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No, No I Will Not Call You Doctor: Medical vs. Doctorate Debate

No, No I Will Not Call You Doctor: Medical vs. Doctorate Debate

June 16, 2014

Phoenix Weather

I get it people are proud of their accomplishments and I don’t mean to diminish the amount of work it takes to get advanced degrees; but, it’s pompous, pretentious  and when taken out of context  confusing when people outside of the medical community, who have received a doctorate demand that people refer to them as “doctor,” everywhere.  And if anyone knows about being pompous and pretentious-well I’m writing the book (quite literally-reformed-for the most part).

Google search analytics for Killing My Career "kind of Dr is Matt Pace ch 12 az," indicates viewers are needlessly confused based on the image of a title

Google search analytics for Killing My Career “kind of Dr is Matt Pace ch 12 az,” indicates viewers are needlessly confused based on the image of a title.

Academically yes, use the term; however, when a local meteorologist is telling the greater Phoenix area it’s going to be sunny and hot, (there’s a 90% chance of guessing the weather correctly) I wince every time I hear the anchors pitch to the meteorologist Dr. Matt PaceUnless Dr. Pace can also hand suture my severed arm back on to my torso after I’m blown apart by a freak Arizona tornado, I’m not calling him doctor.

And the news station responsibly should also put the letters Ph.D in Meteorology after his name.  Yes, it’s implied but I’ve had to explain to extrememly educated people (who shall remain nameless) that this guy has a Ph.D  and not an actual medical doctor.  (I know but they really are smart (and maybe a little drunk at the time) but it’s not such a stretch when you look at the Twitter handle @DrMatt12News-it’s pretentious when he discusses haboobs and doesn’t handle the boobs.  What about something weather related to the Twitter handle?  Like MonsoonMatt?

Doctor Matt Pace PhD

I remember having a conversation with a very pretentious Stanford grad who was droning on and on about my “State” school education vs. his “Stanford” education and for once I just let it go.  Finally someone at the table said, “You do realize we all know you make about $60K as an engineer and she makes over $250K in sales?”

It’s really not about how much money you make or how educated you are, it’s about how much of an asshole you really want to be.  I do believe that receiving your doctorate could be rewarded and used in contract negotiations if the person with an advanced degree can show practical application and real world experience to support the position.  Just because someone has a doctorate or M.B.A doesn’t automatically in my mind equate with them with “expert.”  I know many an “expert,” who just never wanted to get jobs and went to school forever.  I’d hire someone with real world experience over a million advanced degrees without practical application in most circumstances.

Nurses also get doctorates and some (not all) demand to be referred to as Doctor Nurse?  What the fuck? It’s like everyone gets a trophy: The Education Edition.  Again my background is in medicine and in that world the term doctor means you can fix someone either with stiches or shots but not by telling people it’s sunny outside.  I understand the schools are teaching students who likely overpaid for their education that they have a “right” to be called “doctor.”

Do the work, gain the experience and earn the respect.  A title does not nor should it equate to automatic respect. Yes and honorary doctorates fall into this category too.  That’s worse, the person didn’t even do the “work,” and because they made a good movie  and want to transition to something serious (also see wears fake glasses)-they’ll toss around “Honorary Doctorate from…”

Doctor of Amphibious LettersKermit?  Where are your glasses? Is his Twitter handle DrKermit?  And some of you reading this may disagree and think I’m an asshole.  That’s alright call me an asshole just never Dr. Asshole.  Haters vs. Forced Accountability

UPDATED FROM Gawker:  Pitbull-Brags about Getting Fake Degree from Fake College

Pitbull Brags About Getting (Fake) Degree From (Fake) College


  • Nilah Walder

    Get real and stop being a cry baby! He is proud of his degree as you are of yours. When we see Dr. mixed with a t.v. channel we know that person holds a Ph.D!! People are not as stupid as you want to believe they are. How is it you think a tv station is responsible for adding Ph.D after their names? You can’t blame holders of Ph.D’s for “killing your career” you don need any help there! Grow up and rant against something worth wild!

