The thrill and responsibility of holding someone’s life in your hands, the ability to act under pressure, and the satisfaction of doing good in the world—these are among the qualities that attract people to the medical profession. In a culture that’s quickly diminishing the value of established professions, there’s still a universal appeal to becoming a doctor.This doesn’t mean seeking a career in medicine is without its obstacles. The importance of a thorough education—at least four graduate years—cannot be understated. Add in the time it takes to complete an internship and a residency, and it’s easy to see why a medical path can be too daunting for many. On average, it takes about 11 years for a medical student to become an independent doctor. If students begin medical school in their 20s, they won’t begin to see patients as a physician until they’re in their 30s. Add to that an average price tag of $166,000 in student loans for medical school, and even the most gung-ho medical students begin to balk. Suffice it to say, a career in the medical field is a huge time and financial investment.