Center for High Achievement & Scholarly Engagement
Pre-Graduate and Pre-Professional Advising

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 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.

Public Health

Sports Medicine

Forensic Science

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 school.

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:

  • Anatomy
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Microbiology
  • Pathology
  • Public Health

More information about these programs, including application requirements and deadlines, can be found by visiting 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 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 pre-health advisor.