    February 19, 2015 at 7:29 am
  • Katie Dates

    I believe if you put in the work to get a Ph.D. you have the right to be called Dr. The general public is intelligent enough to differentiate between a medical doctor and someone who has a Ph.D. It is not pretentious to use a title that you earned. The field of meteorology is often criticized for being incorrect or for just being a pretty face on TV. Personally, I think it is refreshing to see someone with a Ph.D. on TV. There is an entire field of meteorologists working in a variety of positions who have a M.Sc. or a Ph.D. who are finally being represented by Dr. Matt Pace. While he may not be a medical doctor, a degree in meteorology puts you in a position to save lives. It is not guesswork to predict severe weather and issue life saving warnings and watches. Furthermore, some people in the medical field are probably just as undeserving to be called a doctor. There are poor doctors out there, and there are medical doctors who use guess work to treat patients. Finally, as someone who has met Dr. Matt Pace, he is a very smart and down to earth young man. He is a professional in his field and he is doing a great job of representing the met community. He is not pompous or pretentious as you seem to indicate he may be. The entire time I spent with him he never once referred to his title or asked anyone to call him Dr. Matt Pace despite being among his peers in the local Phoenix meteorology community. If you were in a life threatening severe weather situation I am sure you would have no qualms in being advised on your personal safety by Dr. Matt Pace.

    June 19, 2015 at 1:27 pm
      • Katie Dates

        Miss Melayna, I do have one question for you. Seeing as you think the title Dr. for a Ph.D. is a “tactic used at schools to justify a higher cost for education,” couldn’t the same logic apply to medical professions that use the term Dr.? Now this question is just for curiosity’s sake on your belief. Dentist pay more to get the title Dr. yet their dental hygienist are the ones who do their cleanings and x-rays and other necessary tasks for the patients. Orthodontists and their assistants, OBGYN’s and their nurse practitioners, chiropractors and their assistants, and dermatologists and their nurse practitioners follow a similar pattern, and on regular visits you may never even see the Dr. In these and other cases throughout the medical community the nurses/ assistants have the same working knowledge and ability as the Dr., yet the person who completed the higher level of education has a title. In your above article you said that experience is normally better then education, and throughout the medical community nurses and assistants have the same or similar hands on experience as a Dr. And I mean this with no disrespect for any medical professional, and I greatly value all doctors and nurses. Both doctors and Matt Pace studied in the fields of science and math, both completed higher levels of education, which most likely were at the same time and financial cost. So should all doctors get the title Dr. if someone who earned a Ph.D. shouldn’t be entitled to use the title Dr. outside of the academic world?

        June 19, 2015 at 5:37 pm
          • Katie Dates

            I would like to point out in closing, that again the title Doctor in the medical field is also used to distinguish the education of the individual using the title from the peers who have the same hands on experience. Is it actually necessary? No. I have a doctor who prefers to be called by his first name, and I have never once confused him with his nurse practitioner. It could easily be argued that any form of a title, from Ms. vs Mrs. to the title Dr. is vain, but letting other people be proud of their accomplishments should never diminish anyone else’s sense of achievement. Would any medical doctor be bother by a Ph.D. going by Dr.? No, an educated person understands the difficult of receiving higher education, and should admire showing at least initiative to become well versed in your respective field. I was originally upset by you unwarranted attack on someone who is not vain or conceded as you seemed to think, but over time I became more upset that your blog is belittling anyone who has a Ph.D. In fact your own logic can be used to belittle doctors who on the surface your article seems to defend. It is almost insulting to anyone who has received more the a bachelor’s degree. While education does not always equate to experience someone trying to ‘better’ themselves in any way they see fit is a positive thing. And someone who has received a Ph.D. being on TV should be seen as a positive thing. While the education system has many flaws Dr. Pace is promoting higher education. His title may inspire people to go back to school, whether its just to finish a associates degree or to enter a graduate program. Furthermore, yes, you CAN google the weather and safety precautions for life threatening atmospheric situations, but I can also go on Web MD and check all my symptoms and potentially give myself a good self diagnosis. Although the internet can be utilized to learn anything it does not diminish any human’s ability. In closing I would like to say while this fun little debate was entertaining it seems neither of us will ever see each other’s perspectives, and while I will most likely read your response I will not be responding back to you as this is accomplishing nothing. Thanks for your spirited debate.

