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

February 14, 2013
Emily Hause

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!


Emily Hause Emily has been a teacher for Kaplan for over eight years; she's taught MCAT, ACT, SAT, SAT2 and tutored pretty much every subject under the sun in both the classroom and live online (aka Classroom Anywhere) settings. She's also worked for Kaplan in content development and teacher mentorship roles. Emily is currently a fourth-year medical student at the University of Colorado and is hoping to go into Pediatrics. She's involved in many campus opportunities such as being a Prospective Student Representative, admissions committee member, CU-UNITE member, and co-president of the Education and Teaching Interest Group. Prior to medical school, Emily got a BA in Biochemistry and Spanish from Lawrence University and a Masters in Public Health- Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. In her free time, Emily enjoys dancing, baking, playing tennis and exploring her new Colorado home.

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