Future Physician That Needs Help - Planning Career

I am currently planning my future. I want to be a physician that can help my patients most effectively and efficiently. To fit this role, it is important for me to gain the prerequisite knowledge and skills during my upcoming years to plan my future accordingly. So, I wanted to ask you all:
What future positions are likely to be most and least demanded in the next 8-15 years?

  • this is really important to me because I want to help as many people as I can, so I am trying to find out which career would allow me to do this.

For example (not related to medicine), with the rapid development of artificial intelligence, quant trading is becoming a demanded career allowing investment firms(even small ones) to prosper; this insight would have been very helpful to someone(hypothetically already a junior undergraduate) desiring to help small companies if they could have anticipated the current demand for machine-learning technologists.

My current interests(based on personal stories and interactions) align with anesthesiology, cardiology, neuroscience, and surgeon-related fields.

Thank you in advance for your time!

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I don’t think anyone here is a mind reader. At all. There is a huge shortage of primary care doctors particularly in underserved areas. This will likely continue. So…consider one of the primary care fields…and an underserved area.



Don’t get ahead of yourself! No one can predict the future. Focus on doing very well in all the premed/pre-reqs in your undergrad years, and have a very detailed methodical approach to studying for the MCAT. Do some shadowing and get a variety of medical experience in college, but have an open mind on which field until you get in! Med school rotations are when you solidify your career interests, not now. Many of us changed our minds many times during rotations. But if you do not focus hard on your undergrad grades and your MCAT , you will not get there. First things first. One semester at a time.

And this, which is a great goal: “I want to be a physician that can help my patients most effectively and efficiently” comes even later, in Residency and in the first few years of practice. In other words, 10 yrs or more from now.


Thank you for the response - this was great advice!

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Hi 2Devils, I appreciate you spending time to respond! What you said about focusing on prereqs and the MCAT are definitely things I should consider - thank you!
I was wondering if you knew of any specific advice regarding MCAT preparation and maybe even what undergraduate major might be the best fit for completing my prereqs while also showing medical schools I am competitive.

You aren’t even in college…yet. Who knows what MCAT prep will look like in three years if you still are interested in medicine.

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Medicine will have changed substantially by the time you get to years 3 and 4 of med school. Even if you were a second year med student right now, very few physicians would feel comfortable advising you without knowing how you felt about those 3rd year rotations through the major medical specialties. If you’d told me during my senior year of college that I was going to be the kind of doctor that I am, I would have laughed and shook my head. Feel free to explore interests but don’t worry about having a medical field in mind.


Interesting - that is something I hadn’t thought about for the MCAT changing - thank you for your reply!

Hello UnsentDementor, thank you so much for your effort in replying to me! I’ll make sure to keep my options open!

This isn’t necessarily related to answering my question about demanded careers, but rather out of curiosity about how physicians would choose which medical student they advise: what factors/application details do you think would be most significant when attempting to find a physician advisor?

I’ll be brutally honest about what I have seen in my career. When young (high school or college) students find someone to shadow, it’s usually through family connections. In a better world it probably wouldn’t be that way. But that is what I have noticed for many folks.

By college you can make your own connections through lab research, volunteer work, scribing jobs, and other opportunities.

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Too early to think about MCAT prep or major! Get through freshman year of college first before you look up MCAT prep. If you are in a college that does not require selecting a major as a freshman, then you should seek out the college’s premed advising on what to take as a freshman. Usually it will be Calculus and Chemistry, but that depends on school and on if you have AP credit. You can major in anything as long as you do the premed pre-reqs. I picked a science major because I love it best and excel at it(I would have done a PhD in science if I had not gone for the MD); others pick English, classics, history, ANYTHING. If possible, wait to decide on major until after Freshman year, so you can see what you like best.

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OP- I say this with love and admiration- your focus right now should be on becoming the best person you can be-- in all the ways that are meaningful to you and are consistent with your values. It is WAY too early to focus on what you should and shouldn’t focus on in order to get a physician advisor, it is WAY too early to focus on any particular career.


No one knows right now because medicine, like all things, is constantly changing and evolving. Any answer you get today will be obsolete in 5 years. Or less.

Plus there are changes coming in the increasing use of mid-level practitioners (CAAs and CRNAs in anthesiology, for example) and AI (which may already be better at reading mammograms than a human radiologist).

If you truly sincere about wanting to help as many people as possible, then rural primary care is probably the area with the largest unmet need and has been for decades. For example, there are a whole counties, even multiple contiguous counties, that do not have a single OB/GYN or obstetrics trained FM so that pregnant women need to travel 50, 60, 100 miles to see a doctor.

