According the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, EIGHT of the Top 20 fastest growing professions are in the Healthcare Industry! What does this mean for you? It means that as a Healthcare professional, you will enjoy job security and stability. However, a decision to pursue a career in the health professions requires careful preparation and self-evaluation. It involves assessing your strengths, interests, and values. It is crucial to give this thought now, before you begin to invest energy, time, and money towards obtaining a career in medicine.
Engineering students interested in a health related career may pursue any of the majors offered by the College of Engineering. While some majors have more overlap with coursework required for pre-health, it is important for every student to select the engineering major best suited for his/her interests and strengths.
Engineering Career Services provides a variety of resources for engineering students to help along the way. Premed career advising services are designed to be utilized in conjunction with departmental academic advising.
To meet with an ECS Premed Career Advisor, schedule your appointment on Handshake @ Illinois.
An ECS premed career adviser can provide information on:
- Professional school admissions tests (MCAT)
- Guidance in making application to professional schools (application timeline and process)
- Guidance about letters of recommendation/evaluation
- Information on post-baccalaureate programs
- Information on summer internship opportunities
- AMCAS and AACOMAS application services
- Fee Assistant Programs
- Shadowing and other health-related experiences
- Personal Statement review
Premed workshops and drop-in premed advising sessions are held throughout the academic year.
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To subscribe to the monthly ECS Premed Newsletter please click here.
Why Engineers Make Great Doctors!
Medicine in the 21st century grows more and more quantitative and technical in nature. It is important for medical doctors to have a strong understanding of the technology behind medical interventions and the quantitative nature of how the body works. Engineering provides a firm foundation on which you can build this specialized knowledge.
Problem Solving Ability
The foundation of engineering is problem solving – identifying a problem, assessing needs, formulating potential solutions, and evaluating the solutions to select the best option. The process that is involved with engineering design can also be applied directly to both clinical practice and medical research. An engineering education teaches skills that you will find immediately relevant to medicine.
Teamwork In the world of modern medicine, treating patients often requires a team approach involving doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals. Working with multidisciplinary teams is a key skill for good clinical practice. Engineering survives on teamwork too – and graduates of engineering programs have had significant experience with successful team projects, putting you in a good position to lead teams to support patient health.
How do medical schools view engineering majors?
Medical schools today are looking to build a diverse student body – not admit an entire class of biology majors. Engineering majors stand out in the crowd, demonstrating their academic ability and their commitment to succeed. Admissions committees realize that pursuing an engineering degree is not the path of least resistance to medical school. As an engineering major with strong MCAT scores and excellent science grades, and a variety of campus/community involvement makes you a desirable candidate.
Most medical schools require the following undergraduate courses before being considered for admittance. Be sure to check with schools for specific requirements as their policies are subject to change.
Extracurricular, Research & Healthcare Related Experiences
Pre-med students should be aware that high grades in science classes alone are no guarantee of admission. In recent years, emphasis has been placed on the total education of physicians; therefore, student accomplishments in the liberal arts are closely scrutinized as well. Moreover, admissions committees do far more than just review undergraduate grades and standardized test scores (MCAT); they make judgments about an applicant’s character, knowledge of health care, and the depth of his or her commitment to a career in medicine. For example, admissions committees look for evidence that an applicant has gained some familiarity with the profession as a result of employment or volunteer work in a hospital, clinic or physician’s office. Many medical schools look for evidence of students’ exposure to a wide range of people, especially people unlike themselves.
Some medical schools essentially require a research experience for all of their applicants, regardless of whether the applicant intends to pursue a combined MD/PhD program. All schools view past research experience as a reflection of a student’s desire to explore a larger menu, a test of time-management skills, and a means of honing problem-solving skills. Research mentors often serve as good resources for letters of reference during the application process.
Committees also like to see a record of active participation, and especially leadership, in campus or community groups. A demonstrated history of service and a broad understanding of the human condition are also screening points in the selection process.
To summarize, in addition to a review of course work, medical schools look for evidence of a student’s:
- Level of maturity
- Involvement in community/service activities
- Experience in healthcare settings
- Awareness of issues in healthcare delivery and medical ethics
- Human compassion and sensitivity along with evidence of activities reflecting these characteristics
- Ability to think logically and solve problems
AAMC Core Competencies
The Association of American Medical Colleges (the AAMC) Group on Student Affairs, Committee on Admissions has endorsed a series of 15 Core Competencies that every pre-medical student should have when applying to medical school. These competencies are designed to assess your knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes related to being a health care provider.
The AAMC’s 15 Core Competencies recommended for pre-medical students are divided into 4 groups:
1. Interpersonal Competencies
2. Intrapersonal Competencies
3. Thinking and Reasoning Competencies
4. Science Competencies
The MCAT is a computer-based exam and consists of 4 sections:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems,
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems,
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
Specific test dates can be found on the AAMC/MCAT website. MCAT Exam
Khan Academy: Provides free online education for anyone, also includes content for students preparing for the MCAT.
Resources and Links
Financial assistance: The AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP) assists MCAT® examinees and AMCAS applicants who, without financial assistance, would be unable to take the MCAT or apply to medical schools that use the AMCAS application.
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MD-PhD programs provide training in both medicine and research. They are specifically designed for those who want to become research physicians.
Summer and Research Opportunities
(Formerly SMDEP) The Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) is a free (full tuition, housing, and meals), six-week summer academic enrichment program for freshman and sophomore college students interested in careers in medicine and dentistry.
Summer programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provide an opportunity to spend a summer working at the NIH side-by-side with some of the leading scientists in the world, in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research.
Medical research opportunities for undergraduates on medical school campuses.
Database resource to help students locate enrichment programs.