Students learning in patient room
Students learning in patient room

Career Changers

Changing Careers to Health Care

Whether you’re a teacher or a nurse, a medical lab technician or a computer programmer, Ross University Medical School (RUSM) could be the next step as you switch to a healthcare career.

We’ve graduated students in similar situations who dream of becoming doctors. They’ve gone on to earn their MDs, attain residencies and fellowships, and move on to careers as physicians. Are you contemplating changing careers to healthcare? Are you currently in the healthcare field and want to change healthcare careers? RUSM can help you prepare for a new role as a physician. 

The majority of students who matriculate into medical school in the United States are in their early to mid-twenties. Although older students may find it more difficult to gain admission to medical schools, they may also find that their maturity and life experience are taken into consideration by schools willing to give “nontraditional” students an opportunity to study medicine in addition to offering opportunities to change healthcare careers. A mid-career switch to healthcare can be the beginning of a meaningful future as a doctor. 

What are the Attributes of a Career-Changing Medical Student?
  • May be older than “traditional” medical school students who enter medical school directly after completing their undergraduate degree – non-traditional medical school students are often in their late 20s, 30s, or even 40s
  • May have different levels of maturity than fresh-out-of-undergrad students

  • May have broader levels of work experience, giving them a deeper understanding of business and industry

  • Often have worked in a medically related profession, which can give their applications—and life at medical school—a boost

What Types of Jobs Have Our Graduates and Current Students Had When They’re Changing Careers to Healthcare?

Wondering what jobs our graduates and currents students have come from when they’re changing careers?  Whether you’re looking for a career changes for nurses, education professionals, or computer science we've accepted career-changers from both medical and non-medical backgrounds, including:

  • Respiratory therapists

  • Nurses

  • EMTs

  • Paramedics

  • Physician assistants

Outside the medical realm, the list gets even more varied. The following is just a sample of careers that Ross graduates have worked in prior to changing careers to healthcare:

  • Elementary education

  • Computer science

  • Project management/engineering

  • Athletic training

  • Professional sports

Your Next Steps

If you have the drive, commitment and desire to become a physician, you may be a strong candidate for medical school, regardless of your age. Before you start on any of the steps below, we encourage you to contact the RUSM Office of Admissions . Our admissions team can help you determine if medical school is right for you, how to prepare, and the process of applying and enrolling. We can answer any questions you might have about changing healthcare careers, including questions about career changes for nurses.

Step 1: Fulfill Our Admissions Requirements

Ross considers not just your overall cumulative undergraduate GPA, but also your GPA for required coursework. Depending on your GPA in either of the above scenarios, you might need to take a good, hard look at re-taking some courses to boost your academic record as necessary. Our admissions team can help you determine what classes you’ll need and whether you need to retake any courses, so be sure to reach out to them at

Remember: Ross also considers non-academic qualities, like maturity and professionalism, and supporting materials, like your personal essay, interview, and letters of recommendation.

  • Inorganic or General Chemistry: Two semesters (eight semester hours) with laboratories

  • Organic Chemistry: Two semesters (eight semester hours) with laboratories

  • General Biology or Zoology: Two semesters of biology or zoology with laboratories

  • Physics: Two semesters (eight semester hours) with laboratories

  • Mathematics: One semester of college-level mathematics (three semester hours), preferably calculus or statistics

  • English: Two semesters (six semester hours). Canadian students may satisfy the English requirements in 4 possible ways: (1) 2 semesters of University humanities where essays composed at least 40% of the overall mark, (2) those holding a grade 13 English credit in Ontario, (3) International Baccalaureate English and (4) Advanced Placement English.

Step 2: Take the MCAT

The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is an exam that most medical schools, including all US medical schools, require from prospective students before they offer admission. MCAT scores make up a significant part of your medical school student profile, and it’s critical that you know what to expect. The MCAT recently changed in 2015, adding new content and coursework, so take a look at our dedicated MCAT resource here. For upcoming test dates, visit our MCAT calendar page.

Step 3: Get Some Experience, and Remember That It Isn’t All About Your Academic Record

If you aren’t coming from a medically related field, like a career changing nurse, it might be worth it to try to gain exposure to healthcare, either through a job in a healthcare environment or through volunteering or shadowing a physician. Not only will this give you an inside look at the world of medicine, but it’ll give you valuable medically related experience that will go a long way toward boosting your medical school application. For more on that, check out a blog post written by Associate Dean of Admissions Carey James about the value of medically related experience, plus some tips on where to go to earn some.

Keep in mind, though, that medically related experience will help—but it won’t get you all the way to medical school. Your academic record plus other qualities, like maturity, professionalism, and documents like your personal essay or letters of recommendation, all play a role too.

Step 4: Apply

To start your application and for other fast facts about the application process, go here.