If you want to work toward a career in the medical field, you have an exciting journey in front of you. You will face many challenges along the way, and you must dedicate plenty of time to your studies if you would like to set a solid foundation. You can expect about seven to eight years of education before you reach your goal of becoming a medical expert. You might find that fact a little discouraging, but it does not have to be that way. On the bright side, you can become an intern before completing your entire program, and some interns make healthy wages.
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Your first task, however, is to choose your undergraduate degree. This guide highlights the top 10 undergraduate degrees for medical students and what you can expect from each one. Keep your needs, wants and long-term goals in mind as you consider your options and choose a path.
If you want to specialize in a certain area of medicine, that could impact the road you take when you first enroll in college. You might think you should choose a path based on pay or other factors. While the amount you earn will always play some role in your decision, it should never be the most important factor.
Factors to Consider
As you search for guidance from those in your support network, you will find that many of them have different opinions about how you should prepare for medical school. These people mean well and will often give you valuable insights, and you should take what they say into consideration. However, you have to balance seeking advice with thinking for yourself. While you should consider what others have to say, you have to think about it on your own to decide if it’s the right path for you.
You can use any undergraduate degree to prepare for medical school, but some degrees make your life easier than others. The easy path, though, is not always the correct one. For example, getting a degree that takes a lot of work can help you stand out from other applicants when it’s time for you to find a position in your chosen field.
On the other hand, setting unrealistic goals is not the best choice either because you could discourage yourself from moving toward your long-term career goals. The key is to have an open mind and to ask yourself tough questions before you take one step toward your career.
Overthinking is one of the most significant problems you will likely face in this stage of your journey. A lot of students never choose a path because they can’t do so with any measurable level of confidence. If you are still unsure of the path you should choose, this guide will help you decide where to turn from here.
When a medical career is in your future, a degree in biology is a fantastic place to start. Many students choose biology for their undergraduate program for many reasons, and the things you learn get you ready for your upcoming career. In addition to preparing you for what’s to come, studying biology also shows that you are interested in life and the things that make it possible. This interest makes you a strong candidate for a variety of medical programs you could later take to advance your education and launch your career.
Biology courses cover a range of living organisms from cells to human beings. You will discover how different organisms live and reproduce, and the classes you take show you how various organs work together to keep you alive. Not only will you learn about organisms that are alive today, but you will also take a trip back in time to discover creatures that lived long before people. Biology is the right course if you want to learn as much as possible about life and the many forms it takes. This degree grabs your interest and inspires you to keep moving toward your long-term career goals.
2. Human Physiology
Human physiology is another outstanding degree program for those interested in the medical field. Unlike biology courses, human physiology zooms in on the human body and the way it works. Taking this program is a smart way to prepare yourself for the career to which you have set your mind, and you will be that much closer to your goal by the time you complete the program and earn your degree. Although you won’t learn everything that you need to know to begin working as a doctor, learning human physiology is a perfect starting point for any aspiring medical expert. The topics you review make it much easier to grasp the medical concepts you will study in the future.
Your course begins with an introduction to the human body and an overview of what you will learn as you progress. You will then go over different areas of the human body and the role they play in daily life. The nervous, skeletal, respiratory and muscular are just a few of the systems the course covers. A physiology degree helps you stand out because it highlights your understanding of the human body. If you choose physiology when you have other undergraduate options, prospective employers know you have the required passion for succeeding in your chosen field.
A lot of medical students choose biochemistry as their undergraduate major, and doing so provides many of the benefits you would expect from a biology degree. No matter the type of doctor you would like to be, you can take a biochemistry program to get ready for your future studies. Some students have a hard time choosing one path instead of the other, and they sometimes wait a lot longer to begin as a result. If one does not stand out more than the other, choosing one at random is better than overthinking the course you should take. Once you decide, commit to your choice so that you don’t face unneeded setbacks along the way.
In biochemistry, you study the chemistry of life, and you take a close look at cells and how they operate. Biochemistry programs cover how cells produce energy, move and reproduce. After you get a basic overview of cell life, you explore DNA and genetics, the building blocks of life. You learn the role genetics play in hair and eye color, but you also discover how genetics impact a person’s odds of getting certain diseases. Getting a biochemistry degree demonstrates that you have a fundamental understanding of life, and prospective employers will notice.
Psychology is a smart place to start for aspiring medical students for many reasons. First, it helps you understand the mind, thoughts and how people make decisions. You will discover issues that prevent patients from being open with their medical professionals and how to overcome them. If you are curious about human behavior and what makes people tick, this course will hold your interest from start to finish. This course offers insights on motivation, inspiration and the desire to grow.
You will also learn about mental health issues and the things that cause them. The ideas and concepts you discover while pursuing this degree prepare you for many of the tasks you will handle as a medical expert. For example, you will learn how to communicate with patients in a way that promotes trust and openness. Not only do you learn how to help your patients, but you will also discover how to move past the emotional challenges you will face throughout your career.
