1. bluetiger1941
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    bluetiger1941 New Member

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    What Profession?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by bluetiger1941, Jul 27, 2011.

    My WIP has three main male characters. It's set in a small town in the mid-1930s. Three friends graduate from high school together. One stays in the small town and continues working as a mechanic at a service station. One goes off to the state university with a vague idea of becoming an engineer - flunks out after only a year from too much partying and becomes an apprentice welder. My problem is with the third character.

    I want him to go off to a big city for a year to learn a profession. He returns home after the year and has earned the title "doctor". In the current draft I have him becoming an optometrist. Remember this is the 1930s. Could you become an optometrist after a years' formal training? Maybe with an apprenticeship after the formal training. I could have him becoming an optician, but I don't believe that profession carries the title of doctor. I thought about having him study chiropratic, but that just doesn't seem to work. He could become a minister, but I'm not sure that even in the 30s you could earn the title doctor with only a year's formal training.

    I might could stretch out the absence from their home town for two years, but I really prefer to have only one year's absence.

    I appreciate any thoughts.
     
  2. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Looking over quick google of medicine:
    1849- a woman got her medical degree, it does not say when she started, but she had not started school in 1845. Less then four years.

    http://www.chacha.com/question/how-much-did-it-cost-to-receive-a-degree-to-practice-medicine-in-the-1930%27s
    Interesting note;medical school $1000/yr

    Yatzee
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001936.htm
    7yrs=2yrs lib art degree+4yrs med school+1 yr internship
    It is possible people called him doc even though he was only a student.
    He might not be able to practice medicine but he could unofficially give aid.
    Not sure if he would feel comfortable within the first year.

    Many people in the military called the medic on our remote sight Doc.
    So a military medic could be called Doc.
    But he would probably be in the military.
     
  3. bluetiger1941
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    bluetiger1941 New Member

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    Thanks. That might not be a bad idea - I could have him go off to college to study pre-med; he gets disillusioned (the girl he was secretly in love with marries someone else while he's gone) and joins the army and trains as a medic. Even someone in high school planning to study pre-med could pick up the nickname "doc" from his friends.
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Keep in mind that the military - all branches - in the 1930s was severely limited in size. Do some research on your own before you go too far down that path. You may also be able to find some sources to tell you what kind of training was available for medics in the army in the '30s and how long it took.

    By the '30s, most professions (law, medicine, actuarial science) pretty much required a college degree as well as post-college education. So I'd be careful about what kind of profession he expected to learn without a college degree. People at that time who didn't go to college were more likely to learn a trade.
     
  5. bluetiger1941
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    bluetiger1941 New Member

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    Some good thoughts there Ed. Thanks. I'm still developing that character. I think I'll have him take a year of pre-med in the 37/38 school year, hence the nickname of "doc" among friends, then he drops out of college, apprentices himself with a local optometrist to become an unlicensed optician (set in Louisiana - opticians have never been licensed there). He'll enlist in the army in 1940 when we were in the pre-war build up.
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, 1940 works. As a side note, my father-in-law enlisted in 1940. He's now the oldest living veteran of the Army's First Division.
     
  7. bluetiger1941
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    bluetiger1941 New Member

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    Always great to hear of the greatest generation.
     
  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. Unfortunately, that generation didn't do too well in helping its members deal with the toll their courageous acts took on the individuals who did them.
     

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