Occasionally it seems to a pre-health advisor that medical school is regarded as a prize for being really good in science classes. It isn’t; it’s a big commitment that nobody should make without having carefully explored what a career in medicine involves, including the sacrifices made by physicians and some of the frustrations they might face, in addition to what makes the profession rewarding.

And it’s a good idea to remember that there are many different roles in health care; being a physician is just one of them. An excellent resource that helps you see what other possibilities exist in health care is the web site www.ExploreHealthCareers.org which lists every health profession under the sun, and gives you information about them, as well as an excellent list of resources related to each one.

The web site is actually a very useful tool even if you have decided on medicine; if you look under “Medicine: Physician (M.D.)” you can find a searchable database of summer enrichment programs, for example, under the “resources” tab. You can also look under “Physician (D.O.)” to find links that will explain what Osteopathic medicine is (and if you are thinking about medical school and don’t know, I encourage you to find out).

Certainly, though, ExploreHealthCareers.org may surprise you when you see just how many professions there are in health care to choose among. And it is worth doing some reading about choices such as dentistry, podiatry, optometry, physical therapy, public health, veterinary medicine—that’s just a very short list compared to what the site offers—to see what those professions have to offer. You may come to believe that they could possibly be a better fit for you than medicine; certainly it’s worth taking a look before you decide on your future.

Even better of course is to talk to health professionals of various different kinds, and to volunteer in places where you can observe and interact with them, as well as with patients. But for an initial browse through your options, www.ExploreHealthCareers.org is the place to go.

Author: Peter

Peter Stokes is the Senior Associate Director of Career Services for the Pre-Grad/Pre-Law/Pre-Health team.