REQ for info on virology

Janet Foley jefoley at UCDAVIS.EDU
Mon Jun 12 12:31:30 EST 1995

On 12 Jun 1995, Ed Rybicki wrot

> Quotable Quote:
> "The starting point for anyone interested in virology is the undergraduate biology major.
> Then there is a fork in the road at which the person chooses to seek a degree from a
> medical school or veterinary school or to enter a Ph.D program in virology per se. Either
> way you go, I can say "it's a wonderful life". "
> - Access Excellence's interview with Frederick Murphy 
> Who could say more?  If you want to earn more money and have more 
> opportunities in the field, do a medical / veterinary degree first 
> (you can then do clinical practice); if you are more pure of heart, 
> do a basic science degree then follow the research route.  You won't 
> ever get rich, and you'll struggle for a decent job in the filed, 
>'s fun.  And that's why most of us do it, whatever we say.
>  ______________________________________________________
>  |     Ed Rybicki, PhD      |  ed at   |
>  |    Dept Microbiology     | University of Cape Town |
>  | Private Bag, Rondebosch  |   7700, South Africa    |
>  |   fax: x27-21-650 4023   | phone: x27-21-650-3265  |
>  ------WWW URL:
>    "And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
>       From the profit he's made on your dreams..."
Dear Ed, and other interested folks;

You've got to be kidding about the veterinary degree bit. In the U.S. the 
average starting salary for a graduate from a vet. school (i.e. four 
years of undergrad, four years of vet school, plus or minus master's etc. 
is about 28,000-30,000. My ex-husband got a job starting at 40,000 with a 
BS (4 yrs) in computer science and went up to 80,000 in just a few years. 
As an associate vet in private practice, I will never make more than 
50,000. I left practice after 2 years with a job offer for 45,000 and 
went into a post-doc in virology, vet micro. starting at 32,000, the 
going rate for a vet. at the University of California. If I wanted a 
permanent academic position, I would be virtually required to get a PhD 
(i.e. the DVM is useful but actually only a minor career enhancement), at 
which time the PhD could earn me, what up to 70,000? This is  a guess, I 
don't know what full profs. here make. However, after all this whining, 
let me state that I loved vet school and I love being a vet. I felt the 
training was highly worthwhile, I love the job options and security ( 
which I would totally lack as a PhD), and I love my research. For the 
original query, I urge you to contact me directly if you are at all 
curious about veterinary academic research. Its not everybody's cup of 
tea. But DO NOT go into it for the money. (ps, my husband, a PhD in 
genetics, and I make exactly the same.)

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