Doctors don't seem to be especially enthusiastic about their work these days. One recent survey of over 13,000 physicians found 84 to say the profession is in decline. More than half wouldn't recommend the career path to their children.

Students, however, don't look to be taking their advice: A record number of students applied to medical school in 2012 according to new data from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Applications have risen over the past decade, growing more quickly over the past few years than they did in the mid-2000s.

For all the pessimism about medicine from current doctors, there's a lot of enthusiasm from potential doctors -- and with good reason. It's still one of the top paid fields in the country, with over a quarter of physicians counting themselves among the top 1 percent of earners in the United States. Doctors are among the most trusted professions. Seventy percent of patients think their doctors have high or very high ethical standards. Doctors rank third in terms of most-respected professions, right behind firefighters and scientists.

All complaints from current doctors aside, it doesn't seem like such a shabby profession at all.