What Can You Do With a Pre-Med Degree?

What Can You Do With a Pre Med Degree?

While it makes sense to think that a pre-medical or pre-med track can only lead to a career as a doctor, this educational path is incredibly versatile. It can open many doors to careers in science, healthcare, research, technology, and more. Learning about the careers you can pursue with a pre-med degree can help you decide if this path is right for you. 

So, what exactly can you do with a pre-med degree?

In this guide, we’ll unravel some alternative career paths you can pursue with a pre-med career, what the track entails, and the average salary you can expect for each path. So, join us and discover what a future career in healthcare can look like. 

What Is Pre-Med?

Pre-med is a track that will prepare you for attending medical school and eventually pursuing a career in healthcare. It isn’t a specific major but rather a set of prerequisite coursework, activities, clinical experience, and volunteer activities that will prepare you for the rigorous demands of medical education.  

The pre-med track typically includes coursework, such as:

  • One year of biology with lab;
  • One year of organic chemistry with lab;
  • One year of organic chemistry with lab;
  • One year of physics with lab;
  • At least one semester of biochemistry;
  • A math requirement (calculus, statistics, or both);
  • One year of English. 

This coursework will also help you prepare for the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, a key determinant of medical school admission. This exam assesses your knowledge of natural sciences concepts and critical thinking skills. So, you need a good score to increase your chances of admission to your targeted medical school.  

What Can You Do With a Pre-Med Degree?

Contrary to popular belief, earning a pre-med degree doesn’t necessarily mean you must pursue a career as a doctor. It can also prepare you for a variety of careers in the healthcare field. Below, we will provide you with ten career paths you can pursue after completing a pre-med degree. 

1. Respiratory Therapist

Average salary: $77,960

Respiratory therapists care for patients experiencing breathing difficulties resulting from conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Working as a respiratory therapist, you’ll take on responsibilities such as:

  • Interviewing patients and conducting evaluations;
  • Educating patients regarding their condition and treatment plan;
  • Offering breathing or airway support during emergencies;
  • Keeping track of a patient’s progress and updating their medical records;
  • Treating patients by using aerosol medication or chest physiotherapy. 

Earning a pre-med degree doesn’t directly qualify you to work as a respiratory therapist. However, the coursework and experience gained during pre-med will help you in your training in respiratory therapy. 

2. Emergency Medical Technician

Average salary: $44,780

Emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, are healthcare professionals who deliver emergency medical care to patients in prehospital settings. Some of your duties as an EMT will be:

  • Responding to calls for medical assistance;
  • Assessing people’s conditions and determining what treatment they need;
  • Preparing for and safely transporting them to the nearest emergency department of a hospital or healthcare facility;
  • Providing first aid or life support care to sick or injured patients. 

Although a pre-med or bachelor’s degree isn’t required for becoming an EMT, the coursework and clinical experience gained through pre-med is highly relevant in emergency medical services. 

3. Patient Advocate

Average salary: $42,997

Patient advocates are crucial professionals who help patients and their loved ones navigate the healthcare systems in many ways. This can include finding legal help, working with insurance companies, communicating with doctors, and assisting with many aspects of a patient’s medical care. Working as a patient advocate will give you the tools to ensure that a patient is cared for at each step of their treatment journey. 

A pre-med degree can help you enhance your advocacy skills and ultimately become a better patient advocate in many ways, such as:

  • Providing a solid understanding of medical terminology, anatomy, and common medical conditions;
  • Emphasizing critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential to analyzing healthcare issues;
  • Learning about medical ethics and professional conduct.

4. Sonographer

Average salary: $80,850

Sonography is a specialized healthcare profession that involves ultrasound technology to produce images of structures within the body, valuable or diagnosing various conditions. Therefore, sonographers are crucial in helping doctors narrow down a patient’s diagnosis and quickly offer them the care they need. 

Pre-med coursework can provide you with a strong foundation for pursuing a career in sonography by:

  • Providing you with in-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology;
  • Providing you with knowledge on sound waves and how they interact with body organs;
  • Gaining experience in interacting with patients in clinical settings. 

5. Orthopedic Technician

Average salary: $56,404

Orthopedic technicians are healthcare professionals who assist orthopedic surgeons in caring for patients with injuries or diseases of the musculoskeletal system. They aid surgeons in the operating room by assembling fracture tables and preparing for surgical procedures. Orthopedic technicians also apply and remove plaster and synthetic casts. Moreover, they teach patients how to use walking aids, such as canes and crutches. 

Overall, pre-med education will provide you with a strong foundation in medical sciences and clinical and professional skills that will help you support orthopedic care. 