As a HS senior, your job is to get into college. it really doesn’t matter if it is a “prestigious” college or not. Almost every college or university–with the exception of specialized conservatories programs-- offers the necessary courses for pre-med.

Medical school admissions officers are not impressed by the name of the college on your diploma. They are more interested in your achievement during college: your GPA and MCAT certainly, but also your leadership ability, your interpersonal and communications skills. They also expect that med school hopefuls have demonstrated their interest in medicine by volunteering/working in clinical settings and your compassion and altruism by volunteering with the disadvantaged/disparaged.

Med school applicants are expected to have met all the Core Competencies for Incoming Med Students

I would strongly recommend that you keep an open mind about potential specialties. Until you have completed you core 3rd year rotations, you really have no idea what you like and don’t like.

in fact, I recommend you keep an open mind about medicine. It’s a long slog-- minimum of 11 years from your year college, longer if you choose a surgery-based specialty or sub-specialize. It could be as long as 20 years.


Thank you so much for the in-depth response - this advice is truly eye-opening!

Anesthesia is largely being taken over by nurse anesthetists, so I wouldn’t recommend it. Surgeons are hiring PAs to serve as the assistant surgeon at the table, thus halving the number needed, but if you have the hands and the mind for it, surgery is one of the fields that will never be completely taken over by nurses. Neuroscience is not a medical specialty - there’s neurology, and neurosurgery. Cardiology is using nurses and PAs as extenders, thus also decreasing the number necessary.

Meanwhile, if you want to become a doctor, realize that at this point in the evolution of medicine, it’s the sort of thing that one should do only if one is extremely driven to do so, akin to a religious calling to become a priest, because we’re at the point where MD’s future income is very uncertain, but med school is very expensive. Eventually, we will become more like the European countries, where med school is heavily subsidized, and doctors don’t expect to make a lot of money.

Frankly, if you’re interested in it for money, there are far better ways to earn more with fewer years of school and far less stress. The only reason to go to med school now is if it’s the only thing you see yourself doing.


There’s so much more to getting into med school than just grades and MCAT, though those are important too. Here’s something I have kids at our high school read. It’s a medical school’s profile of accepted students. They put them out each year (google will find you other years), but it’s essentially a template. They look for the same thing year after year.

If you decide you want to go to med school, find a college you can afford, pick a major you like, get great grades, shadow, volunteer, and be someone your future med school could write about.

You’ll pick what you want to do while in med school, no worries about deciding that now. At this point, you need to become someone who will get into med school.

FWIW, while in college you might change your mind. I’ve seen that happen a bit and it still works out well. There are several medical related careers.


Thank you!!

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It’s important to follow your passions and interests when choosing a career path. Anesthesiology, cardiology, neuroscience, and surgery all sound like interesting areas to explore further.

Not sure why but I think you are either a doctor yourself or someone very close is a doctor. You have presented some valid arguments. I would like share some advice I was offered when I was going into my senior year in High School by my counselor about 40 years ago. I had interest in computers and wanted to apply for colleges for computer science. He was close to professors at various universities and suggested that as per his information, programs that can write programs are coming out real soon. We won’t need any computer engineers or programmers very soon. I suggest you look into majoring in some other field of STEM. He also had various other arguments about why a computer career would be outsourced and I will be left with no job, etc. Anyway, here we are exactly 42 years later and Computer science and engineering is still a top choice for colleges. I work at one of the FANG companies and I know exactly how much we pay those so called obsolete programmers. Most make around 300-500K per year. So the bottom line is, what people predicting future forget is that education also evolves as technology goes forward. It adapts, it grows and we do more new stuff and less mundane stuff. Same thing happens in all career paths whether its computers or medicine. I 100% agree that if someone wants to follow the medicine career and is passionate about it, they should do that. Without worrying about some random person discouraging or scaring them that there is no future because nurses will take over, etc. Please feel free to dream on that we will become like European countries where education is heavily subsidized. Even next door Canada has universal health, try implementing that in US first before worrying about subsidizing education. Is there no passion for what you want to left anymore? Do HS kids just want to do whatever will make them money in shortest time? Then they should start a business instead of spending time in colleges. As for going after the hottest field in college, today its finance or computers, tomorrow it could be something else. It changes all the time.

The last time they changed the MCAT (2015) they announced it years in advance. Nothing is on the horizon at this time.
Adcoms have just gotten use to the 3 digit scale :slight_smile: