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Resources for Current Students

Preparing to be a Healthcare Professional: academics, research, shadowing, experiences, community service, professional competencies

This is information is meant to help students prepare to make the decision to pursue a health profession:

Exploring the Health Professions

Not sure which type of health professional is right for you? Unsure what else you can do in medicine besides go to medical school? Explore Health Careers is a great site to learn about all of the types of health professions, what they do and what you need to get there!!

As you review the information consider the following questions:

  • What tasks do I envision doing with patients?
  • How long do I want to be in school?
  • How many hours per week do I want to work?
  • Do I want to work under the supervision of another professional or on my own?
  • Am I comfortable with making difficult decisions?

The answers to these questions will help you narrow down the careers you might consider.

What is the daily life of a physician? of a dentist? How do you know that you want to become a physical therapist? One way to learn about your chosen career is to follow a current health professional around for a few days. This is called shadowing, and it is a great way to explore the various health professions. To learn more, and how to find professionals to shadow, open the attachment.

Learn more about Shadowing Health Professionals.

This class is a zero credit course held every spring semester. The focus of the class is to introduce you to various careers in medicine through guest speakers, learn some valuable skills in medicine, and learn more about yourself. It is recommended for second semester first-year students, but anybody from sophomores to post-baccs and graduate students is welcome to attend!

Read the Spring 2020 syllabus.

This pamphlet was prepared by osteopathic students for prospective students, and will answer a lot of questions that you might have about osteopathic medicine.

Read a Brief Guide to Osteopathic Medicine, For Students, By Students.

Preparing for a Career in the Health Professions

Most health professions require completion of a graduate degree of some type, such as a four-year medical school to be a physician, a three-year doctoral program to become a physical therapist, or a master's program to become a physician assistant. Most graduate programs require successful completion of specific classes to be able to apply. Please open this folder to find typical course requirements for various health professions.

Clinical experience helps you to learn more about your chosen career, as well as develop important skills. There are many ways to obtain clinical experience, from shadowing or volunteering in a hospital to working as a medical assistant or EMT-B.

Shadowing a health professional and volunteering in a local hospital or clinic require the least amount of time. Shadowing may occur over a few days to a week (or one day a week for a few months) and you can usually volunteer at a hospital for four hours a week for a year. These experiences are an excellent way to learn about the profession and be exposed to patient care.

For a more in-depth exposure to healthcare and/or first-hand patient interaction, you should consider working or volunteering as a medical scribe, medical assistant, pharmacy assistant, dental assistant, vet tech, phlebotomist, Certified Nurses Assistant, or Emergency Medical Technician-Basic. These experiences will take more time, from 15 to 40 hours a week depending on the position. Some of these experiences require coursework (phlebotomist, CNA, EMT-B) while others may provide on-the-job training (medical scribe, some medical assistant positions).

Research experience can occur in any field, from biology and biochemistry to philosophy or international relations. Research teaches you to ask questions, critically analyze data and draw conclusions, skills that will be very useful when working with patients. Students can get involved in research both on- and off-campus.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has collaborated with medical schools around the United States to create a list of core competencies that schools look for in applicants. Read the Core Competencies for Entering Medical School.

These competencies can be developed and demonstrated through academic, clinical, research and community service experiences.

Post-Baccalaurete Certificate

To request information, schedule a visit, or apply to the Post-Baccalaurete program, visit the Post-Bacc Program webpage.