You may already know that qualified healthcare professionals are needed throughout the United States. With a biology pre-med emphasis degree, you have the opportunity to take advantage of the job growth in other areas of the healthcare field. The types of jobs you might pursue include those that involve direct patient care as well as jobs that provide a supporting role in healthcare.
In This Article:
- A Look at Jobs You Can Get With a Pre-Medicine Degree
- Which of These Types of Medical Field Jobs Is Right for You?
- What To Expect From Your Medical Preparation Program
A Look at Jobs You Can Get With a Pre-Medicine Degree
Jobs with a pre-med degree include careers working directly with patients and careers in which you would play more of a behind-the-scenes role. Here’s a quick look at some options for jobs as a graduate of a pre-med program.
- Respiratory therapist
- Radiologic and MRI technologist
- Medical science writer
- Medical sales representative
One of the many medical field jobs you might consider is that of respiratory therapist. Respiratory therapists work directly with patients who have lung dysfunctions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis or pneumonia. Respiratory therapists may even work with premature infants whose lungs are not fully developed.
The main goal of a respiratory therapist is to help patients breathe better. Typical job responsibilities in this medical science career can include:
- Conducting thorough patient evaluations, including diagnostic tests that assess lung capacity
- Performing chest physiotherapy, which is a manual therapy technique that aids in the removal of mucus from the lungs
- Connecting patients who have trouble breathing on their own to ventilation equipment (you may need to travel to patients' homes to teach them and their families how to use ventilation equipment)
- Providing smoking cessation counseling
An undergraduate degree in medical sciences and state licensure may be sufficient to work as a respiratory therapist, and you most likely won’t need an advanced degree or extensive training. The licensure requirements vary from one state to the next, so make sure to check your state’s requirements.
Radiologic and MRI Technologist
Another medical science career opportunity involves specializing in diagnostic equipment. If you have a keen eye for details, can readily learn how to operate new technologies and have reliable math skills, consider pursuing a career as a radiologic or MRI technologist. These professionals create medical images that allow doctors and nurses to diagnose patients and evaluate their conditions.
Some of the specific responsibilities of these professionals include the following:
- Calibrating and maintaining the imaging equipment
- Reviewing physician orders regarding medical imaging
- Preparing patients for the medical imaging procedures
- Operating the medical imaging equipment and ensuring the clarity of the images
- Maintaining patient records
For some types of medical images, the technologist must inject patients with contrast media, similar to a dye. This allows certain bodily structures to show up more clearly on the medical images.
Radiologic and MRI technologists play a critical role in the healthcare field. A degree in pre-medicine can help prepare you to pursue a career as a radiologic or MRI technologist. Few states require MRI technologists to hold certification or licensure, although it is preferred they have a few years of relevant work experience. Meanwhile, radiologic technologists are required to hold a certification or license by the state.1
Medical Science Writer
Not all medical science careers involve caring for patients. If you are passionate about both medical science and writing, you might consider becoming a medical science writer, or medical writer. Medical writing is a type of technical writing job that specifically focuses on medical and healthcare documents.
Medical writers can produce a wide variety of documentation, including the following:
- Medical journal abstracts and scientific articles
- Healthcare policy documents
- Continuing medical education materials for healthcare professionals
- Regulatory documents, such as device or drug submissions to the FDA
- Patient health decision guides and presentation materials for medical conferences
- Drug or medical device white papers
The work of medical writers plays an important role in getting new treatments approved by the FDA, educating patients about their health, and training the current as well as future generations of healthcare providers. Medical writers may work for a variety of employers, ranging from biotech and pharmaceutical companies to medical device manufacturers to medical schools.
Medical Sales Representative
The job of a medical sales representative is a specialized marketing role that involves selling medical products and equipment to hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, surgical centers and individual practices. They are typically assigned to a particular territory, within which they will travel to various healthcare organizations.
The goal of a medical sales representative is to sell their company’s medical products, equipment or services. In order to accomplish this, sales reps need to be knowledgeable about the products they sell and how those products can solve problems. To be effective in their role, medical sales reps need a solid background of medical science competencies. Some of the specific tasks of a medical sales representative may include the following:
- Liaising with potential new customers, setting up meetings and sending out product proposals with price quotes
- Conducting presentations for physicians and other healthcare providers that explain the benefits of the company’s medical products
- Reaching or exceeding sales targets
- Maintaining good relations with existing customers, checking up on them frequently
- Staying on top of the latest clinical data regarding product performance
As you might expect, medical sales representatives need to be personable individuals with excellent communication skills and a strong knowledge of the problems their products can solve for customers.
Which of These Types of Medical Field Jobs Is Right for You?
Medical science job opportunities can be dynamic and vigorous. It’s a particularly ideal field for lifelong learners because technologies are continually being developed and improved. If you’re passionate about these types of medical field jobs, you may find it difficult to narrow down the possibilities.
It can be helpful to think about your personal characteristics and skills. For instance, are you great with people? Do you love technology? Do you have a knack for numbers? Regardless of your particular strengths, there are many jobs with a pre-med degree that you could begin preparing for in college.
What To Expect From Your Medical Preparation Program
Regardless of what you plan to do with your degree, the curriculum offers you the opportunity to develop strong foundational knowledge in healthcare. Some of the specific topics you may study as you prepare for medical science careers could include the following:
- Ethical and legal responsibilities, with a look at federal, state and local healthcare regulations
- Factors that influence the healthcare delivery system and what the future holds
- Cultural awareness and interpersonal competencies when providing transcultural healthcare
- Statistics and their application in healthcare settings
- Current trends in healthcare, including healthcare policies and environmental issues
You can begin working toward a career in the medical science field by enrolling in a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree or a Bachelor of Science in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre-Medicine program at Grand Canyon University. GCU also offers a number of other medical science programs, such as our athletic training and forensic science programs. To learn more about earning your medical sciences degree at GCU, complete the form on this page to get in touch with a university counselor.
1 Occupational Outlook Handbook. Radiologic and MRI Technologists. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved on March 1, 2023.
Approved by the associate dean for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology on June 14, 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.