It’s Not Always What It Seems

We have talked a lot about the need to chose degrees and careers that create value for you.  My book “Your Future is Calling” guides you through the 950+ careers listed on the Department of Labor WEB site.  Buzz Today Source:  The New York Times. In 2007, the Veterinary Medical Association contended that the United States needed more veterinarians.  In 2012, a National Academy of Sciences found no evidence of vet shortages.  It also concluded that the “cost of veterinary education is at a crisis point”.  .

I always believed that veterinarians were in demand and earned a good income. Upon reflection, that belief was probably because it takes a lot of education to become a vet and in the end they are sort of like a human medical doctor.

I was shocked to read of a 30 year old veterinarian graduate who recently graduated with $312,000 of student debt.  The problem is that the average starting salary for veterinary graduates is $45,575 per year.  This ratio of debt far exceeds the debt to starting salary ratio of 3 to 1 recommended.

The prospect is that the young woman grad will be repaying her student loans for about 25 years for a total of over $650,000 with taxes.  One of the reasons this grad’s bill is so high is because she failed to be accepted to the reasonably priced University of California – Davis Vet school and instead went to a high tuition cost off shore for-profit school.

But as bad as the young graduate’s situation is, it is not as bad as a student who went to a for-profit vet school, lasted 6 semesters than failed out racking up $160,000 of debt and no degree.  High debt and no degree is about as bad a situation you can wind up in.

This post is the first in a series that looks at how critical it is to make sure that you fully understand your career prospects that fit “who you are”.  It also introduces the subject of how important it is fully understand everything about the college you are considering attending.

By the way, the 30 year old veterinarian went into the career because it is something she wanted to do since childhood.  The intrinsic value of what she is doing (to do) is a powerful motivator for her.  Her decision fits “who she is” very well.  Now she has to manage the economics of her decision.

One final note on this post:  O*Net lists the average veterinarian salary as $82,900, clearly including many veterinarians with many years of experience.

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