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Information for people contemplating
a career in emergency medicine and
other medical specialties

By Kevin Pezzi, MD


Can a poor student become an ER doctor?

Q: I am seriously interested in becoming an ER doctor, but I'm concerned about the amount of money it costs to get into college and med school. My family doesn't have a lot of money at all. How much more difficult will it be for me to succeed in becoming an ER doctor?


Female doctorAnswer by , MD: If emergency medicine is what you want to do, don't let a lack of money keep you from reaching your goal. You may have more student loans to pay off later, but that is probably the worst consequence you will face. I made it, despite being poor, thanks to various student loans, grants, awards, and the various jobs I did throughout college and medical school. My biggest financial crisis came one semester when I applied too late to receive financial aid, so I was literally starving. My main sources of calories were the free sugar packets and coffee creamer in the school cafeteria. I doubt that any of today's college students have to endure such privation, but even that didn't kill me.

Furthermore, people now have a potential source of income—the Internet—that was not available to me. If you want some ideas on how to make money on the Internet, let me know. Also, don't hesitate to write if you have any more questions. I can't always respond promptly to every question I receive, but I do my best to help whenever I can.

Please don't do what I did: starve without asking for help. I don't know why it never occurred to me to ask someone for help, but I should have. If you need money, let me or someone else know.

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