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Health Sciences Careers: Physician

Health Sciences Designation: Pre-Medicine (PMED)
Career: Physician
Job Outlook: 13% from 2016-2026
Median Pay: $208,000 annually in 2018 (approximately $100 per hour)
Entry-level Education: Doctoral or professional degree



Physicians are on the front line of medicine.  As a future physician, your role on the healthcare team will include a wide variety of responsibilities ranging from examining and diagnosing patients to prescribing treatment for a variety of illnesses and injuries.  You will likely also counsel patients on healthy lifestyle choices and preventative healthcare.  With additional education, you could choose to practice in a more focused field, such as surgery, anesthesiology or many other specialties.


Work Settings:

Physicians work in a variety of healthcare settings, ranging from private practice to hospitals and many more.  If you are interested in research, you could be part of a team that discovers the cause of a particular illness or disease, or develops new or better ways to treat patients.  Academia is another unique area that allows you to use your expertise to teach future generations in the profession.  There are many areas of practice in this diverse and rewarding career!


Academic Requirements:

Although the minimum educational requirement to apply for medical school is three years of undergraduate coursework, most medical schools prefer students to earn a bachelor’s degree prior to starting their programs.  Drake’s Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree is an excellent preparation for medical school!  Once you’ve earned your Drake degree and are admitted to medical school, you can expect to spend four years in medical school and an additional three to seven years in an internship or residency (depending on your specialty interest).


Additional Information:

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education accredits training programs in 133 specialties and sub specialties.  The American Board of Medical Specialties represents 24 board-certified specialties, and many subspecialties within each of these major specialty areas.  Some examples of specialties include:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Cardiovascular medicine
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency medicine
  • Family medicine
  • Immunology
  • Internal medicine
  • Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopedics
  • Pathology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology
  • Sports medicine
  • Surgery


Why is Health Sciences a great major for Pre-Med?

As a student in our Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree, you’ll get the best of both worlds: a rigorous science curriculum that will prepare you for the academic challenges in medical school and an education in healthcare that will help you succeed in your professional career.  All Health Sciences students take core courses in the sciences that you can customize based on the required prerequisite coursework you’ll need to get into your top choice medical school.  But beyond that, you’ll also complete our Health Sciences Core Curriculum, which teaches you about every aspect of healthcare and how to be a successful professional once you graduate.  The Health Sciences Core Curriculum includes coursework in professionalism, innovation and problem solving, cultural sensitivity, healthcare ethics, and an overview of what to expect when you enter the workforce.  This unique curriculum is only offered to Health Sciences majors at Drake and is one thing that will make you stand out when you apply for medical school.

In addition to the coursework you take, the Health Sciences Core Curriculum also includes a full year of internship and research for every Health Sciences student.  In your senior year, you will be paired with a healthcare professional in a career that relates to your own interests and complete a full year internship with that person at their practice site or office.  We have numerous placements that relate to medical school, including several partnerships with the local medical school at Des Moines University. You will also do an original research project along with your internship, which is something medical schools value in the admission process.  100% of our Health Sciences students do an internship and research, which is why our graduates are so successful at getting into many of their top choice medical schools!



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