What courses should I take in college? How should I prepare for med school?
I'm currently at job corps for CNA training, but I'm working towards becoming a General Pediatrician in the future. Looking for advice of the best paths to take to becoming a General Pediatrician. I'm aware of the long journey ahead of me, but I'm also willing to work hard to get there. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! #doctor #medicine #pediatrics #healthcare #pediatrician #cna
Best of luck!
Aside from this, any major is acceptable as long as you complete the prerequisite courses.
Typical medical school prerequisites include:
Biology: Lecture – 4 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
General Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Organic Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Biochemistry: Lecture – 1 semester
General Physics: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Math: Statistics – 1 semester
English: Rhetoric (Composition) and Literature – 2 semesters
Do remember that community colleges offer a LOT of your prerequisite classes and cost WAY less than most 4-year undergrad programs at a university. I’ve known a lot of bright, successful medical professionals (and non-medical folks) who took their prereqs at community colleges for the first 2 years of their undergrad education and transferred to a state or private university to complete their undergraduate degrees AND, later, their professional school programs--MD, PA, NP, PhD, MBA, etc.
A quick search of courses you’d likely find on a med school’s prereq list include Biology I and II with labs, Chemistry I and II with labs, organic chemistry with the lab, biochemistry, Physics I and II +/- labs, Calculus I +/- II, at least one advanced-level (junior or senior level) biology course (like anatomy & physiology, microbiology, or genetics), some behavioral/social science courses (like psychology and sociology). Not sure if you have taken any AP courses, but bear in mind some programs don’t count those credits (much to my dismay when I applied!).
As Ryan mentioned there are other things you can do to help your chances of getting into medical school, make you a better healthcare professional, and help you decide if you even want to be a doctor or stay in the medical field at all.
Working as a CNA is a fantastic start! A couple of my PA coworkers started there (after college, even, so you’re ahead of the curve!). Some of the other work experience I’m aware my colleagues did before their post-graduate programs (MDs, DOs, & PAs) includes EMT, medical scribe, referrals coordinator in a doctor’s office, electrophysiology tech, and medical equipment sales rep.
A quick search revealed some other occupations you could pursue to gain additional hands-on medical experience, such as ultrasound tech, phlebotomist, x-ray technologist (we have a 6-month training program on weekends for non-certified x-ray technicians, or NCTs, in Texas, which is way shorter than a 2- to 4-year radiologic technician program), military corpsman, combat medic, EEG tech, medical laboratory tech, ER tech, physical therapy aide, respiratory therapist, CPR instructor, etc.
Volunteering ideas might include an international medical service trip/mission trip, volunteering at a children’s hospital or holding newborns at the hospital (both of which, as an aspiring pediatrician, you might rather enjoy), volunteering at a hospice facility, and public health volunteering (abroad or in the US, like teaching first aid or performing health & hygiene training). Later, there are programs for pre-med college students abroad, too. Just search the keywords if you’re interested in any of those to see what’s available to you.
Point being, you have a lot of options in terms of course work to think about starting soonish, lots of options professionally to expand your hands-on experience, and plenty of volunteering opportunities. Just keep asking questions, researching, and taking advantage of what’s out there!
Sarah recommends the following next steps: