by Laura Turner
SDN Staff Writer
Based on a series of polls conducted by the Student Doctor Network, students generally understand the current salaries they can expect to receive as a health professional.
The polls asked SDN users to select the salary range for an occupation “without Googling” to find the correct answer. The results of the polls are available in the SDN poll archive.
Students were most likely to select the salary range into which the actual mean annual wage falls for all occupations except Dentists and Optometrists. Actual wages used for comparison were determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are accurate as of May 2007.
The range was underestimated for Optometrists and overestimated for Dentists. In both cases the mean wage lay very close to a break point for the salary ranges available, and a majority of respondents selected either the correct range or the next closest range.
The table below details these wages:
|Physical Therapist (DPT)||$71,520||http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291123.htm|
|Occupational Therapist (OTD)||$65,540||http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291122.htm|
For most occupations, while the answer most likely to be selected was the correct one, incorrect responses skewed higher than the actual wage. For example, 61% of students overestimated the wage for Occupational Therapists (OTD), versus only 12% underestimating the wage.
“The internet makes it easy for students to identify what they can generally expect for a wage following completion of their degree,” said Michael Magatelli, an employment expert and executive coach with the Magatelli Leadership Group of Sacramento, California. “No student should invest in a degree without understanding the value they are going to receive from it.”
To gain further insight into wages beyond the average salaries referenced above, Magatelli recommends students conduct four to six “informational” interviews. These interviews will help illustrate any unique costs or required investments associated with setting up their desired practice model.
“Informational interviews, in addition to internet salary information, will provide a more complete picture of the costs of becoming a practicing health professional in your geographic area,” said Magatelli.