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Navigating Life After Pre-Med: Beyond the Stethoscope

Embarking on the pre-med journey can be exciting and intellectually stimulating. However, you may find yourself questioning whether medicine is the only path and wish to explore possible degree combinations to suit your career goals better. Your pre-med background has helped set up a strong foundation for a plethora of careers involving the biomedical sciences.

Medical Research

For those who are passionate about investigating the science behind medicine to better patient care, a career as a medical scientist can be very rewarding. Being a physician-scientist enables these professionals to perform industry research, provide clinical service, become principal investigators in academia, and much more. The path to medical research can be achieved through an MD/Ph.D, which are medical scientist training programs, or you can even conduct research as an MD. Many leading scientists such as Francis S. Collins, an MD/Ph.D. and the former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Robert J. Lefkowitz, an MD and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (2012), have achieved great success in research.

Medical Writing and Communications

For the pre-meds who like to write, this overlap between science and writing is a great interdisciplinary career path. Science-related policies and discoveries are always advancing through various innovations. Thus, we must have articles, blogs, illustrations, and other means of communication to connect science with the general public. Since pre-meds have the necessary skills and knowledge to comprehend intricate medical concepts, they can effectively convey them as well. Moreover, the public must be informed of current scientific progress and topics so they can assist in decision-making and be involved in the science world as it is prevalent in the collective society.

Healthcare Administration

Another route is to target behind the scenes to ensure efficient operations, management of staff and finances, policies, and implementation of strategies to enhance patient care. Healthcare administration is an ideal path for those looking to better the healthcare delivery system through a business lens. This can be achieved through a Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration (MHA), as it will equip you with skills to maintain the system and ensure effective patient care. Moreover, if you plan to work in an executive position at a hospital or healthcare facility, an MD/MBA (master of business administration) can be enormously helpful.

Public Health

If you were interested in biology, epidemiology, or health promotion as a pre-med, then public health might be for you. This field encompasses biostatistics, epidemiology, health education, policy development, and environmental health. With an MD/MPH (master in public health) you can work with policymakers to advocate for health equity, develop disease prevention programs, and analyze health trends.

While being pre-med paves the path for a career in medicine, many careers interconnect with the skills gained through your undergraduate experience. Under the umbrella term of healthcare are many jobs and positions that ensure the system's infrastructure such as those in medical research, healthcare administration, public health, and communications. It is important that you self-reflect and pinpoint your personal, professional, and academic goals to choose a career that utilizes your unique skills and perspectives. I wish all pre-meds good luck- you got this!


Thank you for Reading!

- Rameesha Mustafa

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