Economics to Medicine

Hello everyone,

I need your advice. I’m on the verge of changing my career. I have a Masters degree in Economics(3.73 GPA). I have a potential of making +100K within few years. But being a surgeon has always been my dream for as long as I can remember. My heart tells me that it is time to purse my dream but I am having a hard time figuring out if it is a wise and attainable goal.

I am 30 years old. I did my bachelor’s in economics(3.25 GPA) in a foreign country. I don’t have any volunteering/shadowing experience at the moment. The last time I took biology is in high school. I was good at it then but I feel like graduate school developed my critical thinking skill much more than regurgitating vast information. I am not married. Is it wise to start from the scratch given my situation? Please help before I make a costly mistake. I would appreciate if you give my advice on how to get started as well.

To answer one of part of your question, if pursuing medicine is an “attainable goal”, I would say, yes. You have already admitted that being a surgeon has been a “dream for as long as” you can remember. The drive and dream is already there.

To fulfill that desire, you would have to take the basic sciences, if you have not already done so, get some health care exposure and experience, study for and take the MCAT, get letters of recommendation, submit an application, and hope for the best. Prior scholastic endeavors, your age and marital status should not work against you, and may actually provide you the time and freedom to do embark on this path.

But to answer the other part of that question, if it is “wise”: You mention that you could be “making +100K within a few years” and worry that pursuing medicine might be a “costly mistake.” If going into medicine to make money is important or the cost of trying to get into medical school a deterrent for you, then I would say, maybe or perhaps, no to going to medical school. Far too many premeds already go into medicine for the meoney and status. We need more people going into medicine for the passion and not the pay.

Just my two cents, here.

Because your undergrad is from a non-US accredited institution, your past education may be an additional hurdle in your application process. Do some research to see which schools you’re interested in require undergrad work to be from a US/Canadian regionally accredited institution. Some schools specifically mention the requirement, some offer caveats if you attended a foreign university, and other schools don’t mention the accreditation requirement (doesn’t mean they don’t have one).

I am totally unfamiliar with the educational prerequisites for Carib/other foreign (non-US) medical schools.

Not trying to put a damper on your goal, just letting you know.

Thank you for your support and helpful advice. I have the passion but lack of support and understanding from friends makes me doubt if I am doing the right thing sometimes, to be honest.

I totally agree that medicine should not be pursued just for the sake of earning big money. If I decide to dedicate the next decade of my life to become a doctor at the age of 30, it should definitely be for a higher purpose than getting rich. My current career will allow me to live comfortably without extensive effort. So I am not after the money. I am most interested in the contribution to society factor. But I am a little worried about the debt I will accumulate over the years and if I could pay it off before I retire. I assume most med students accumulate debt so this problem should not be peculiar to me, right?

Again, thank you for your help!

Thank you for your reply!

I wanna set realistic goals and understand fully what obstacles I should expect along the way. So I appreciate your honest response.

I hope my masters from a US university counts to something even if it is in economics Do think it will undermine my med school acceptance if I take premed certificate program at a community college instead of bachelors in science field?

Welcome to OPM!

Yes, we are all (unfortunately) accumulating debt … it’s pretty unavoidable, at least until some major medical school education overhaul occurs. But that’s not likely in the near future

kennymac is exactly right about the bachelor’s degree issue–many medical schools require a bachelor’s from a U.S. school, or a minimum number of undergraduate credit hours from a U.S. school. As he said, you should really look into that as a first step. Then at that point, you can look into the courses you should take (General Biology, General Chemistry, etc.).

Also, be aware that surgery is a very competitive specialty. If you are completely tied to doing ONLY surgery, you may wind up being disappointed in the end. It’s very important to go into medicine being open minded about your choice of specialty. You may find yourself interested in something else, or simply not have the board scores to get the surgical residency. This is not to be a downer, just to be realistic.

Hope this helps.

Hey there,

I find your situation very similar to mine. BS in Finance working with earning potential of 100k+ within the next few years, however, a burning desire within to become a physician.

I think it’s not uncommon for finance,econ,accounting majors to think about opportunity cost when it comes to making a career decision to join medicine. You will be told over and over again that if you want to switch to medicine, money should not be a reason, but at the same time it will always be a factor. We are potentially giving up future earnings, a stable relationship, children, and more in our endeavor to pursue medicine. Your note about being a graduate from overseas may cause you additional hurdles into american schools, not to mention you may also need to enroll in a post-bacc program to fulfill science requirements.

The other option is to consider PA. It is a middle ground between becoming a physician, however, if you are someone that wants to be at the top of their industry, you may have reservations as well.

There is truly a lot to consider, and I suggest you take as much time as you need. Non-trad into med school is not a race, it is a well calculated marathon. I’ve been debating over the last 2 years and I’m still not 100% decided yet.

Feel free to PM me if you want to talk.