has anyone went from architecture to medicine?


is it completely crazy?

like is it possible?

i mean, i applied to grad schools already, but i'm just starting to have cold feet.

did anyone have cold feet, stuck it through and turned out better than what they had expected??

i always followed my guts but i don't know this time.....i have days where i question can i wake up everyday and be happy with architecture. and i cant seem to find an answer. like i think you have to be cream of the crop to absolutely enjoy it. like you have to be the one designing the building and working under someone. and i know this has been beaten to death, but holy shazzballs, the job market sucks ballllssssssss.

Dec 23, 12 2:31 am

nothing worthwhile in life is easy..  Do you think medical is fun? easy? could you stand working in a room tending to sick people day in day out compared to what is a creative field in a way

Dec 23, 12 7:46 am

I did think of becoming a chef or a pastry/bakery chef though... use my architectural and design skills to create some sweet looking and tasting cakes :P

Dec 23, 12 7:48 am
chatter of clouds

it will take a century. if you have the stamina, do a 2 year nursing degree to become an RN. good pay, helping people....etc. personally, though, i get too distured by wounds, bodily fluids...etc. i get faint...anything to do with flesh, blood....uhhghghghghhg

Dec 23, 12 8:03 am
chatter of clouds

but i have friends who worked as nurses. they found it very hectic but very satisfying. they're not critical anal assholes like architects can be. just helping people. but its a very stressful job and its not well regulated in terms of shifts; burns people out if they don't have the drive and are in it only for the money. i wish i weren't such a wimp, would definitely consider it.

Dec 23, 12 8:06 am

Lately I've been thinking of going back to school for neuro science. I just don't know that I want to be a student again!

Dec 23, 12 9:11 am

Right now I'm 25.

  • and i understand its going to take a long time, but to tell you the truth I don't mind staying in that learning environment. I dont mind learning with people are passionate about working towards a common goal.
  • I don't wanna do nursing, not my kind of shitck. i think i cant get rid of mindset that the field is primarily a female thing. i know theres males but it justs me.
  • im trying to figure how i can do this thing and still do architecture. and in case midway through i can just fall back on those core science classes
Dec 23, 12 1:24 pm

honestly, you don't seem to have the drive to finish architecture/ stick with it until the end no matter how tough or bad it sounds.  I think without that mentality you won't succeed in the medical field too.  In architecture, many are initially fueled by the goal to become a starchitect or make big bucks until they realize that is not usually the case.  To work in the medical field, you probably have to be very passionate about helping people, compassionate and understanding.  Sure the money is good and work stable once you become a doctor, but I don't think most in the medical field is driven primarily by that.  well.. atleast all the doctors or med students I've met seem to be good individuals who are driven by a strong desire to help those in need.  Most wouldn't even be accepted to many schools as they look into your background, your extra curricular activities, volunteer work etc, require extremely high grades, multiple recommendation letters from profs etc.

Dec 23, 12 3:25 pm
*your name

I thought this was about prescription drugs. Many architects I know did. Uppers, downers. It is like the Valley of the Dolls out there.

Dec 23, 12 4:30 pm

batman, you want a "manly" thang, then become a marine and go kill some Afghan people. that'll really man you up. clown. and you want to be a doctor? do you plan on just working on man parts, because lady parts scare the crap out of you?

Dec 23, 12 6:09 pm

Maybe I can shed some firsthand experience for you, as I'm married to an Ophthalmologist. 

As others have already pointed out, it requires immense drive, commitment, perseverance and compassion. Not to mentioned in order to endure the medical profession, you really need to love what you do; it's not for the ill-hearted. My wife works ridiculously long hours at the hospital, and is often on 24-hour call. At any moment, she is required to get out of bed, and drive to the hospital to perform surgery. The next day she needs to perform a follow-up, which can require just as much time as the surgery itself. Needless to say, the hours aren't stable and the work is extremely intense. There's a ton of paper work, dictations, presentations, etc on top of clinic and surgery. In a way you can think of it as a 50+ hour a week, crazy job + graduate school. It's not something most people can do.

As far as money/hours are concerned, it's not what the majority of the public perceive it to be. Hourly, many doctors, particularly residents, make less than some basic jobs. My wife puts in anywhere from 50-80+ hours a week, 50 being an amazingly easy week. 40 hour weeks don't exist...ever. Again, compassion for helping others is where successful doctors will say they are satisfied with being in medicine. Private practice is different, in that a business approach is taken and it can become more about the money. That in and of itself is extremely competitive in metro/desirable areas. Even as a staff member at a private practice, one can work anywhere from 50+ hours a week for the better part of their career. 

Sure, you could absolutely switch gears, get your stuff together and apply for pre-med. Just make sure you're damn ready for a lifestyle change. As a doctor, you never stop schooling. For the rest of your life you'll have to keep with the head of the curve by studying, testing, presenting, etc. 

Again, this is my perception of life as an Ophthalmologist, a highly-specialized field of medicine. I'm not speaking for general practitioners that see patients for the common flu. If you're looking to be a general physician, you're looking at an average salary of about $160K, which still requires one hell of a journey to get there. 

The average medical student who has been accepted into a program, as accesskb pointed out, has some pretty extensive volunteer work, research experience and other extra curricular activities. A lot of this will come about during your pre-med. But in order to get into an actual medical school, you'll need to shine above the thousands of others competing for the same thing. A lot of us have freaked out over whether or not our portfolio was good enough to get into an architecture program. For doctors, they freak out about whether or not they did enough in life. That's something to think about.

