Medical and Healthcare Science Careers- High School Preparation

Science and Math

High school students should plan to obtain a solid background in Biology and Chemistry, and should seriously consider taking physics, or another lab-based science course if available.

A solid foundation in math is essential to developing analytical problem solving skills, and strong performance on standardized tests. This includes the SAT and ACT, but also the standardized exams required later by nearly every healthcare professional school. Successful completion and good performance in math up through Algebra II is essential. Depending upon the career in which you are interested, you should also seriously consider trigonometry and pre-calculus.

Advanced Placement (AP)

AP and other advanced courses are helpful, and students should take these when possible. These courses challenge you to learn the subject thoroughly, and will provide a strong foundation for good performance in your college undergraduate courses. Before you decide to accept AP credit toward college, however, you should be aware that some medical and healthcare professional schools will not accept AP credit as meeting math or science required course work, even if your college does.

Volunteer Work

A demonstrated interest in the healthcare professions is always helpful. One way to underscore your conviction to dedicate your life to the health of others is to volunteer in a hospital or clinical setting. For high school students working at a full-service facility has the added advantage of exposing one to the wide variety of healthcare careers available. The more informed you are, the more likely it is that you will choose a career path that best suits your interests and aptitude.

Other Pathways

Credit for professional school prerequisite courses taken at community colleges requires special consideration, and there are many perspectives to consider. Some schools state that they do not differentiate between community college and 4-year institution credits. Others advise not to obtain too many prerequisite credits this way. Prospective students should also be careful about pursuing a technical degree as preparation for a professional degree. For example, programs in Dental Assistant or Physical Therapy Assistant often do not include many courses required for admission to Dental or Physical Therapy doctoral programs.