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Career options: Lawyer or doctor

I'm a year 10 student and I'm thinking about different career options after having a meeting with a careers adviser at school. I'm not sure if I should be a commercial barrister or a doctor. I like STEM subjects more than humanity subjects but I'm also good at humanities. I like public speaking and my English teacher said my gcse english speech was the best in the class. I think I would like both jobs. As a result I'm also beginning to look at other factors like salary. Which career earns more on average, commercial barristers or doctors? Which career is more competitive is harder to get into? How long does it take for a doctor to make good money - I heard that junior doctors are very poorly? Are there any other STEM jobs that might suit me?
Original post by VoiidDev
I'm a year 10 student and I'm thinking about different career options after having a meeting with a careers adviser at school. I'm not sure if I should be a commercial barrister or a doctor. I like STEM subjects more than humanity subjects but I'm also good at humanities. I like public speaking and my English teacher said my gcse english speech was the best in the class. I think I would like both jobs. As a result I'm also beginning to look at other factors like salary. Which career earns more on average, commercial barristers or doctors? Which career is more competitive is harder to get into? How long does it take for a doctor to make good money - I heard that junior doctors are very poorly? Are there any other STEM jobs that might suit me?

you have time to decide, people change their views in two-three years. you could go into marine biology, or become a chemist.

sure you may like stem subjects, but what's it going to be like when you do a level or a degree? would you still love the subject? many love chemistry as a science at GCSE but the moment they do a level, it's a different story.

public speaking is fine, you could research stuff around that, do you enjoy politics? economics?

Your GCSE English speech is probably good, what is it about, kinda curious about that. I assume you got a distinction which is fine.

i mean if salary is a factor, moving abroad would help with you. doctors vary, as a surgeon would earn more than a barrister if he is a good one. there's a doctor who i spoke to occasionally earned around 10k a surgery but went to Ireland to get it done. point being salary wouldn't matter much to both these careers as they both could out earn each other.

being a doctor is more competitive. with the degree averaging around 25k, and law being 41k but the places are more limited for med. and for law I think you don't have to do an exam but for med you do. for grade requirements med will be higher, in most metrics like GCSE grades med would be higher. but both applications aren't just based on one thing but a collective most of the time.

depends on the speciality. you'll do 2 years after uni, then training for the speciality which for a gp that earns like 70-80k is fine but others could earn more. junior doctors have to work a lot longer, sometimes without pay as let's say your shift ends or is about to but an emergy occurs you can't just leave.

yeah plenty, density as well, most stem subjects could work. but it's up to you to research.




Recommendations: take some work experience, see what the job entails and if you would enjoy it. after all, being a doctor and lawyer is a lot of work for the first few years. and when I say a lot, it probably is a lot.
Do you enjoy public speaking, do you have a debate club/ society and are a part of that and take part in competitions? because that is quite a good thing to do.
focus on your gcse's as they are a good stepping stone to progress to both careers you mentioned. do other things on the side and yeah.
Original post by VoiidDev
I'm a year 10 student and I'm thinking about different career options after having a meeting with a careers adviser at school. I'm not sure if I should be a commercial barrister or a doctor. I like STEM subjects more than humanity subjects but I'm also good at humanities. I like public speaking and my English teacher said my gcse english speech was the best in the class. I think I would like both jobs. As a result I'm also beginning to look at other factors like salary. Which career earns more on average, commercial barristers or doctors? Which career is more competitive is harder to get into? How long does it take for a doctor to make good money - I heard that junior doctors are very poorly? Are there any other STEM jobs that might suit me?

Hi @VoiidDev

Unfortunately, there are no straight answers to your questions as they depend on so many different circumstances!
In terms of subject choice, I would recommend doing what you prefer as this is the best way to ensure you enjoy what you are doing and succeed in it. In order to do law at university, most unis do not have a requirement on which A Level subjects you studied where as there are requirements of studying medicine so this is worth considering if you do not want to make your mind up yet!
I would recommend getting some work experience into both careers even if that means simply engaging with some more public speaking or debate to see if you really do enjoy it (a lot of a barrister's work revolves around oral advocacy even in commercial sets).
In terms of salary, it is impossible to say. Barristers are self-employed so it will depend a bit on which chambers you manage to get pupillage/tenancy in, the specific area of law and simply how good you are as to how much you make. Of course, commercial barristers earn more on average than other areas such as criminal or family but there is less guarantee than if you were to be employed as a doctor.
Both are very competitive. I would say law is potentially less competitive at getting into undergrad or a law conversion than medicine but securing pupillage is very challenging. This means there is a risk you do all of your education qualification to become a barrister but then take a few years to secure pupillage to actually practice. Saying this, people do get pupillages every year of course so it isn't a dead certain but worth considering!

I hope this has helped a bit and good luck 🙂

Sophie

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