Lawyer Or Doctor – Which Career Path To Choose in 2021?

lawyer or doctor- which career path to choose?

The question in itself is tricky as both these are very different fields of work. A lawyer or attorney is someone who practices law, while a doctor is someone who practices medicine. The choice you make should depend on which one you are passionate about. Further information might provide more clarity. We will discuss which career option to choose – Lawyer or Doctor in this article here.

Lawyer or Doctor – How to Become One?

How One Becomes A Lawyer?

A person aspiring to be a lawyer must have good analytical skills, research skills, speaking skills, problem-solving skills and writing skills.

    • After high school, you will have to get an undergraduate degree because most law school requires a bachelor’s degree for admission.
    • You can take courses that might help you later with your careers like English, mathematics, history, and economics.
    • An aptitude test, Law School Admission Test (LSAT), is required for admission in law schools approved by ABA.
    • Most states require a J.D degree to be completed by lawyers from the law school affiliated with ABA.
    • You can also do summer internships at legal clinics or law firms to gain more field experience.

  2. LICENSE: To be a lawyer, you must pass the “bar exam” to receive a license for practicing law and admission into the bar.

  3. EXPERIENCES: After passing the bar exam, new attorney starts their journey as associates in law firms. Passing years will lead you up the ladder
    to higher positions.

How One Becomes A Doctor?

Being a doctor requires you to be patient, hardworking, someone who can devote time and effort.

    • Just like in the process of becoming a lawyer, you have to complete an undergraduate degree to get admission into a medical school.
    • It would be best to choose such a course during under graduation, which will be helpful in future studies.
    • For admission to a medical school, one has to pass MCQ based test, Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). 
    • You have to submit an application with your preferred colleges to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAT), which will distribute your application to the colleges of your preference.
    • During 4 years of your medical course, you will encounter full-time study with clinical visits to develop applied skills.

  2. USMLE: Students must pass United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) to practice medicine in the US. The exam is conducted in three parts; the first part must be taken before the third year and the second part during the fourth year of their degree. Part three is to be taken when your residency is about to end.

  3. RESIDENCY: An application is to be submitted by the final year students for their preferred medical specialty for an open residency program which starts after the completion of the course. The residency is for training in specialized subjects and is if at least three years.

  4. BOARD CERTIFICATION AND LICENSING: The individual must pass a written, or oral examination is to be passed by the individual for obtaining a certificate for a specialty by a specialized board. Different states have different guidelines for licensing. Before starting the practice, one should apply for a license to practice medicine from the state medical council.

How Much Will This Cost You?

  • LAWYER: It will take you 3 years, hard work, and some debt to complete your law school. Yes, you read that, law school will cost you some money. If you consider top law schools in the country, you will find that average tuition is between $35,000- $45,000 per year. Considering the undergraduate degree, it will cost around $190,000-$210,000 for seven years of education. 

  • DOCTOR: As mentioned above, becoming a doctor is difficult, and comparing to our other option, it takes more time to complete your studies and start your practice and certainly more money too. It will cost you around $58,000 per year as the tuition fee; the fee is comparatively less in public in-state universities, but out of state will cost you more. So, it will cost you around $200,000 on average for medical school apart from your undergraduate degree tuition fee. 

It is clearly visible that medical school will require a little more time and money.

How Much Money Will You Make?

  • LAWYER: Like a freshly graduate attorney, one will make an average of $45,000 as the starting salary. It will certainly differ on which college you will be completing your law degree from. As one gains experience, the salary also increases, like, people with around 10 years of experience and skills can make up to $150,000 or more.

  • DOCTOR: A doctor is one of the highest-paying professions one can pursue. Being a surgeon or a physician will pay you more. The starting salary is around $50,000. This will vary because of which college you graduate from, your academics, your specialization. After some good experience and passing years, your salary may increase up to $200,000. Some of the highest-paid surgeons may earn up to $400,000.


“With great knowledge come great responsibilities”.

Both professions, doctor or lawyer, both are necessary and important in their own place. With the great amount of knowledge you gain during your course, many responsibilities also come with these professions.

  • LAWYER: As a lawyer, you can either work for the government or join a law firm or business, or you can practice on your own. A great deal of problem-solving skills is required for you to help your clients in need. Lawyers can act as both advocates and advisors. Your work may consist of filing papers, reviewing cases, updating clients, directing paralegals. Lawyers may even specialize in particular fields such as:
    • Family lawyers
    • Environment lawyers
    • Tax lawyers
    • Property lawyers
    • Securities lawyers
  • DOCTOR: As a physician or surgeon, you diagnose and treat the health problems of your patients. You will diagnose the diseases, run tests, study the patient’s medical history, and monitor the patient. You will also recommend plans for improvement and treatment; a surgeon will have to perform surgeries when required and you might be working at unusual hours due to emergency cases. Depending on your specialization, you physicians and surgeons can be:
    • Cardiologists
    • Anesthesiologist
    • Dermatologists
    • Gynecologists
    • General physician
    • Neurologists
    • Ophthalmologists
    • Orthopedic surgeon
    • Pediatricians

There are others specifications also like psychiatrists, pediatricians, radiologists, etc. Your work will be assisted by nurses, technicians, and lab staff during different levels of treatment.

Which Is A Better Career Option – Lawyer or Doctor?

  1. Money

If you consider all the expenses and the amount you will be earning after completing the course, being a lawyer does seem to be a better option. The course will end in three years, and you spend less in comparison to medical school and start earning much early. Being graduated from a top-level college will certainly improve your salary and give you an advantage over others.

  1. Duty 

Both these professions serve the public in many ways. But if you look at the necessity of the profession, being a doctor will always come on top. As a doctor, you will be saving a life, helping people while lawyers protect you from any injustice and save your prestige. In terms of duty, people interested in the treatment of people, one who wants to serve the community selflessly, can choose medicine as a career option. If you want to fight for people and love law and order and how things should run, you might want to choose law as a career option. Both the fields are incredible. The final decision will always be on what one wants to be. If your primary goal is to earn money, only then opting for law as a profession would be suitable. But if you have that love for science and urge to be able to save people’s life someday, then medicine is the right profession for you.

If someone is not sure, then depending on your financial status and past academic record, you can list out which role would be better suited for you. Both professions require money, time, and hard work. You might be working overtime or devoting most of your time to the job because both professions require time devotion. So, your final decision must depend on which way you are more passionate about, what drives you to do more, what your expectations are from your future self. Introspection always helps in decision making, and if not, then listing out the pros and cons of your career option will help reach the best result.

Also read Lawyer Vs Paralegal – What’s the Difference?

Lawyer Or Doctor – Which Career Path To Choose in 2021?

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