Motivation for Being a Doctor

Doctors have rewarding careers.
i Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images
Doctors have rewarding careers.

Doctors hold a prestigious job that is respected by the public. As if this wasn't enough of a motivator, a career in medicine has a number of other reasons to encourage you. Whether you're motivated by material benefits or altruistic ones, there are a number of good reasons to become a doctor.


Pay can be a big motivator when considering a medical career. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median wage for all occupations which was just $33,840 as of 2010, the median salary for primary care physicians was $202,392 per year. For physicians with specialties the salary was even higher, with a median annual wage of $356,885. General surgeons had a median wage of $343,958 per year while the median salary for anesthesiologists was $407,292.

Job Prospects

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the job prospects for doctors were good as of 2010 and continuing for at least a decade afterward. While all occupations are expected to have job growth of 14 percent in this decade, the job growth for doctors will be 24 percent. According to the BLS, physicians in specialties that deal with ailments affecting aging patients have the best prospects. The BLS also reports that job prospects are good for doctors who want to work in rural and low-income areas.

To Help Others

While there are material reasons to become a doctor, they aren't the only motivators. Medicine is a helping profession so it's no surprise that it will attract compassionate people. Doctors diagnose what is wrong with and provide treatment for their patients, helping them to overcome illnesses and deal with other medical problems. In the New York Times article "Why Would Anyone Choose to Become a Doctor?" Danielle Ofri says that being trusted to give advice and the gratitude for helping someone through an illness are things that never get old.


Becoming a doctor is no easy task. After completing an undergraduate degree, you need to make it through a highly selective process just to get into med school. Then you're looking at four years of training including classroom work and hands-on experience. Even after becoming a doctor you must complete three to eight years of residency to gain experience in a specialty. If you're a smart person who likes to be pushed, then the challenge of becoming a doctor may be a motivator for you.

2016 Salary Information for Physicians and Surgeons

Physicians and surgeons earned a median annual salary of $204,950 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, physicians and surgeons earned a 25th percentile salary of $131,980, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $261,170, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 713,800 people were employed in the U.S. as physicians and surgeons.

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