Saturday, July 2, 2011

Something to mull over

So I've been reading on VIN (a veterinary-only website with message boards and tons of helpful informations) this summer, as I never really get a chance to during the school year.

I just finished reading a 900 post discussion on veterinary student debt, and man, was it depressing. Basically, it comes down to veterinarians who graduated with little to no debt thinking that those of us going through school are batshit to be going into the type of debt we are to pay for school. That, combined with the fact that Western opened a few years ago, one of Mexico's vet schools just got AVMA accredited, Utah and Arizona are trying to open up schools, and the economy crash, people are predicting that there's going to be a big glut of veterinarians without enough jobs for all of them. Basically, they're comparing the veterinary profession to the whole law school situation. Hopefully it all works out. The way I see it, even though vets don't make a whole lot, hopefully after taxes and student loan payments, I should be making about the same amount I would if I were working as a funeral director when I graduate. After a few years, my potential income should increase above what I could have if I had stayed in the funeral industry. Even if it evens out to about the same income, there's one big advantage to what I'm doing - I'm giving myself a career that I love, one where going to work is enjoyable. I wouldn't have had that otherwise.

Another thing I was reading about was some slimey behavior out of the AVMA. Apparently, an economist looked at the veterinary situation, and the number of students being cranked out, combined with student debt increases, and didn't paint a glowing picture of the potential outcome for the profession. So instead of taking it to heart, and trying to improve the situation, the AVMA tried to bury the study and prove him wrong. I'm already not a fan of the AVMA, since I feel like the only interests they really care about are their own - not the profession, not the animals - but this just makes me dislike them more. Apparently, in the human medical side of things, only about 20% of physicians are members of the AMA, while a much higher chunk (I'm thinking somewhere in the range of 80%) of vets are AVMA members. I wonder if in the not so distance future, if we'll see AVMA membership start to drop drastically, or if the benefits of cheap insurance through the AVMA PLIT/GHLIT branch are enough to keep dues-paying members to stick around.

I do know that when I graduate, that while I probably won't want to shell out for an AVMA membership, I will gladly pay the membership fees for VIN. They may not have the insurance services and lobbying branch the AVMA does, but through their website, they do far more to bring veterinarians together and promote discourse than the AVMA ever will.

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