Alternate Health-Related Career Options
Not everyone is qualified to enter the health care field as a
doctor (MD) or dentist (DDS). Reasons for this are varied, but
typically involve GPA or standardized test scores, as most schools
use these criteria to make initial admission decisions. If you're
not qualified, then there is no point in continuing to pursue
something that is simply out of reach. Focus instead on changing
your view of health care and find an area where you are qualified
and will succeed!
A great resource for finding information about health-related
careers can be viewed by clicking on the following link to
healthprofessions.com. In addition to the more traditional health
care fields, this site contains some interesting alternatives
Listed below are some of the more common health care fields that
differ from those that students normally think about.
Podiatry: Podiatry focuses on the health and
well-being of the foot and lower leg. Graduates will obtain their
DPM after a four-year course of study. The course requirements for
acceptance into a podiatric school of medicine are identical to
that for medical school, but the average accepted GPA is lower
(typically a GPA>3.0 is considered a good score) and the MCAT,
DAT, OAT, or GRE scores are accepted.
Chiropractic Medicine: Chiropractic medicine
focuses on a more naturalistic or holistic approach to healing.
Students graduate with a DCP degree. Applicants to these schools
typically have completed biology, chemistry, and physics
requirements and typically have a cumulative GPA >3.25.
Occupational Therapy: An Occupational Therapist
has direct interaction with all sorts of patients from nursing care
to sports medicine. Entry into an occupational therapy program
(MOT) requires significantly more psychology and biology, but
requires only general chemistry. The GPA must be 3.0 or above.
Speech-Language Pathology and/or Audiology:
This deals with disorders that affect communication skills. Entry
into these programs is competitive and requires a GPA of 3.4 or
above. In addition, the GRE is required and the admission
prerequisites will vary from school to school.
RN/MSN Program: This program involves obtaining
an RN degree (through an accelerated 18 month program) and then
completing the Master's of Science in Nursing. There are a number
of different areas of specialty you could focus on and several
Butler students have chosen this route as an alternative to medical
However, if your grades just do not match up with the
requirements for becoming a health care professional, you may want
to consider becoming a health care assistant. Dental assisting,
medical assisting, and physical therapy assisting are possible
options that place you in the health care field and give you
opportunities for direct patient interaction.
Academic Opportunities for Students Interested in Medicine
If you didn't make it into medical school on your first try and
are still committed to pursuing this goal, consider a Master's or a
Ph.D. degree from the medical school you are most interested in
attending. Programs offered through the IU School of Medicine
include a Master's or Doctoral degree in the following areas:
- Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Molecular Genetics
- Public Health
More information about these programs, including application
requirements and deadlines, can be found by visiting http://grad.medicine.iu.edu/
and selecting the appropriate department. Midwestern University in
Chicago has a Master's in Biomedical Science program that is
designed to give students a detailed education and increase the
chances of acceptance into their osteopathic medical school. To
learn more about this program, visit
Additional web-based research will lead you to other educational
opportunities. One site that might prove helpful is:
You may also wish to consider an advanced degree in bioethics.
Here you would have the option of several different degree
possibilities. Visit http://www.bioethics.iu.edu
for more information on the programs at Indiana University
If you would like assistance in finding more information about
these programs, please search the web or come and talk with the