Best Online Degrees in: Medical
Explore a Bachelor's Degree in Medical
Most undergraduate medical programs prepare students for advanced medical study with a broad foundation in biology, chemistry, and physics. Undergraduate students usually enroll in pre-medicine tracks in broader science majors like chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, or biology to prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and advancement into medical school. Some programs involved in the medical industry only require an undergraduate degree, such as respiratory therapists, radiation therapists, or medical and clinical laboratory technologists, each of which have their own set degree path.
Pre-medicine tracks are designed to help students meet the prerequisite requirements for medical school, and require foundational course work in chemistry, calculus, biology, and English, public speaking, and composition. Further course work may be required in psychology, neuroscience, statistics, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. Most pre-medical tracks are selected in addition to a major. A major specific to the pre-medical course requirements is not usually necessary for acceptance into a pre-medicine track. Here are a few courses commonly found in pre-medical tracks:
- English. Pre-medical programs usually require English course work for communication skills, in addition to public speaking and composition classes. Required English course work usually prepares students to analyze and develop arguments and to write for an audience. Student learn to research and use sources to support a point of view.
- Biology. Introductory biology courses cover the structure and biology of the cell, molecular biology, and genetics. Students also learn evolution, the history of life, and the form and function of organisms. Biology courses usually coincide with laboratory course work that provides supplemental assignments applicable to concepts learn in lecture.
- Organic Chemistry.Organic chemistry covers the structure and reactivity of organic molecules. Course work includes ionic and covalent bonding, resonance, hybridization, the property of molecules, and alkanes.
Most chemistry, biology, and biochemistry course work will require laboratory projects that coincide with course lectures, reading, and other material. Assignments will usually entail problem sets that correspond with lectures and reading. English course work will usually require argumentative or persuasive papers to demonstrate rhetorical skills learned in lecture.
Building a Career
Most degree programs that follow a pre-medical track prepare students for the MCAT and advancement into medical school, which is a highly competitive process. Applicants to medical school have at least a bachelor's degree with required undergraduate work in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and English. Medical school, along with residencies, prepares students for physician and surgeon positions, and other specializations in the medical industry such as anesthesiologist, gynecologist, and pediatrician positions, where they work in private offices or clinics with a staff of nurses and/or administrative personnel.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual wage for physicians and surgeons is equal to or greater than $166,400. The BLS also expects employment for physicians and surgeons to increase by 24%, though wage and employment vary depending on factors like area, employer or size of medical practice, experience, and position.