my future and which service academy would be the best to follow them

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Theyellowfellow, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. Theyellowfellow

    Theyellowfellow Member

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    okay so im in high school thinking about career choices and i have narrowed down to my top 2 interests which are medicine and engineering

    becoming a doctor is a long haul as it will require 8 years of schooling plus 4 years of residency and only then will you start to make big bucks while paying off that hugeee loan. you will have to work long hours and study like no other. then there are chances of not passing the USMLEs or passing with low grade meaning you cant get a good residency or a residency anwhere in the states. but then again there are pros, once you dedicate those 8-10 years of your life, you will make big bucks, help people along the way ( i think that if i should do something with my life it should be worth it and helping ppl will be worth it) , and live a comfortable life.

    then comes engineering. it requires only 4-5 years of schooling in which GPA is not as big as pre-med. there are many many opportunities for you. you get to travel, life becomes pretty interesting not having to keep your nose in the books all the time, and you can live pretty comfortably and have time to do many other things that doctors will not be able to and you also think out of the box more often. You also have time to start side businesses. then there are cons which is not making the big bucks right at the start. you have to work your way up, and then there are limited jobs which pay good. you are always in the risk of being fired since you have a boss and your life doesnt exactly devote to a good cause such as helping other pepople.

    so i am interested in both
    Which service academy would be the best for either or?
     
  2. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    You don't mention an interest to serve as an officer in the military anywhere in your post, so I'll say none of the service academies is best for you.
     
  3. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Wow
     
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  4. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Yeap not once do you mention the military, SA vs ROTC paths, wanting to serve or what service is best suited for you. Just schooling, money and studying. First off there is a search function on here. There are many many threads about going ROTC or the SA route to medical school. Have you googled this at all? Each SA page has a mention of medical school and how the path can be done. You do realize that if you go the medical route you committed for at least 8 years at the minimum and usually closer to 10-12. Many of the issues you mention about being a Doctor are different when a military doctor. Pay is different, medical school has options, there are many dependencies if you even get selected for this, residency is where the military tells you it is, your specialty is at the needs of the military, you won't spend your early career in your specialty - you would do time as a battaltion/squadron/ship doc too, your commitment is very lengthy. In all honestly if someone is dead set on being a doctor and no other military aspects appeal to them I recommend they don't go this path. The numbers are just not there to support it. There are also many threads related to being an engineer and going through ROTC or a SA. If you study engineering during ROTC or at a SA, it has no bearing for the most part on what you do in the Service. There are a few exceptions. So at a minimum you will be away from engineering for 5 years. Highly recommend you do some research and then ask some more specific questions.
     
  5. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Not to mention, if you go the Med School route through either a SA or ROTC, it will be a long time before you make the "Big Bucks"
     
  6. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    So my recommendation.... don't go into the military.
     
  7. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    yellowfellow, the reactions you're getting are based on the complete incompatibility of your stated goals with those of a service academy. Everyone who's accepted knows that they are committing to the next nine years as the property of Uncle Sam. While it is true that not everyone accepted intends to make a career out of the military, or even WILL make it through those four years and the next five of active duty, you should enter with that in mind. Second, people who enter service academies almost universally cite a desire to serve a purpose greater than themselves alone - rich or poor, genius or average Joe, white, black, Hispanic, Democrat or Republican or Libertarian, man or woman. They go to become something bigger than themselves with other young people who are up to the same thing. With the exception of a passing mention of "helping people along the way," there's little else in your post to assure people that you're in it for anything but you.

    Second big point is that there are very very few slots available for medical school out of the SAs. Someone else can fill you in on the academy-specific slots per year, but my understanding is that in a graduating class of (let's just say) 1000, perhaps 5-10 individuals earn a medical school slot out of USNA. Those 5-10 are at the top of the OOM. They've earned A's in all or almost all of their courses and have excelled militarily. And since the academies do not, as a hard and fast rule, offer every course required for admission to good U.S. medical schools, they've given up their summer leave to take cell biology, anatomy & physiology, genetics, etc. Once someone earns a coveted slot to medical school out of a service academy, they incur not just another five years but up to an additional 10 years of service, plus more if they choose a specialty. If you decide not to chase one of those unicorns during your time at USxA, you still wait five years on active duty before going to med school. (Not that it can't be done - kp2001 has.)

    Finally, as a college professor I must tell you that your storybook ideas of what it means to be a doctor or an engineer are caricatures of reality. Future engineers and doctors work their a**es off in college. They take 18- to 20-credit loads every semester, EVERY semester. They take really hard courses like thermodynamics and organic chemistry and developmental biology and earn A's. They work jobs, they volunteer with the local women's shelter or free clinic or Engineers Without Borders. They look forward to earning good money, and many of them will, but that's not why they choose their professions - the successful ones, at least. They choose their professions because they love the intellectual challenge and they want to make the world a better place, and the money follows. They understand that even as highly-skilled professionals, they could lose their jobs in a blink, and that it's not the boss they really have to worry about - it's the economy, the cycles of business, the rapidly-evolving health-care system in this country, and myriad other things they have NO control over.

