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Preparing for a Career in Medicine

Physicians diagnose and treat individuals suffering from illness or disease. This requires the ability to perform physical examinations, take medical histories, and interpret diagnostic tests. Physicians can work in many different specialties, including family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, and other fields. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the need for physicians is anticipated to grow 24% between 2010 and 2020, especially in rural and urban locations.

“There are two types of physicians: M.D.—Doctor of Medicine—and D.O.—Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. M.D.s also are known as allopathic physicians. While both M.D.s and D.O.s may use all accepted methods of treatment, including drugs and surgery, D.O.s place special emphasis on the body’s musculoskeletal system, preventive medicine, and holistic patient care. D.O.s are most likely to be primary care specialists although they can be found in all specialties, and currently represent over 6.5% of the total U.S. physician population.” For an explanation of the uniqueness of the D.O. degree, see the American Osteopathic Association.

For more information on careers related to the “Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)” degree, see the AAMC Web site.

For more information on careers related to the “Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O),” see the AOA Web site

Medical school prerequisites:

PREREQUISITES (for those intending to take the MCAT in January 2015 or later):

  • One year of general chemistry with laboratory
  • One year of organic chemistry with laboratory
  • One year of biology with laboratory
  • One year of physics with laboratory
  • One semester of pre-calculus or calculus (required by some schools)
  • One semester of statistics
  • One semester of psychology
  • One semester of sociology
  • One semester of biochemistry
  • Additional suggested courses: anatomy and physiology, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, advanced chemistry courses
  • Completion of the MCAT exam in the spring prior to the summer application cycle
  • Evidence of the ability to work with the general public
  • Shadowing/experience with the medical profession

For further information on careers in medicine, see the U.S. Department of Labor web site

To apply to medical schools, see the following links:

Applying to medical school and attending medical school is costly. Check out these resources: