Which Career to Choose Lawyer vs Doctor?- And Why

Lawyer vs Doctor - Which Career to Choose and Why

Choosing the right career path sometimes becomes extremely arduous. Especially when the types of occupations we have in mind are highly regarded, such as a doctor and a lawyer. Both are considered to be eminently trained individuals who are required to have a professional degree and license in their respective fields.  Therefore, it becomes important to analyze the career that will resonate well with your personality and interests. In-depth knowledge of their educational path and career prospects can help us land the perfect career alternative. The following article is a complete guide that will assist you in developing a vocation either for the profession of a doctor or a lawyer whichever is the best option for you. Which Career to Choose Lawyer vs Doctor?

Educational Path

Before stepping into any field, you need to know the detailed information about the course you will have to pursue. Not only that, you must know if your educational background and interests permit you to take up that course. Give this process an adequate amount of time. You need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Will you be fond of working in that field?
  • Can your finest attributes help in your escalation in that career?
  • Are your interests inclined towards that profession?
  • If you are sure about your success in that field, what will you possibly aim to pursue?
  • Is your educational degree valid for the academic program you want to continue with?

Following are the details of the academic programs for both fields:

Educational Pathway for a Doctor

  1. Complete an undergraduate course from an accredited university. There is not one specified bachelor’s degree recommended by medical schools but it will be best to have the following majors:
    • Biology
    • Biochemistry
    • Nursing
    • Human Physiology
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Psychology
    • English
    • Economics
  2. You can apply to a medical school after finishing your graduation. Go to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) page and select your preference.
  3. Complete your full-time medical school training that generally lasts for four years. 
  4. During your medical school training, you are required to crack the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). An aspirant must pass the first two parts of the examination before the commencement of the third year of college. The syllabus targets fundamental medical postulates. In the fourth year, the student has to pass the third part of the USMLE exam. It is focused on disease buildout and its clinical identification. 
  5. When you are in the final year of your medical school, you can specialize in various fields such as:
    • Neurology
    • Surgery
    • Dermatology
    • Obstetrics and Gynecology
    • Psychiatry
    • Anesthesiology
    • Diagnostic radiology
    • Urology
  6. There are many more specialty areas you can go with after completing your medical school. You need to apply for residency.
  7. Complete your residency and secure a board certification in your applied field. They may include a written as well as a viva voce examination. 
  8. After becoming a board-certified doctor, you need to apply for the required state medical license.
  9. Seek a job. You can do a part-time job during your residency as well. 

Educational Pathway for a Lawyer

  1. You need to obtain your bachelor’s degree keeping your GPA above 3.0. There is no need to major in some specific subject to become a lawyer but doing majors in the following subjects is usually considered:
    • Business
    • English
    • Journalism
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
  2. Qualify the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) to enter an ABA (American Bar Association) approved law school. 
  3. Obtain a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. It is a three-year full-time or four-year part-time program. You can refer to the following concentrations:
    • Health Law
    • Family Law
    • Tax Law
    • Labor Law
    • Civil Rights Law
    • Corporate Law
    • Intellectual Property Law
  4. Get through the state bar examination. 
  5. Find suitable jobs or obtain a higher degree of education such as a master’s or doctorate.  

Through the above information, we can conclude that the duration of studies is longer for becoming a doctor than for a lawyer. If you want to start earning sooner, then the profession of a lawyer will suit you better. But it is suggested to consider your interests rather than the duration of your studies. 

Skills Required

Everyone has a different set of skills due to their unique personality, hobbies, and education. While choosing a suitable career, you need to match your hard and soft skills with the ones expected from you in that particular field. This is because it will help you determine how well you will be able to cope up with the practical situations after stepping into a career.