    I think that's what we all see is missing from your post about how to decide. If that's not a complete picture of your thinking, maybe you could fill us in so we can all pick our chins up off our desks.
     
  8. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Seriously, I get so damn tired of every kid thinking USMA is where you go to become a doctor.
     
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  9. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Wait....USMA does not stand for United States Medical Academy?
     
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  10. EagleScout13

    EagleScout13 USMA Class of 2017

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    scoutpilot, my class currently has over 70 vying for the 20ish medical school slots. Crazy how competitive it has become in the last 5 years.
     
  11. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Not sure it is any more competitive than before. We had many still at that point. Junior year and then Med school applications is where we lost most.
     
  12. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    don't kid yourself about this projection...it may take another 10+ years working as a doctor before you get anything substantial, much less the "big bucks" and by they time obamacare would have reduced doctors salaries to that of a civil servant. go to a service academy because you want to be an officer foremost and not because you want to be a doctor or an engineer.
     
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  13. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    This is correct and excellent advice.

    This is incorrect in many, many ways and is not good advice.
     
  14. Juvat

    Juvat Member

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    Neither.
     
  15. civic29

    civic29 Member

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    What in seeing is "how can I get free education for being an engineer or doctor"


    2019 WestPoint class appointee

    Recipient of 4 year army rotc scholarship.
     
  16. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    scoutpilot - i am speaking from a direct experience in the medical field and not hearsay or have a political axe to grind. i have been there and done it and still here and i see what is happening around me. ask any practicing doctor about their reimbursements now compared to before. nobody will tell you " wow this is great, i got a lot more this year than i ever have!" we (healthcare people) are seeing where this is going and it is not in a positive direction i'm sorry to say.

    i tell people that if you want to be a doctor because you have the heart for it and truly want to serve, go for it. if you are there for the "big bucks" you might be disappointed. fresh residency graduates that go into practice do not earn the six figure salaries that everyone thinks they will, most start around 70-90k and depending on the specialty, almost half of that will go to malpractice insurance. they will work 3 of 4 weekends of the month, will be on call every other day to every third day and will work all holidays because the senior guys will all give that stuff to the new guy. and depending on how long the next new guy comes along, you might get stuck doing this for a really loooooooong time.

    i stand by my above statements and in 10 years, i would welcome any doctors reading this post to tell me i was wrong.
     
  17. SF1775

    SF1775 Member

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    Say that in any SA interview and it won't matter, because you won't be appointed.
     
  18. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    I'll respectfully tell you you're wrong on two key points:

    1. Not sure what your specialty is but reimbursements are actually much better now in the emergency field. The amount of indigent care of "charity care" rendered is decreasing. Previously, the hospital ate the cost of that care. Why do ERs love the elderly? Because Medicare will actually pay. The best news you can give the ER is that you have insurance.

    2. Fresh residency graduates absolutely make six figures, with the notable exception of many self-practicing GP/primary care (which is a fact that is highly related to the shortage thereof). The idea that the average post-residency salary is "70-90k" is a farce. Below I've listed a short sampling of average first-year placement post-resident salaries for physicians. I've listed the more common specialties, but you're free to view the whole list here: https://www.aamc.org/services/first/first_factsheets/399572/compensation.html

    Anesthesiology $276,000
    Cardiology: Noninvasive $256,250
    Dermatology $358,750
    Emergency Medicine $230,629
    Family Practice (w/OB) $161,000
    Hospitalist: Internal Medicine $200,000
    Infectious Disease $132,500
    Internal Medicine: General $180,000
    Neurology $237,500
    OB/GYN: General $220,000
    Ophthalmology $185,000
    Ortho Surgery: General $419,439
    Pediatrics: General $160,000
    Radiology: Diagnostic $200,000
    Surgery: General $275,000
    Urology $300,000

    I do not, however, dispute your comments about the hours and weekends/holidays. Full disclosure, my spouse is a physician. In her first year she made almost twice the national average for the specialty.
     
  19. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    +10
    and also to any medical school interview and you won't get a second look.
     
  20. kpbaseballmom

    kpbaseballmom Member

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    When my daughter was in Med School, the Army and the Air Force came to try to get some of the students to sign up for the military with the promise of having their tuition paid. After they made their presentations and left, the dean of the med school got up and told the students, that while it's attractive to have their tuition paid for, that the services will control where they go to their residencies. In addition, the dean has to include in his recommendations to residency programs that the med student is a member of the military and may be yanked out of the residency program, if the service branch decides that they need them for something. Yes, it's probably not going to happen that they get yanked, but the prospects of that possibility freaks out the residency programs and often they will not accept the military med school grad (assuming that the grad is not going to the few military hospitals, which have very few residency spots.) This has recently happened to someone I know and it was devastating to a very capable and talented med student. Their choices are then to do a transition year and hope 1. that they get a residency at a military hospital the next year, 2. switch to another speciality that has more spots for residency (but is maybe something you don't want to do) or take a chance reapplying to civilian programs next year with the same language in the dean's letter to the programs. In other words, you will not have nearly as much control over your future as you want and that's after working extremely hard for 8 yrs. before residency. Think about it!
     

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