Pre-med can be short for either “premedication” or “premedical.” Any sort of medication or medical treatment provided to a patient before surgery or other form of treatment is considered premedication. The study of pre-med involves many different subjects, some of which are briefly described here.
Biology – study of life cycles of living organisms
Calculus – study of the mathematical way of calculating change
Neuroscience – study of various sciences used to understand and examine the brain and nervous system
Organic chemistry – study of the structure of and effects caused by carbon compounds; main elements studied include carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen
Physics – study of interactions between matter and energy
*Note: A bachelors degree level of pre-med program is often an adjunct program, not a major. It is not uncommon for students to major in sciences that may help them advance their knowledge in pre-med in preparation for medical school and masters degree programs.
While in high school, consult your guidance counselor for advice on how to improve your chances of getting into a premedical degree program. Your high school may offer courses that could give you a head start on the basics of premedication and premedical procedures. You should begin applying to schools during the beginning of your senior year to help you secure a spot in a school of your choice, and always be sure to apply to multiple schools in order to give yourself options.
Boston University offers students the opportunity to form their own pre-med programs. The school provides a general curriculum with courses meant to prepare students for future education in medical school in addition to encouraging them to pursue other majors. It boasts that students are able to “create [their] own undergraduate path” to best prepare them for the futures of their dreams. Some students choose to major in subjects in which they can learn theories and procedures that can be applied to premedical studies; whereas, other students choose completely unrelated majors while still choosing to follow the pre-med curriculum. This allows students to create customized curricula in order to gain knowledge to use for various types of jobs, increasing the likelihood of them landing jobs after graduation. Boston University also has faculty who serve as pre-professional advisors to students looking to enter health-related fields, such as dentistry and medical.
Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Medicine offers graduate students the chance to earn a Premedical Graduate Certificate. This one-year certificate program allows students to gain the knowledge necessary to attend medical school, and once completed, it also increases their chances of acceptance to medical school. If students do not intend on pursuing education at another medical school, completing this certificate program is a good way to slide into earning a masters degree or a doctoral degree while attending the university’s School of Medicine. Students who choose to pursue a masters degree at the School of Medicine may choose from subjects ranging anywhere from addiction studies to pharmacology to medical physics. Ph.D. programs at Virginia Commonwealth University focus on biomedical sciences.
Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Duquesne University provides a Pre-Medical and Health Professions Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program (PMHP-PB) for students to participate in who have already earned a bachelors degree. This certificate program is meant to assist students in gaining the knowledge necessary to successfully complete their basic medical school entrance exams, such as the MCAT and GRE. In addition to preparing students for these exams, professors also aim to provide students with education for the basic requirements necessary for acceptance into medical school. Students involved in the PMHP-PB Certificate Program may also choose to complete a masters degree simultaneously. Duquesne University encourages students to participate in one of the three masters programs related to the medical field–biotechnology, health management systems, and health care leadership–but it is not unheard of for students to go on to pursue master degrees in other subjects.
*Note: Pre-med programs are not always considered pre-med majors. Most schools encourage undergraduate students to major in relevant subjects, like chemistry or biology, while taking courses in pre-med adjunct programs.
Post Pre-Med DegreesMany students are satisfied with earning a pre-med degree, but it is not uncommon for people who have earned pre-med degrees to pursue further medical education. Below is just a sample of different degrees people often pursue after earning pre-med degrees.
- Veterinary science
Careers in Pre-Med
During your time earning your pre-med certificate, you should start thinking about what career paths interest you the most as well as what medical school you are interested in attending. This section provides examples of career paths you may qualify for once you have earned your pre-med certificate and completed medical school, often an additional four years of higher education.
A veterinarian serves as a care provider to various animals, often pets like dogs and cats. Veterinarians perform everything from basic checkups to planned or emergency surgeries, often aware of what is best for the animals. They may also travel to farms in order to provide attention to animals from cows to horses, ensuring they are in top shape for performing services that farmers require of them. Veterinarians possess good communication skills and a special talent for working with animals of all kinds. If you have a particular affinity for the well-being of animals, then earning a pre-med certificate and attending veterinary school just may be the ideal future for you.
Veterinarians may earn around $79,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.
Surgeons may specialize in one of many areas of care, including but not limited to cardiology, neurology, obstetrics, and podiatry. Despite their varying specialties, surgeons all have at least one common goal–help heal patients of physical pain and extract any dangers that may threaten the well-being and/or lifespan of patients. They possess outstanding communication and coordination skills as well as the ability to pay strict attention to detail and have graduated from accredited medical or dental schools.
The annual salary of a surgeon often depends on his or her specialty in addition the education and experience he or she has received through medical school, internships, and years of practice. It is not uncommon, however, for a surgeon to earn anywhere from $74,000 to over 245,000 a year.
A dentist tends to people’s mouths, more specifically their teeth and gums, in order to ensure the oral health of his or her patients. Dentists perform basic oral maintenance, including fluoride treatments; and they also take care of medical issues that may arise from poor oral hygiene or accidents, performing procedures like root canals and other necessary surgeries in the mouth. Dentists have a knack for detecting minute details in order to pick out any issues that need medical attention or just for basic cleaning. They also possess excellent written and verbal communication skills, as they often perform paperwork for records and insurance purposes weekly in addition to seeing patients.
Dentists may earn around $130,000 annually, based on education and experience levels as well as whether they own their own practices or work in a joint office.
A pediatrician specializes in the general care of young children from infancy to their adolescent years. He or she may also be called in by a hospital if one of his or her patients is in its care in an effort to both keep the patient calm and stay up-to-date with treatments the pediatrician’s patient is receiving. It also helps hospital staff understand the needs and limits of the pediatrician’s patient. Pediatricians may work in pediatric offices or children’s hospitals and possess excellent communication skills with the ability to relate to both children and their parents.
Depending on where they work and their education and experience levels, pediatricians may earn an annual salary of $145,000.
Companies that Hire People with Pre-Med Certificates
Where can you work once you have studied for a pre-med certificate and passed medical school? Universities, hospitals, and health clinics are examples of just a few types of places that hire people with pre-med certificates and/or medical degrees. Below is a brief list of companies that have jobs you can get after earning a pre-med certificate and/or graduating from medical school.
St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children – located in Philadelphia, PA; one of the US’s oldest full-service hospitals and is solely dedicated to the care of children; hires positions for physicians, pediatric nurses, etc.
Bright Future Pediatrics, LLC – located in Camden Dover, DE; hires positions for pediatricians, nurse practitioners, etc.
Pacific Dental Services – locations throughout western US; hires positions for dentists, dental hygienists, pediatric dentists, etc.
Animal Hospital of Polaris – located in Lewis Center, OH; hires positions for veterinarians, etc.
The job market is a highly competitive place for those with pre-med certificates and medical degrees, so it is important that you take advantage of any internship or student work programs available to you in order to gain exceptional experience. Taking part in these types of programs helps build your resume, which in turn impresses potential employers. If you have a unique and appealing resume, you are certainly going to rank higher than someone with just a pre-med degree and part-time irrelevant work experience. If you find yourself intrigued by the medical field and wanting to help others, then you should seriously consider earning a pre-med degree.