Working in medicine often requires a master’s degree, but choosing the right graduate program can be a challenge if you aren’t following the traditional path of med school. While you can become a doctor with a med school degree, there are other career avenues you can pursue with a master’s degree in a medical field. If you’re considering a career in healthcare and wondering if a graduate degree is the right choice, here are a few things to know.
It Gives You an Advantage When Applying to Med School
If you aspire to become a doctor, then you may consider earning a master’s before you apply to your dream med school. This may sound like a lot, but it gives you a competitive edge among a massive applicant pool. Specializing in something can also prepare you for the more rigorous studies you’ll encounter as you train to become a physician.
Another added benefit of completing a graduate program first is that you can work and save money before taking a break to pursue your medical certification. If you consider going this route, you might want to explore medical school loans from a private lender. They can help you cover tuition and flexibly pay it back from your savings or current income. Paying down debt while you’re still in school is a good way to shorten its length and obtain financial freedom sooner.
It Offers Diverse Options
With a master’s degree, you have more high paying career options available as well as the potential to grow. Beyond starting in the field at a higher level, you will also be eligible for promotions based on your educational merit. With a graduate degree in medicine there are a number of jobs you can start working straight out of school. These include:
- Physician Assistant
- Psychiatric Nurse Assistant
- Occupational Therapist
- Physical Therapist
- Speech Pathologist
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
- Clinical Medical Administrator
You Can Expand Your Network
A professional network helps you grow as a professional. Through a graduate program, you’ll meet others who are already employed in the field. This can help you discover potential career opportunities, find a mentor and learn more from the people around you. In many master’s programs, students can learn plenty from their peers as well. Everyone has something unique to bring to the table. You might even consider studying a semester abroad, if applicable, so that you can gain insight and knowledge from another culture in addition to what your network at home provides you.
If your goal is to apply to med school after your graduate program, then you may be able to get excellent recommendations. Through a master’s degree, you could get close to your instructors and wind up with recommendation letters from an esteemed doctor, registered nurse or even a surgeon. In addition to learning more about the field, you can also ask for tips and advice on job hunting. Because they have first-hand experience, these professionals can also offer you a more realistic perspective on what certain careers are actually like. This can be life-changing for someone who is torn between two or more paths.