than inflation and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
I can't tell you not to do it and it certainly has been done by others, but I strongly advise you to give it a lot of thought.
He replies Thanks for the response. Unfortunately, you paint the bleak reality I was afraid of. As I likely won't make cutoffs for the good post bac programs this year, you'd have to add another year to the equation.
What if I went for a less rigorous residency like emergency medicine? Or what if I consider having the military pay for medical school?
Does this change anything? Your post is so bleak, it definitely gives pause.
The family issue is a tough one. I'm fortunate to have about $200k in liquid assets, but it's still a big financial hardship.
$200K might just about cover your tuition for the post bac year and 4 years of med school.
Yes, emergency medicine will save you a couple of years, but it is very competitive.
Remember one thing about the military. Once you are in, they own you. They can send you to remote bases in the states, Afghanistan, or wherever they want. You cannot believe anything they tell about your ability to choose an assignment.
Readers, please comment if you agree or disagree.