Adults' Career Advice to Youths: 'Be a Doctor'

As students celebrate graduation this spring, they may be launching or considering their future career path.

Their elders' advice: "Be a doctor." That was what most adults say they would recommend to young men and women, according to a new Gallup poll.

The April telephone survey asked around 1,000 adults what jobs they would recommend to a young person seeking career advice. One in five said they would advise young women to become doctors and 17 percent said they would recommend the medical profession to young men.

That makes "doctor" the top-ranked profession, ahead of careers in computers, technology, teaching, or business. The results are "good news," says the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in a news release.

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Memo to the Next Generation

The poll's top-ranked recommended careers for young men were:

— Doctor/Medical field (17 percent)

— Computers (11 percent)

— Trades/Industrial/Blue collar (8 percent)

— Business/Self-emplyed/Sales (8 percent)

— Technology/Electronix (8 percent)

For young women, the top five recommended fields were:

— Doctor/Medical field (20 percent)

— Nursing (13 percent)

— Teaching (9 percent)

— Computers (8 percent)

— Business/Self-employed/Sales (6 percent)

The poll presented a long list of career choices, including homemaker, police officer, actress, lawyer, military, and social work.

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Follow Your Heart, but Finish School

A lot of participants said their advice would depend on the young person seeking career advice. They also said they would tell young men and women to do something they liked and finish school.

That approach was what 14 percent of the adults said they would tell young men, and what 12 percent said they would recommend to young women.

"Doctor" and "teacher" tied for first place in another Gallup poll, which asked teens aged 13-17 what careers they wanted to pursue. "Lawyer," "sports field," and "science/biology" ranked next, says the AAMC.

For the last two years, women have submitted more applications to U.S. medical schools than men. In 2004-2005, women's applications accounted for just over half of about 18,000 applications, says the AAMC.

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By Miranda Hitti, reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD

SOURCES: The Gallup Organization. News release, Association of American Medical Colleges.