What Kind of Job Should I Get Before Applying to Med School?

Session 109

With a current full-time job, kids, and a roof to put over her family’s head, this nontrad premed is wondering what she can do to get more exposure to medicine.

Today, we’re taking a question directly from the OldPreMeds forum. Check out all our forums on the site if you want to ask some questions as well answer some of them. Join the community!

[01:50] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

Our poster today is a 30-year-old married mom. She has worked in various office jobs over the last several years and is looking to go to medical school. She says,

“Since it will take me several semesters to complete all of those necessary chemistry classes in succession, I’m looking for some advice on other steps to take between now and applying to medical school.

My current full-time employment is an office job in digital marketing with no seniority but some scheduling flexibility. I would love to get a headstart on gaining health care experience outside of volunteering.

But I’m unsure of what would make the most sense. Maximizing present income is a not a huge priority. As a parent of young children, my time is in short supply. I also do not think I currently have the qualifications or relevant experience that medical scribing, admin assisting, etc. roles would require.

[Related episode: Medical School Mom: Balancing Family and School]

Would it be worthwhile to seek additional training in online programs such as a certified medical admin assistant course? I am intrigued by the idea of working as a medical scribe while completing my prerequisites. But I don’t know what I can do to make myself an attractive candidate for such a position at this point. Should I even try to get such a job?”

[03:35] What Job Should You Take As a Premed?

Something you might want to consider is to keep your current job or a similar one if you like it, and then do something medically-related, research- or clinical experience-related, for the other 20 hours a week or more. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing game.

[Related episode: Should I Quit My Job and Focus 100% on Being Premed?]

[05:34] Best Jobs for Premeds

Medical scribing is a great premed job.

You don’t need any experience to get a job as a medical scribe. The scribe company will train you. They’ll give you information about medical terminology, how to take notes and listen to physicians, and how to translate what they’re saying into notes. You will be trained to do all this.

Medical scribing is great. It's a minimum-wage job. If you're able to work part-time in your current office job and part-time as a medical scribe, that's a win-win.Click To Tweet

Medical admin is a non-clinical position. Don’t even bother doing it.

Being a Medical Assistant as a Premed

Medical assisting is an amazing job since it’s a great clinical experience. Again, it’s a lower-wage position. Typically, you need some training to do it.

For online courses, just look around and see how much the courses cost and how long they take to complete. But first, look at potential employers and ask them. Tell them you’re interested in being a medical assistant and ask what training they require, if any. (Don’t tell them you’re trying to be a medical student, this will send a red flag to them that you’re leaving soon, so they might not hire you.)

Being an EMT as a Premed

You can also become an EMT. You need to take a course to become an EMT. It usually takes 200-250 hours to get through the course. Again it is low-paying. It’s great clinical experience, though.

[Related episode: What is the Best Paid Clinical Experience For Premeds?]

[08:00] Is a Clinical Job Required for Premeds?

You don't have to work a clinical job before you start medical school.Click To Tweet

If you’re enjoying your job in digital marketing and you have a flexible schedule that works for you, that’s okay. Just make sure you’re also doing things like shadowing, clinical experience, etc. Again, no need to do this full-time. Do it once a week or every other week. Get a day’s worth of hours, and that’s already a lot of time when it adds up over the course of 1-2 years.

There are some schools that might look at you not leaving your job as not committing to medicine. Sure, there are some people on the admissions committee who may think that. But do what you think is right for you, your family, and your specific situation.

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