A recent study in by JM Rochlin and HK Simon (Pediatrics. 2011 Feb;127(2):254-60
) poses the question, does fellowship PAY? BEFORE YOU READ ON
You should probably ask yourself, will this impact my decision about fellowship? And while you are asking yourself questions... how so? Why? What other factors might loom larger than my earnings?
Dare to continue? Let's turn to their findings...
Using financial modeling techniques* these authors determined that pursuing a pediatric fellowship in most pediatric subspecialties is a negative financial decision, when compared to not entering a fellowship and practicing as a general pediatrician instead (I will not
phrase it "just being" an outpatient pediatrician.)
They looked at 11 fields, and used compensation data from 2007.
Assumptions: fellowship duration of 3 years, no gaps, educational loan repayment deferred during training, retirement at 65, (and several other assumptions for the model)Which fields "paid off"?
Fellowships in pediatric CARDIOLOGY
, CRITICAL CARE
, and NEONATOLOGY
yielded greater financial returns than not doing a fellowship and practicing general pediatrics. Eight other subspecialities (pediatric emergency medicine
) did not
pay off. Why? Short answer, in most pediatric subspecialties, there is no relative increase in compensation after training.What to do with this information?
- First, you might want to read the study in full.
- Then, think again about what other motivations will drive your career choice.
- What will give you career satisfaction? What are those intangibles? Intellectual stimulation, patient population, research interests, advocacy concerns, academia, lifestyle?
- Advocate for: loan repayment or forgiveness options? health care reform? pediatric workforce issues? appropriate compensation?
What did I decide to do (when the time came for me to decide, which I'll note, is not necessarily one precise moment in time... but more on that in a subsequent post)? Among all the options in medicine, I'm a pediatrician (you knew that), and a general outpatient
pediatrician at that. In academia, in education
, and in an underserved community. So I am not one of those top earners, but I wouldn't trade a thing.
What will you
do? Well that's part of the fun of this blog! Please stay tuned for more, including various voices...*Let it be noted, I am not an economist, nor do I tend to think like one. They did more than throw some numbers together. For additional details, please see the article!