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Which path to take: medicine or actuarial science?

by Maurice7510
Tags: actuarial, medicine, path, science
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Jul22-11, 01:09 PM
P: 163
Don't become a physician for the money. You will find yourself miserable and you will hate your career. If you aren't personally and professionally fulfilled by the 11 hours you spend every day in the clinic then all the money in the world won't make it a worthwhile career path for you.

If you think being a physician is waking up, going through some motions for 8 hours per day and then driving home with a fat paycheck...think again. The money can be good, but being a physician requires MANY personal sacrifices.
Jul22-11, 03:17 PM
P: 492
I just can't imagine why you would bring it down to these two careers. There are other careers that pay very well that don't require as much effort yet can yield very positive outcomes. For instance, if you decide to get an M.S. in systems/software engineering, computer science, or electrical engineering, you could get to be very useful to a lot of people. I mention those fields because your education as a mathematics major wouldn't require you to backtrack too much to cover some of the fundamentals, and if you're willing to take some classes now you could make a seamless transition. If you take those skills and get a security clearance, you could be making some really good money. If you're a math major, I would assume that you like math and enjoy it. Practical applications of math can be lucrative as well as let you do the things you love. I can understand actuarial science, but why medical school?
Jul22-11, 06:56 PM
P: 1,088
Quote Quote by Maurice7510 View Post
I just want the greatest payoff, with the least risk of unemployment.
There's no such thing. A basic tenet of economics says that you can get the most X with a certain degree of Y, or a certain amount of X with the least Y. So you have to define what you want first, and then go from there. The "best buy" namely only exists when you know what you're out for in more concrete terms.
Jul23-11, 05:36 AM
P: 26
I think that perhaps Locrian is right; I'll try to rework my question. I know I want to make a lot of money, and I know there can be a lot of money in both actuarial science and medicine. I really enjoy math and physics, but I've also enjoyed the other sciences since I was young, and deeply regret not taking chem or much bio in highschool. To also incorporate hadsed's comment, I have considered those, but comp sci isn't exactly my thing, and if there's one thing I abhor about physics, it was pretty much any unit involving electricity. Thus, I have narrowed it down to doctor or actuary, and my real and initial question is which will I enjoy more, though I recognize that it would be impossible for anyone to actually answer. I understand that neither job is a walk in the park, and that both require a lot of work to even get into, which is why I'm trying to work out the kinks before I make that big of a commitment. In response to Ryker, I think that both jobs would pay well, so maybe it's just the risk of unemployment I'm concerned about. But perhaps I'll ask this question: should I take classes in organic and inorganic chem and bio or would it be a waste of time?
Aug3-11, 04:17 AM
P: 26
new plan: maybe switch into physics, because goddamn I love physics, and also take chem and bio. good plan?
Aug3-11, 05:48 AM
P: 4,573
Quote Quote by Maurice7510 View Post
new plan: maybe switch into physics, because goddamn I love physics, and also take chem and bio. good plan?
I think you should be a bit flexible before you jump into any one of those fields including medicine, actuary, or science. They all require very large commitments if you want to do any of them well, and as such you need to know what you are getting into.

Based on what you have said, I would do a science degree base and then use your experience in that to be more specific so that you can choose a major.

Medicine and physics require lab components in different areas, so maybe you could do a science concentration with something like physics, chemistry, math, and biology corresponding to medicine pre-requisites and physics. If you don't like science, but want to try math/stats, then as long as you do your standard first year calculus stream, you should be able to (if your program is like mine) be able to pick up an introductory stats stream, and other appropriate math subjects.

My advice (and this based on my own learning through mistakes) is to find something specific and stick with it at least until you get your bachelors. You can decide in your second year but try and make a decision by then so that at least when you finish you have something to help you when you do further study. Chances are you will be in something you have a decent interest in, so this makes transitions to similar fields more palette-able.

Use your first year wisely to help you choose. I remember going through all kinds of subjects from biology to accounting to get a taste of what I was going to stick to and I'm glad I did. I even did a teaching prac in a high school and that was a great learning experience.

Good luck to you, and I say that sincerely because your situation reminds me of myself years ago.
Aug6-11, 12:03 AM
P: 1
It seems a little twisted that seemingly the only reason you want to be a doctor is for the money. Being a doctor requires empathy, warmth and care, and if you're not considering the profession at least partially due to a desire to help people you probably wont provide the care to your patients that they deserve. Become an actuary.
Aug10-11, 01:40 PM
P: 26
I enjoy the sciences; being a doctor would still be enjoyable. I'm not a big fan of people, but you have to deal with people in almost every profession. I think it would be an interesting job.
Aug10-11, 08:34 PM
P: 4,573
Quote Quote by Maurice7510 View Post
I enjoy the sciences; being a doctor would still be enjoyable. I'm not a big fan of people, but you have to deal with people in almost every profession. I think it would be an interesting job.
If that is the case, I would recommend you not become a doctor and become an actuary instead.

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