What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Becoming a Doctor?

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One of the primary benefits of becoming a doctor is high pay. While pay varies by the type of doctor, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that as of May 2013, the average annual pay is $183,940 for family and general practitioners. A primary drawback is the pressure to perform. MomMD notes that doctors spend heavily on malpractice insurance to protect against lawsuit risks from dissatisfied patients or family members.

Along with the money, the ability to contribute to health management and treatment of patients is a personal advantage for doctors. Some doctors have a natural passion for the combination of science and medicine and enjoy the problem-solving aspects of diagnosing and treating patients. Doctors also garner respect and prestige in their communities, according to Gap Medics.

The pressure to perform combined with sometimes long and irregular work hours can lead to high stress for doctors. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that physicians are often on-call for emergencies and may work evening, weekend and overnight shifts in hospitals on occasion. The time and money invested in becoming a doctor are drawbacks as well. It can take 11 years or longer for a person to complete the necessary education required to be a doctor. The greater the specialization, the more schooling is required. The expense of the education is significant as well.