Sorry if this seemed a bit all over the place; just trying to drop as much info as I can. If you're up to the challenge, I commend you and wish you the best of luck: the US could always use some top-notch doctors! 

As an "architect" married to a doctor, I will say there is no way imaginable to "do this thing and still do architecture." It would have to be one or the other; chose whichever you are more passionate about. 

Lastly, you mentioned whether or not you feel that you could be happy with architecture. I wouldn't think of it that way. I'd ask myself whether or not I'd be happy the rest of my life designing and/or creating spatial/experiential solutions. Afterall, architecture, from many of our experiences, isn't just about buildings. Architecture can pave the way for many career paths, so long as you're willing to pursue them. So ask yourself this: what compels you the most? Design or Medicine?

Dec 23, 12 6:51 pm
Joe Soda

Not without a stop at the Grammar Dept. for a major tune-up.

Dec 23, 12 7:47 pm

Brianyamagata -

thanks for that response!  a lot of good insiders, points, and thoughts to think about! i'm writing stuff down, getting this sort of game plan together and making sure this is what i want!

it's pretty awesome that you're married to a Ophthalmologist!

i've done the interning thing for architecture for about two years now. I think for my spare time I'm going to find a doctor to shadow, talk to, and hopefully become good friends with. I'm very good with kids and thought of being a pediatrician on some occasions.

i'm glad people are being harsh though - it helps me rethink about a lot stuff!

Dec 23, 12 9:13 pm

Have you considered occupational therapy? There are jobs available in that field, especially if you want to work with kids and it pays pretty good.

Dec 24, 12 10:19 am
Generally, if you're going to undertake a career switch like that, you should do it because you have a clear idea of what kind of crossover career you want to pursue (and also have enough money to cover the cost...under no circumstances should you go heavily into debt to pay for it). I know several people who have done something similar:

Architect -> MD (age 32 at switch): Designs and develops new systems for high-tech operating theaters in hospitals.

Architect -> JD (age 47 at switch): Contract and risk management consultant.

Architect -> JD (age 35 at switch): Construction claim litigator.

Electrical Design Engineer -> MD (age 44 at switch): Research cardiologist.
Dec 24, 12 2:18 pm

there is no there -  i have not considered yet. still exploring options. it's crazy to even consider med as an option because I never really did it before so i don't know all the options out there.

I have time between now and july-august and i'm going go volunteer/shadow some folks to see what it's like.

gwharton -

Architect -> MD (age 32 at switch): Designs and develops new systems for high-tech operating theaters in hospitals.

How long did it take for that person to complete MD? was the MD needed to "design and develop new systems for high-tech operating theaters"?

Dec 24, 12 5:49 pm
chatter of clouds

"i think i cant get rid of mindset that the field is primarily a female thing"

aside from being a silly association, thats quite a sad association as well; men are in dire need as nurses. patients are getting fatter and fatter - strong men are a huge asset.


Dec 25, 12 1:46 am

batman, i once had a boss who was both, but not at the same time. she graduated in architecture and went with her then boyfriend to Europe. they broke up in Europe and she needed a job so she started working in a hospital. intrigued by her work she enrolled in a school there and finished her med. education. she came back to the states and was offered a job by a friend at an architecture firm, and never went back to medicine. as a boss she was super meticulous and anal. but thats another story

Dec 26, 12 5:08 pm

sorry for having that mindset about nurses. i know it's quite sexist, and tammuz you do bring up a good point. i'm not totally going to disregard the nurse occupation just yet because of the whole women thing. i will however erase that mindset now and hopefully i did not offend anyone out there. 

Dec 26, 12 6:46 pm
Male nurses are in huge demand in the US right now.
Dec 28, 12 12:31 am

Batman, you could always become a Witch Doctor and call it a day!  Dress up in opressive black and wear a cape and tights, and go practice you trade in both the architectural world and the medicine world and no one would be the wiser.

Dec 28, 12 7:37 am

wait... hold up... You think being surrounded by women (who are often young and in shape)  is a bad thing? 

Um... would you rather work in sausagefest profession like engineering or construction? lol

Dec 28, 12 1:24 pm


Dec 28, 12 1:45 pm


Dec 28, 12 2:32 pm

Batman, what have you done finally? because i have also the same dilemma 

Apr 8, 15 5:53 pm

hey batman and nast, any update on this? What happened to both of you?

Been having this thoughts for 2 years now. I recently passed my licensure exam for architecture and now wants to pursue this shift. Any advice?

Oct 6, 18 3:42 am

My Brother in law did two years in Architecture and then switched to Medicine and has been practicing as a doctor for the last 20 years.  Great craftsman / hobbieist who builds fantastic, furniture, canoes, guitars etc.

Jan 11, 19 12:43 pm

Wow this is an oldie but a goodie. So much horrible information.. don't listen to what that pretentious nincompoop BrianYamagata is saying. You don't have to be a fucking MENSA Peace Corp Navy SEAL to get into medical school. Know what you call a shitty doctor who graduated last in his/her class and did med school in the Caribbean? Doctor. All kinds of dumbasses become doctors.

It's never too late to switch professions as long as you have the money to sustain the cost.

My advice to any architects, interns, or students interested in switching to a career in medicine is to DO IT. Architecture is a horrible career choice.

Jan 12, 19 6:52 am

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