Rethinking a career as a physician? You’re not alone

During your freshman year of college orientation, everyone wanted to know what your major was and most likely you responded confidently, “Pre-med.” Now, in your Sophmore, Junior or even Senior Year, you may find yourself re-thinking your decision to apply to medical school and a recent article published in the student newspaper at Penn shows that you are not alone.

The article highlights the positive aspects of changing your career path- mainly that all of the skills and knowledge that you gained by taking your pre-med classes is greatly in demand, even if you don’t want to become a practicing physician. There are lots of other options for pre-med students who are interested in direct patient care, but do not want to become an M.D. such as careers as a nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant or physical therapist.

There are also many options in healthcare-related industries; for example pre-med students are in high-demand at medical device companies, healthcare management companies, public health organizations and health coaching programs. Several higher-level degree programs in health related fields such as epidemiology, biomedical ethics or health policy also view the strong foundation in science and critical-thinking, which is emphasized in a pre-medical course-load, as an asset for applicants.

Now, it may send you into waves of panic if you contemplate deviating from the career path that you set-out upon several years ago, but with medical school admissions rates staying roughly constant while the number of applicants increases, it will be a reality that some pre-med students will need to venture on a different career path. If, however, you have your heart set on becoming a physician, do take the time to check out Alex’s post about medical school admissions statistics and how to increase your chances of being accepted to medical school.

Happy studying!


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