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What Can I Do with a Pre-Med Degree?

A degree in pre-med is designed to prepare you for medical school, but that doesn't mean you have to be a doctor. Read on to discover more information on pre-med education and what jobs you can get with a pre-med degree.

What is a Pre-Med Degree?

Pre-med degree programs are designed for students who want to pursue a medical or science-related career. The term 'pre-med' refers to the prerequisite coursework that medical schools require for admittance.

Pre-med typically isn't offered as a standalone major. Instead, you might choose a major in a related subject, such as chemistry or biology, and complete a pre-med curriculum in addition to your major. There are many options available to you once you've completed your bachelor's program, including medical school, entry-level careers and other graduate study. Below is an overview on the common types of pre-med careers, along with pre-med salary information.

Important Facts About Pre-Med Career Options

High School Teacher Clinical Lab Technologist Mechanical Engineer
Median Salary (2018) $60,320 $52,330 (clinical laboratory technologists and technicians) $87,370
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% growth 12% growth (medical and clinical laboratory technologists) 9% growth
Key Skills Clear communication; patience; ingenuity Technologically savvy; attention to detail; manual dexterity; physical stamina Problem solving; solid mathematical foundation; creativity; active listening
Similar Occupations Career and technical education teachers; childcare workers; librarians Biological technicians; chemists and materials scientists; chemical technicians Materials engineers; drafters; mathematicians

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Medical School

If you dream of becoming a physician, a pre-med program can provide you with a strong science curriculum that serves as a foundation for medical school. It's important to note that most medical schools don't require a specific undergraduate major; in fact, many schools encourage diversity in their candidates' course of study and routinely admit non-science majors. Most medical schools require that your undergraduate program include a minimum number of courses in science and math, including biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and calculus.

Entry-Level Career Options

While many careers might require some additional training or certification, several entry-level opportunities do exist. For example, if you've completed pre-med coursework in addition to a major in a natural science, you're generally qualified for an entry-level career in science, such as research assistant or biology teacher. If you were pre-med in addition to a non-science major, such as English literature or engineering, you might qualify for an entry-level position as a clinical lab technologist, mechanical engineer or patient services representative.

If you have an interest in the medical field but don't want to commit to the many years of additional education it takes to become a doctor, there are many options for terminal professional certificate or diploma programs in allied healthcare. Some popular certificate programs include nuclear medicine technology, physician's assistant training, informatics and medical dosimetry.

Graduate Options

With a pre-med degree, you also might be qualified to pursue advanced study in several areas of graduate school, depending on your other interests and experience. If you hold a degree in a natural science like biology, you might pursue a master's or doctoral degree and specialize in a particular area of study, such as microbiology or epidemiology. Most advanced natural science degree programs involve both classroom study and laboratory work.

If you like working with animals and particularly enjoy biology, you might decide to pursue veterinary school. If you like working with athletes and want to help people recover from injuries or surgery, you might want to pursue a graduate program in physical therapy. Other options you could pursue include dentistry, psychiatry and occupational therapy.