If you ask whether nursing is a good undergraduate degree for medical students, you get a lot of mixed answers. Some people say a nursing degree is a waste of time for those who want to become doctors, but others disagree. The best option is for you to learn the pros and cons of this path so that you can decide for yourself. You need to pick an undergraduate program that prepares you for the future and that is interesting to you.
People tend to do much better when they study topics they enjoy, so it’s a personal choice. The short answer is that a nursing degree does prepare you for medical school. The biggest downside is the amount of time you have to dedicate to your nursing degree. Most nursing students put in a lot more clinical hours than other medical students. The extra hours won’t do much for your medical degree.
Although working long hours at a clinic does not matter for your education, it makes you stand out when it’s time for you to apply for jobs in your field. Intelligent employers see the value in those who are willing to put that much effort into the process, which improves your odds of finding the perfect career. Also, the long hours required to get a nursing degree give you tons of soft skills that help no matter the area in which you later specialize.
You learn how to combat stress and manage time, but you also learn how to interact with people from different backgrounds and walks of life. If you are up for the challenge and need a way to stand apart from the herd, a degree in nursing could be the smart choice.
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When most people think of undergraduate programs for medical students, biology, physiology and related studies will often come to mind. Not many people think of an English degree as a starting point for a career as a medical doctor, but more medical experts than you think started as English majors.
In fact, English is the seventh most popular undergraduate program for those in the medical industry. You are not alone if you are confused by this trend, and many people are shocked to learn about it. But when you take a step back and look at it from a different point of view, it starts making sense.
Many English majors have high GPAs throughout college, which leads to resumes that stand out from the rest. English majors also tend to have a lot of attention for detail, which makes them great at catching things others would have missed.
In the world of medicine, missing a small detail could mean the difference between life and death for a patient, and that’s a chance nobody can afford to take. Those who study English are usually driven individuals who are willing to do what it takes to reach their goals, making them ideal candidates for the medical world.
The biggest thing that sets English majors apart, however, is the one skill they have that most in the medical industry lack: the ability to communicate clearly. When you become a doctor, your ability to treat patients depends on your ability to communicate with them effectively. Some doctors avoid saying too much because they don’t want to confuse their patients, but others try speaking in medical jargon. Both of those mistakes make it hard for doctors to give people the exact care they need.
English majors learn early in their studies that they need to tailor their message to the audience. They know how to break complex ideas down into simple terms their patients can understand. English majors also know how to dig under the surface to understand what their patients really mean.
7. Biomedical Engineering
Study biomedical engineering if you are serious about achieving success as a medical professional. Other degree programs are much easier to take, but getting a biomedical engineering degree makes you stand out in a powerful way. Besides learning about biology and medicine, you discover how the latest technology can save and improve the lives of countless patients across the globe.
Biomedical engineers are the ones who developed magnetic resonance imaging and the technology that makes laser surgery possible, and these advances have changed the world in many positive ways. If you pursue an education in this field, you will arm yourself with the tools you need to thrive no matter the specialty you choose later in your studies. Getting a biomedical engineering degree with a high GPA is an impressive achievement that no employer will be able to ignore, and many career options will become available to you as a result.
If you are like many people, you scratch your head when you learn that economics is on the top ten list of the most popular undergraduate programs for medical students. You probably ask yourself how economics helps your career as a medical doctor, which is a great question. Economics might not have a place in standard medicine, but those who do well in this field are logical thinkers with advanced problem-solving skills, which are great traits for any doctor.
A doctor who can solve math problems can translate those skills to solve medical problems for their patients, but that is not the only benefit. If you one day get a job in the public sector, you could end up in charge of a health clinic. That economics degree will come in handy when it’s time for you to manage the budget. Also, consider that not all medical students calculate the cost of their education before choosing a school.
The things you learn while studying economics will help you decide what school is worth the price. If a school charges more than others, does getting a degree from that school increase your odds of getting a position that pays well? If it does, is the difference in pay worth the extra cost? As an economics major, you will be in a much better position to answer those questions and more.
Before you start your path to becoming a medical doctor, you should know that you are in for many roadblocks and challenges. While some people find this fact discouraging, others are more than happy to embrace the challenge and to see how far they can go. If you are still interested in the path that awaits, you are in for a rewarding experience that leads to a fulfilling career. As a medical expert, you earn a respectable wage while improving the lives of the people under your care.
Once people decide to move forward, many of them get stuck deciding what undergraduate major they should pick. The answer is not as difficult as a lot of people make it out to be, and you can find the right choice if you keep an open mind. Think about the area in which you would like to specialize after your career is on track, and the right decision will reveal itself. For example, studying economics is wise if you would like to work at a health clinic or start your own practice.
Getting a degree in English makes it much easier for you to speak with and understand your patients. You might even change majors before completing your undergraduate program, and that’s fine because a lot of people do. For now, the most crucial part of your journey is taking the first step. As long as you keep your eye on the prize and commit to the process, the rest falls into place on its own.
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