Changing Careers into Medicine

Preparing for Medical School as a Non-Traditional Applicant

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Career Changers and Non-Traditional Students
Applying to Medical School

The Office of Admissions offers these tips for career changers and non-traditional students in the admissions process to PCOM’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) programs.

PCOM welcomes career changers for the diverse experiences and outlooks they bring to our learning community. Learn about some of our career changing students.


Admissions requirements

Review a full explanation of required semester hours, MCAT scores, letters of recommendation and more on the DO Application Requirements page.

PCOM reserves the right to make all admissions decisions based upon all information available to the DO Faculty Committee on Admissions.

Premedical programs

Post-baccalaureate premedical programs

Post-baccalaureate premedical programs allow career changers to complete the prerequisite courses for medical school. They also provide opportunities for advisement and clinical learning.

We recommend you consider two-year post-baccalaureate programs that provide hands-on clinical learning experiences.

PCOM is affiliated with several post-baccalaureate programs in the greater Philadelphia and Atlanta areas. These affiliation agreements assure an interview and/or acceptance should a student from an affiliated school meet certain academic and other defined criteria. For more information regarding a specific affiliation, please contact an advisor from that college or university.

Direct coursework

If you do not choose to enroll in a post-baccalaureate program, we recommend enhancing your scientific knowledge by taking coursework in hard sciences directly from higher education institutions.

Upper-level science courses in anatomy, physiology, histology, immunology and more will be useful for succeeding on the MCAT exams as well as in PCOM’s curriculum.

Review the DO Application Requirements for a full listing of prerequisite coursework.

PCOM Biomedical Sciences program

PCOM and PCOM Georgia offer master’s programs in biomedical sciences. Earn a master’s degree while preparing for medical school under the guidance of PCOM faculty. Our MS in Biomedical Sciences program provides students with a solid knowledge base with an emphasis on developing strong academic and professional skills.

Candidates who meet minimum criteria are assured an interview for the DO program and many biomed students enter our DO programs each year.

Letters of recommendation

Review the DO Application Requirements for details regarding recommendation letter requirements.

If you are having trouble obtaining letters of recommendation from undergraduate or graduate faculty, reach out to your institution's advisors for assistance.

If you are not able to secure letters of recommendation, you should consider completing a post-baccalaureate program, graduate program or other coursework in order to build relationships with faculty and enhance your skills.

Clinical experiences

Clinical exposure, research experience and community involvement are all important factors for assessing your admission to PCOM. Our admissions committee looks carefully for experiences and motivations related to the study of medicine.

Prior careers in nursing, emergency services, armed forces or various types of research provide excellent foundations for studying medicine.

Immerse yourself in patient care by working, volunteering or shadowing in hospitals, health clinics or local doctors’ practices. Medical scribes, nursing assistants, EMTs and hospice volunteers provide unique opportunities to interact with patients and physicians. Whether paid or not, it is important these experiences allow you to work with patients and be part of a team of medical professionals.