Choosing Between Different Kinds of Medical Degrees


“If you like what you’re doing you’ll never work a day in your life”

Sisyphus is a figure in Greek mythology. He was a Greek king who tricked the Gods and cheated death. So the Gods punished him, condemning him to spend his days rolling a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll all the way back down once he got there. He was doomed to repeat this every single day for eternity. Sisyphus’ story was generally used to teach a lesson about accepting your fate and acknowledging your failures head-on. But he is also often seen as a parable for the everyday person and the fruitless futility of life and work. The nine to five, 40-hour workweek grind that is expected in this day and age is often considered to be pretty grueling for the average person. Many people work thankless jobs they have no investment in and that can feel a lot like rolling some dumb boulder up an exhausting hill every day. Many can relate to the plight of Sisyphus. But not everyone feels this way.

“If you’re doing something you love you’ll never work a day in your life”, we’ve all heard someone say it before. But easier said than done, right? One of the biggest reasons people feel like Sisyphus is because they have no emotional stake in their job. There’s nothing about the job for them to care about. Many people who work in the medical field do not feel this way and helping people as a career can be tremendously rewarding. These are often deeply passionate and caring people with a devotion to helping others. They get to see their efforts pay off first hand, and can tangibly see the results. It’s also a very steady career track, as there is always a need for healing the ailments of the body. It is a demanding career and is not for the faint of heart. But if you’re sick of that boulder and ready for a change, the medical profession is one of the most rewarding there is.

But where do you start from here? You can pretend to be a doctor and tell people you’re a doctor, but you won’t actually be a doctor unless you go to school for it. Society has to let you be a doctor. So continuing your education would also be a part of this career path. But where in medicine do you want to focus? As there are many different people with a plethora of health concerns, and careers to accompany them. You may have a bit of school anxiety about it all but choosing between different kinds of medical degrees is the only place to start. There are a lot of options and not all of them demand to get into medical school and spending 10 years on your education.

Medical Doctor

When doctors think of Greek figures, Sisyphus is usually not the one they’re being compared to. A medical doctor would probably be more aware of the life and works of Hippocrates who, unlike Sisyphus was a real person. He is often referred to as the father of medicine and was a very advanced and impressive doctor for his time. He is most famous for writing the Hippocratic oath, which all doctors must take before they are granted a medical license. The oath reads;

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
I will remember that there is an art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.
I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.
I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems if I am to care adequately for the sick.
I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
I will protect the environment which sustains us, in the knowledge that the continuing health of ourselves and our societies is dependent on a healthy planet.
I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

So obviously being a medical doctor is treated with a certain amount of honor, prestige, and dignity. It’s important to keep these things in mind when choosing between different kinds of medical degrees.

Because of the oath, its important you make sure all patients are treated properly or you may have to deal with a personal injury lawyer. To get to the point that you’re taking the Hippocratic oath requires a lot of schooling though. On average to be a doctor in the United States requires a 4-year undergraduate degree, a 4-year medical school degree, and then usually spending another 5 plus years as a resident. It requires an immense amount of learning and studying and working. But it is a tremendously well-respected career as well as relishes a high salary. Even getting into a medical program is not easy, and when trying to one should strongly consider what kind of doctor they plan to be in the end.

Choosing Between Different Kinds of Medical Degrees

Choosing between different kinds of medical degrees can be daunting when you consider how many kinds of doctors there are. Many doctors focus on one specific part of the body and they all have complicated names. An otolaryngologist specializes in treating the ear, nose and throat and are usually referred to as an ENT. These three face features are connected and often share problems. So an ENT will be trained on both general maladies that affect their specialized focus as well as how to administer specific medicines and treatments, including surgeries, to remedy them.

So a cardiologist specializes in heart health, and will help people with heart disease, and who suffer a heart attack. A Gastroenterologist, or GI, specializes on the stomach and digestive system.The same is true for almost every system of the body, dermatologists help with your skin, an endocrinologist studies your hormone levels, and podiatrists helps with your feet. There are more generalized medical pursuits like being a pediatrician, or a primary care physician. A more generalized degree is also used to be an ER doctor or trauma surgeon. ER and trauma surgeons help with immediate, life-threatening cases. Often dealing with auto injury cases, or gunshot wounds. More important information to consider choosing between different kinds of medical degrees.

Deciding which path of medicine you want to take is a lot to consider. One of the key things to remember when making a decision like this is the bigger picture. Where do you see yourself going to work every day? A calm office with a controlled number of patients with occasional emergencies or somewhere higher stakes like the Emergency room? For example if wokring at a pediatric urgent care sounds like a potentially overly depressing place for you to be, then being a pediatrician probably isn’t the right path for you. Here are some other options to consider when deciding. These are just one of the many different kinds of medical degrees.


There are doctors that focus on the mind and mental health. Psychologists help people suffering from mental health troubles such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and many more. These doctors will also help people dealing with a myriad of issues like divorce, drug addiction and helping people into 12 step programs, suicidal thoughts, histories of trauma and sexual abuse. This career requires a lot of emotional intelligence and stability. And this path can also take many years of schooling to complete. There are also psychiatrists who deal with the same issues, but cannot treat them beyond talk therapy. They do not have medical degrees but are medically respected and recognized.

Medical Research

Perhaps you wanna be a doctor for the scientific discoveries rather than the desire to help people. In that case it may be more prudent to focus on medical research and discovering new vaccines rather than studying to take on medical practice of your own.

Dentist / Orthodontist

Going through the many years of school and stress is not for everyone though. There are other kinds of medical degrees that can be pursued that require less schooling. This includes the field of dentistry or taking care of your teeth. Dentists and orthodontists have 4 years of school to complete as opposed to the 8 plus years of a medical doctor. Dentists help with taking care of teeth and gum issues that can become very painful for people. You could also become an orthodontist, which are the doctors who give people braces to help straighten their teeth. These are important to consider when choosing between different kinds of medical degrees.


Perhaps you’re deeply misanthropic and don’t even want to help humans at all! In this case, perhaps helping animals is a little bit more aligned with your passions. Remember, that being a vet means taking care of a lot of sick and dying animals. Treating animals takes a special level of sensitivity and care since these creatures cannot communicate their symptoms to the vet by just talking. To be a vet at a veterinary clinic takes many years of schooling and training, and has a large pool of completion. Although it is considered a very rewarding career by most who take it up. These are some of the things to consider when choosing between different kinds of medical degrees.

Careers that require less schooling

While every job that involves actually directly helping someone medically requires some amount of schooling, there are many that require years less than being a fully licensed physician, or vet that are still vitaly important to the medical field. Nurses, for example, are held in high regard as some of the hardest working people out there. They often deal with the less dire situations that they come across and are educated on how to help with many health related issues. The dedication of nurses is what keeps hospitals running and moving. And becoming a registered nurse, or RN, does not require a full undergraduate degree.

There are also many careers that can branch off from starting as a nurse, such as being a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant. These jobs are the level in between your standard nurse and doctor, and in fact most of the time when you are going into a doctor’s office, if your issues are less pressing. You could also work for the insurance side figuring out things like Medicaid benefits or as a receptionist which are also essential to the whole process.

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