The Health Insurance Reform Bill was signed into law a year ago. It’s already having an effect on the state of the medical profession. Thanks to some incentives, general practitioners or family doctors, typically the best choices when one is selecting a primary care physician, are becoming attractive jobs. It’s easy to see why, for a long time, early doctors choosing their residencies haven’t been attracted to these jobs.
Graduating from medical school, a student is likely to be in a significant amount of debt. With that in mind, consider the options. The student could choose to focus on family medicine and earn $150,000 to $180,000 or choose a specialization and earn twice that amount. The choice from a financial perspective is obvious. While many young people decide to become doctors not because of the salary, the financial reality is hard to ignore.
Choosing a high-paying first job can set the pattern for earning a higher income throughout your life. Many people believe that they will take a high-paying job first, until they pay off debt and become financially comfortable, and then shift gears to a lower-paying job about which they’re passionate, fulfills a deeper need, or provides meaning to their lives. That shift, if it ever happens, will often come later than they expected. Meanwhile, on average, those who choose the lower paying job out of school are often doomed to earn less than they could have throughout their entire lives.
For those who are taking the government’s incentives as the factor that tipped the scales in favor of general practice, and the number of those swayed must be significant considering the increase of family practice residencies this past year, there could be danger. Lawmakers are considering parts of the health insurance reform law.
How should money influence your career choice or initial job choice within a career?
Published or updated March 24, 2011.