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How would I choose between being a engineer and being a doctor if im most likely going to be doing engineer in high school ?

I'm most likely going to do a engineering class in high school.

Thank you comment icon Those two careers are as far apart as being an electrician vs being an astronomer. What I mean is, don't let those differences trouble you. Since you will be taking an engineering class, that might influence you towards being an engineer. My suggestion is to absorb the education, but make no attempt at a decision. Your exposure to being a doctor probably will not come in-depth until at least your junior year in college, and that HS engineering class will be just a memory. You will see many options between now and then, and by your sophomore year, you may have changed your priorities completely. I respect that there is social pressure in HS to make career decisions, but don't let that pressure you this early. Just enjoy the exposure to multiple careers . You're in an exciting part of defining careers: many options ahead and several years to make decisions. This is all in your favor. I wish you the best. david kirk

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James Constantine’s Answer

Hi there, Caden!

Deciding whether to pursue a career as an engineer or a doctor is a big deal, and it's important to think about it carefully. Both paths have their own unique challenges, opportunities, and rewards, and it can be tricky to choose between them. Here are some things to think about to help you make the best decision for you:

What do you love? Think about what you're passionate about. Engineers usually work on designing, building, and keeping up systems, structures, or products. If you love math, physics, problem-solving, and coming up with new ideas, you might enjoy being an engineer. But if you're really into biology, medicine, taking care of patients, and making a difference in people's lives, you might be happier as a doctor.

What are you good at? Take a look at your skills and strengths. Engineers need to be good at analyzing things, understanding technical stuff, and thinking creatively to solve tough problems. If you're great at math, physics, and computer science, those are all useful skills for an engineer. On the other hand, doctors need to be good with people, empathetic, detail-oriented, and able to handle pressure. If you have a knack for understanding how the body works, you might be a good fit for a career in medicine.

What kind of education do you need? Think about the schooling for each job. Engineers usually need a bachelor's degree in engineering or something similar. Some engineers also get advanced degrees or professional certifications. Doctors need a bachelor's degree with certain pre-med courses, then they go to medical school for four more years. After that, they do residency training in their chosen specialty, which can take anywhere from three to seven years or even longer.

Where do you want to work? Consider the kind of work environment you'd like. Engineers can work in all sorts of places, like offices, labs, construction sites, or factories. They often work with teams to bring projects to life. Doctors work in hospitals, clinics, private practices, or research institutions. They spend a lot of time with patients and other healthcare professionals, and they always have to keep up with the latest medical research.

What kind of impact do you want to make? Think about how you want to contribute to the world. Engineers can make a big difference by coming up with innovative solutions to technical problems in fields like aerospace, civil infrastructure, environmental sustainability, and technology development. Doctors can improve people's health and well-being through diagnosing and treating illnesses, providing preventive care, advancing medical research, and promoting public health.

What kind of lifestyle do you want? Consider the lifestyle that comes with each job. Engineers often have more regular work hours, although they might have to meet project deadlines or travel for work. Doctors often work long hours, including evenings and weekends, and they might have to be on call for emergencies.

In the end, whether you choose to be an engineer or a doctor should align with your personal values, long-term goals, and vision for your future career. It's a good idea to explore both fields through internships, shadowing experiences, and informational interviews with professionals to get a real feel for what each job is like.

In conclusion, think carefully about your interests, skills, educational requirements, work environments, potential impact, lifestyle considerations, and personal values when making this important decision.

For more information, check out these resources:

National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) - nspe.org
Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) - aamc.org
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) - bls.gov

May you be blessed in your journey!
James Constantine Frangos.
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Karin’s Answer

Hi Caden,

that high-school engineering class should not determine your future. You have many years of training in front of you and 2 exciting careers to choose from.

The good thing about the engineering class is that you'll get a taste how much you like engineering. Maybe try to get some kind of internship in a hospital over the summer so you get a taste of medicine as well. Medical experience will also help your application to medical school.

Don't let your experience in the engineering class influence you too much though as there are many different flavors of engineering. If you don't like mechanical maybe you like chemical or electronic engineering, and vice versa.

Between those 2 careers that are very different, I would consider:

- A medical career requires biology, chemistry, less physics. A mechanical engineer needs a lot of math and physics, less chemistry. A chemical engineer on the other hand requires chemistry. Where are your strengths?

- How much do I really like to work with people? Communication is of course important in any field, but for a doctor good bedside manners, communication and empathy are critical to be a good doctor.

- How well do I deal with seeing people suffer and potentially die? Being a doctor can be mentally very taxing.

- How well do I deal with "icky stuff", i.e. copious amounts of blood, all kinds of other bodily fluids, bad injuries etc?

Other considerations:

- Engineering is a 4-year degree to earn a bachelors and that makes you employable. You don't necessarily have to go on to earn a Masters or doctorate (you can, of course). Medical school will take 10 to 12 years. You'll have 4 years pre-med, 4 years medical school, plus 3 to 5 years residency.

Another idea: you could decide to combine the 2 interests, become an engineer (mechanical or chemical) and look for employment where you develop medical devices like e.g. imaging devices or sensors or develop new improved prosthetics. That way you'll be an engineer who works in the medical field.

Good luck!

KP
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Emeka’s Answer

Absolutely, you can pursue engineering at the undergraduate level while also completing the necessary prerequisites for Medicine like biology, microbiology, and so forth. If your passion for becoming a doctor remains strong, you can then take your MCAT exam and apply to medical school. You truly have the potential to accomplish both!

Consider earning your engineering degree first and then advancing to medical school. With the swift integration of Artificial Intelligence in various fields, it's anticipated that these technical skills will likely become invaluable in the medical field. So, go ahead and seize this opportunity!
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Steven’s Answer

I agree that it's way too early to make a decision. At this point in your education, it's important to be exposed to as many fields and potential career paths as possible.
As far as these two fields go, I think a lot of the problem for students plotting their path is that most people have a too-narrow vision of what the fields are apart. As Karin points out, there are many healthcare fields that can utilize skills picked up elsewhere--as with training in engineering. When people think of medicine, most think primarily of doctors being clinicians involved in direct patient care. But plenty of doctors are involved in hospital management, in the insurance and legal fields, and in pharmaceutical research. And neither of your proposed fields would prevent you moving into related and even unrelated fields; I personally know someone trained as a civil engineer who owns a chain of bicycle shops!
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Noopur’s Answer

It depends what you are most interested in. Talk to any engineers or doctors about how they feel about their job and how they decided.
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Madison’s Answer

Consider shadowing local professionals in both fields in your area! This might help you see more first hand what the daily job looks like and how you might enjoy or not enjoy them. This can also help establish a mentor in that field who could also help guide you and answer questions. Many local doctors are happy to have students shadow them and usually calling their offices and asking you may have to call many but most of the time someone will say yes and you can shadow them. You can also make a list of pros/cons of each field. You also still have a lot of time even through college so do not feel pressured to pick a career yet. You can 100% still explore both and other careers at this stage of life and change your mind anytime!
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