Skills required to become a doctor:

  • Effective communications skills. It will be important for you to communicate well with your patients about their treatment plans, health, diagnosis, and medication. 
  • Brainstorming or problem-solving skills. A doctor is highly regarded when they can get to the root of the problem quickly using symptoms as their clues.
  • Professionalism while working. You will be responsible for carrying out the code of conduct and making your staff do it too. Also, patients should feel respected as well as comfortable throughout their conversation with you.
  • Paying great attention to the slightest details. This attribute is very important as you will have to treat each patient with a significant level of attentiveness and observation. 
  • Emotional quotient (EQ). There will be instances when you will have to inform patients or their families about some bad news. This is where your emotional quotient will help you empathize and deal with the situation correctly. 
  • Performing under pressure. This profession brings in work stress. Therefore, make sure that you can tackle stressful conditions or you will go through burnout.
  • The substantial caliber of decision-making. Most of the part of your career will depend on your analytical and decision-making abilities. You will always have to go through data to conclude. Therefore, you should have these attributes.

Skills required to become a lawyer:

  • Scrutinizing the topic. You must go deep into the causes and the conclusion of a situation and inspect it at lightning speed.
  • Sound judgment-making abilities. You must be able to anticipate the points of the case that are in favor of your client and address them appropriately. 
  • Excellent communication adroitness and public speaking. You will have to present yourself rightfully before the judge and the lawyer of the opposing party. At that moment, it will be important to explain yourself clearly and turn things in your favor. 
  • Administrative and leadership qualities. You cannot become a successful advocate if you lack managerial abilities and do not like taking charge of a situation. 
  • Listening with finesse. Not many people are great listeners and therefore tend to misunderstand people and topics. Also, they remain deprived of full information. Therefore, being a great listener is the key to excel as a lawyer. 
  • Determination while working. You will experience that reaching clues and utilizing them correctly will require a lot of intelligence and expertise. It will increase with time therefore you will need the perseverance to walk on the path of being a skilled advocate.
  • Showing courtesy towards clients. You need to treat those who come for your help respectfully and politely. Caring about your clients should be your priority.

Investment Needed

This is what you must know to prevent yourself from falling into financial issues. On average, a public medical school costs $207,866 and for a private medical school, it can go up to $278,455 for four years. This also comprises the cost of books and other expenses. It is observed that medical school students incur a debt of almost $170,000 towards the end of their studies. It usually increases up to 25% until they repay it due to the continuous addition of interest in it. Also, you will not be able to earn a decent amount as soon as you complete your studies. It will take you a lot of time to reach a financially stable level if you get indebted. 

For law schools, we can divide them into three sections- the top 20 schools, the above-average schools, and the rest, the average schools. If you study in one of the top schools in the United States, the total cost to become an advocate will be around $212,707 (this also includes the cost of doing an undergraduate degree) for three years. For the above-average law schools, the cost is around $190,924 (from graduation to qualifying for the bar examination). If you go to an average law school, the total cost to become a lawyer will be around $188,500. On average, law school graduates pay a total debt of $164,742. After analyzing all the data about educational investments for a doctor and a lawyer, becoming a doctor takes more investment than being a lawyer though there is not a large difference.

What are the average salary of a doctor and a lawyer?

The average salaries of a doctor as per seniority are as follows:

  • Starting level or 10th percentile- $68,922 per annum
  • Junior level or 25th percentile- $78,421 per annum
  • Mid-level or 50th percentile- $105,968 per annum
  • Senior-level or 75th percentile- $179,121 per annum
  • Top-level or 90th percentile- $352,975 per annum

The average salaries of a lawyer as per seniority are as follows:

  • Starting level or 10th percentile- $58,270 per annum
  • Junior level or 25th percentile- $82,070 per annum
  • Mid-level or 50th percentile- $120,074 per annum
  • Senior-level or 75th percentile- $175,677 per annum
  • Top-level or 90th percentile- $247,433 per annum

As per the average salary data, doctors are generally paid more than lawyers. 

Who has longer work hours, a doctor or a lawyer?

In general, a doctor has to work for a longer duration than a lawyer. This is because emergencies in the medical field are not uncommon and the doctor has to be available at all times in case of an emergency. Also, their normal work time is mostly decided by the hospital administration. A lawyer does not need to be present for long hours at his workplace such as a law firm and this field does not have any emergencies to increase the duration of work though they too perform their tasks for a considerable period. But in comparison, it is a less hectic schedule than that of a doctor. 

Make sure to compare all the points to your personality and present situation to take a wise decision. Both the fields are equally promising with a great scope of success but there is only one that can be better suited for you than the other. 

Which Career to Choose Lawyer vs Doctor?- And Why

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