CHANGING CAREERS TO ATTEND MEDICAL SCHOOL AND BECOME A PHYSICIAN
Whether you’re a teacher or a nurse, a medical lab technician or a computer programmer, Ross could be the next step in your journey to an MD degree. We’ve graduated students who have likely been in very similar situations to yours, and they’ve gone on to earn their MDs, attain residencies and fellowships, and move on to careers as physicians.
The vast 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.
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
We’ve Accepted Career-Changers from Both Medical and Non-Medical Backgrounds
Wondering what jobs our graduates and currents students have come from when they’re changing careers? In the medical realm, they include:
- Respiratory therapists
- 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 starting medical school:
- Elementary education
- Computer science
- Project management/engineering
- Athletic training
- Professional sports
Examples of Ross Grads Who Have Made the Career Switch
Prior Career: Nursing
Where Is She Now? Neurology residency at University of Ottawa in her home country of Canada.
Prior Career: Faculty
Where Is He Now? Completed residency in surgery at Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, Augusta, where he was named Resident of the Year in 2015; now at University of Minnesota for a colorectal surgery fellowship, with an eye on joining at practice at University Hospital in Augusta. Read more about Dr. King here.
Prior Career: Commodities broker
Where Is She Now? Dr. Jarvis has more than a decade of experience as a neurologist, and was recently named Medical Director of the Primary Stroke Center at North Shore Medical Center, Miami, FL.
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 strongly encourage you to contact the Ross Office of Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our admissions team can help you determine if medical school is right for you, what you need to do to be prepared, and the process of applying and potentially enrolling.
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 email@example.com.
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, 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 check out our application and for other fast facts about the application process, go here.