6. Dietitian

Average salary: $69,680

Dietitians are healthcare professionals who focus on nutrition and the human diet. They can promote health and overall wellness by blending scientific research, nutrition, behavioral science, and social science. By becoming a dietitian, you’ll take on responsibilities such as:

  • Assessing a patient’s nutritional and health needs;
  • Developing meal and nutrition plans;
  • Creating educational material about healthy food choices and lifestyle;
  • Documenting patient’s progress. 

A degree in pre-med will complement a career in dietetics by providing you with the science foundation, medical knowledge, clinical skills, and communication skills.

7. Medical Technologist

Average salary: $60,780

Medical technologists are healthcare professionals responsible for conducting laboratory tests on patient samples, aiding doctors in diagnosing and monitoring diseases and conditions. As a medical technologist, typically, you’ll have duties such as:

  • Using automated equipment that analyzes multiple samples at the same time;
  • Testing and analyzing body fluids, such as blood, urine, and tissue samples;
  • Completing patient clinical chemistry, immunology, microbiology, and hematology testing in a timely and accurate manner;
  • Recording data from medical tests and entering results into a patient’s medical record.

Pre-med training is applicable to a medical technologist’s career as it provides you with foundational knowledge in the sciences, critical thinking skills, clinical experience, and medical terminology for detective laboratory tests and medical conditions. 

8. Hospital Administrator

Average salary: $269,576

Hospital administrators are professionals involved in nearly every aspect of a hospital’s operations, including:

  • Hiring, training, and managing staff;
  • Ensuring compliance with laws and regulations;
  • Maintaining hospital records and data;
  • Preparing budgets and billing patients;
  • Acting on behalf of the hospital in communication with external vendors. 

A pre-med degree will provide you with a foundational understanding of medical technology, critical thinking skills, ethical professional conduct, and a foundation for leadership roles in healthcare. 

9. Health Services Director

Average salary: $131,809

Health services directors are responsible for evaluating and supervising the overall operation and administration of healthcare facilities. Their role also encompasses a wide range of responsibilities related to budgeting, procurement, quality assurance, and requisition of biological supplies and equipment.

Overall, a pre-med degree will help you as a health services director by providing you with the necessary skills in professional conduct and knowledge of medical terminology and healthcare policies. 

10. Chemist

Average salary: $95,560

As a chemist, you can pursue various career opportunities in the research and pharmaceutical industries. You can contribute to developing and producing drugs and discovering treatments for various medical conditions. 

Pre-med training will provide you with a foundational understanding of human anatomy and physiology, essential for designing and developing drugs that affect specific biological mechanisms. 

Is a Pre-Med Degree Worth It?

As you contemplate whether or not a pre-med degree is worthwhile, we recommend examining the pros and cons of pursuing this educational path. 

The pros of pursuing a pre-med degree include:

  • Acquiring foundational knowledge in sciences like biology, anatomy, chemistry, physics, and biochemistry;
  • Gaining clinical experience and exposure to the healthcare system;
  • Versatility in career options in healthcare, including research, healthcare administration, and allied health professions. 

On the other hand, the cons of pursuing a pre-med degree include:

  • Rigorous curriculum with science and math focus;
  • Additional expenses in tuition fees, textbooks, and living expenses;
  • Little time for outside obligations due to rigorous coursework and clinical training.

Bottom Line

Pursuing a pre-med degree can be a solid foundation for a healthcare career, regardless if you’re aiming for medical school admission. From respiratory therapist and sonographer to health services director and chemist, the pre-med track can also prepare you for whatever healthcare career you choose. 

Now that you have a clearer picture of what you can do with a pre-med degree, you can take the following steps for your future. Check out Antigua’s pre-medical program at the American International College of Arts and Sciences (AICASA), which provides the prerequisites for furthering your studies in our M.D. program. So, take on the adventure and help make a difference in healthcare.

Frequently Asked Questions

What percentage of pre-med students become doctors?

The percentage of pre-med students who ultimately become doctors varies depending on the competitiveness of medical school admissions, individual academic performance, and personal circumstances. While there isn’t an exact percentage of pre-med students who become doctors, 80.2% of applicants were matched into a postgraduate year-one position in the 2024 Main Residency Match. 

Is pre-med a difficult major?

As the pre-med track aims to prepare you for the academic rigor necessary in medical school, it can be challenging. However, the level of difficulty depends on the institution and coursework.

How many years is pre-med?

As earning a four-year bachelor’s degree is an important requirement for medical school, a pre-med track also takes four years to complete

Is a 3.7 GPA good for pre-med?

A 3.7 GPA is above the average 3.64 GPA across 2023-2024 applicants and matriculants, so it’s generally considered competitive for pre-med. It demonstrates academic excellence, which is crucial for medical school admissions. 

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