            June 23, 2015 at 9:36 am
  • JC

    Nice use of parentheticals.

    Were YOU drunk?

    Guess we need an english Professor, Ph.D. to supervise your postings “Dr!”

    July 11, 2015 at 6:29 pm
  • Robert

    “Do the work, gain the experience and earn the respect.”

    Um, Ph Ds did the work, that’s why they get to be called doctor! Also, the station isn’t calling the meteorologist “dr” out of respect for him but to show off that they have one doing their weather reports 🙂

    July 23, 2015 at 6:28 am
  • While I agree that no one should address someone who prints a degree off of a diploma mill as “doctor”, I’m going to disagree strongly on getting mad when people insist on being called “doctor”.

    If you receive a honorary doctorate from a real, accredited university, then you should enjoy the right to be addressed accordingly, but in any serious business circumstance, you should stipulate explicitly that your title is honorary, and obviously, make that known before any dealings. The only time you should be incensed is when a honorary doctor tries to sell himself as earned, because that’s fraud.

    As for people who earned the title, there’s even moreso a reason to use the title. The weatherman deserved it.

    No adult thinks all people addressed as doctors are MDs and for gosh sakes, people are going to true earned doctors more than honorary ones.

    December 13, 2015 at 8:52 pm
  • David

    “And the news station responsibly should also put the letters Ph.D in Meteorology after his name.”

    I don’t think that is necessary since he’s working in a job related to the subject he is a doctor in. In fact the opposite is probably more reasonable – if he were an MD or DO who for some reason had quit medicine (or a PhD in an unrelated field) and landed a gig reading the weather reports then that is where the news station should responsibly clarify that his ‘Dr’ title shouldn’t signify any expertise as far as the weather is concerned.

    You’ve also replied to a commented mentioning that:

    ‘Medical professional use of the term doctor (and I agree there are good and bad within every industry) is to distinguish level of education in life saving health scenarios and not a vanity plea for credibility.’

    This simply isn’t correct – the original use of ‘doctor’ was in academia, physicians adopted the term initially as a courtesy title in order to enhance their status/credibility at a time when the medical profession were sometimes treated as ‘quacks’. It wasn’t until later that MD degrees were awarded and physicians earned doctorates, in some countries such as the UK physicians don’t received doctorates upon graduating medical school and the title ‘Dr’ is still only a courtesy title for them unless they later earn an MD or PhD by research.(Also, confusingly, if they later become surgeons they then drop the title and revert to Mr or Ms as a homage to barber surgeons who were historically not physicians).

    Bottom line though is that your comments are rather misplaced, you’re talking about someone who has earned a real doctorate and is using it in context in his field. You might have a point if it were say a History PhD working in reception in a hospital (that would indeed be misleading) but a meteorologist working as a meteorologist has every right to use his earned title in a professional setting and ‘doctor’ is a title not a job description.

    April 12, 2016 at 6:43 pm
  • Hussali78

    So Einstein doesn’t deserve the title “dr” because he got a PhD in physics and is not a medical doctor but a newly-graduated GP with no work experience at all (except four years of education) deserves the title?

    If life-saving is the focus here, then we should start calling paramedics, nurses, firemen, policemen as drs, since they ALL save lives,some of them on a daily basis and heroically, either killing themselves in the process or endangering themselves. Many do better than a physician who’s glued to their desk.

    Btw, I’m a fan of Dr. Michiu Kaku. At least he’s not the type of doctor who kills people by mistake and gets away with it so easily. And no, I do not know a single person who was “saved” by a doctor, but I do know of many people with countless complaints against careless and incompetent doctors.

    May 23, 2016 at 8:20 am
  • Can Dr metoroglist please write me A prescription, I’m A little under the weather

    September 8, 2017 at 9:13 pm

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