It’s no secret that college graduates are in the best shape of their lives.
They have the best job prospects, the best homes, the highest incomes and the best chances for success in the workforce.
But is the best of this education actually possible?
In a new study, The Yale School of Medicine and the Yale School for Medicine and Dentistry analyzed data from the American College of Surgeons, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the American Board of Surgery to answer this question.
The researchers found that even though students who took medical school in the U.S. today make less than they did in 2005, their postgraduate degrees are worth it.
In fact, they were awarded nearly as much as a full year’s worth of training in all three disciplines.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that students who entered medical school during the recession and had to find other work are actually much more likely to return to school to complete their medical degree.
“The study provides the first empirical evidence that students with pre-recession job opportunities, in the form of temporary positions or a permanent position, are more likely than students who were forced to leave their jobs and start their careers from scratch to complete postgraduate training,” said Dr. Steven J. Siewert, associate dean of the School of Medicine at Yale.
“While we cannot prove that medical school graduates are better off financially than their counterparts prior to the recession, our study provides compelling evidence that their postgraduation training has been worth the investment.”
For students who had to look for work in the recession after they graduated, they may have had to spend more than a year on their degree, according to Siewith.
The study found that students returning to medical school after the recession were much more than twice as likely to graduate as those who entered the workforce from the beginning of the recession.
“There is no doubt that the postgraduates have been much better off than the workforce overall, but we cannot discount that many of them have been able to continue to participate in postgraduate education after the economic downturn,” Siewitz said.
The report also shows that while medical schools have changed in terms of how they teach and train, the process of obtaining a degree remains largely the same.
The most important thing about the postgraduate medical education program is the training, not the degree.
The full report can be read here.