“Am I too old to start a medical career in my thirties?”
It’s a surprisingly common question and it’s empowered by the fact St. George’s University published a study that the average age of a med student matriculating into medical school is 24. But the truth is you’re never too told to start your journey.
With more life experience and a better understanding of who you are, no medical training program will reject you based on age alone. There are plenty of older students who are either embarking on a career within the medical industry for the first time or training to enter a different medical field.
Here’s what you need to know about starting a medical career in your thirties.
1. Leverage Your Experience
One question you will have to answer is why a place on any medical program should go to you over someone younger. Answer this by leveraging your experience.
Have you had experience with travel? Did you hold another job before embarking on a medical career? What challenges have you overcome that make you right for a medical career?
Your experience is your one advantage.
2. Search for Other Ways In
The obvious way to start a medical career is to go to medical school, but there are other ways in. Consider BSN to DNP programs for nurses who want to enter advanced practice.
Not every medical career requires a stint in medical school. Starting at the bottom and looking for an alternative way in could be the best choice for you.
3. Prepare for a Long Road
When starting a medical career in your 30s, you need to be aware of how long it will take if you want to become a fully qualified, fully practicing doctor.
Most doctors spend four years in medical school and four years as a resident. For more advanced specialties, it could take 15 years to become a doctor.
Are you prepared for that?
4. Change Your Life Trajectory
Beginning a medical career in your 30s could potentially mean putting off a family, vacation time, and valuable savings years. The training is so extensive that you may have to put off your other goals for years.
It may be worth saving before applying for a medical training program. Many mature students completely underestimate how disruptive switching to a medical career can be.
5. Financial Considerations
Understand that you will have to take out a six-figure loan if you want to go to medical school. Also, understand that your four-year residency is unlikely to barely cover your student loan repayments.
When attending medical school as a mature student, you must take the financial side into account. Get your finances in order and figure out whether this is the right move for you.
There’s more than one way to start a medical career in your 30s, and not all of them require a long stint in medical school. A pharmacy career path or a nursing career path are alternative options to the road to becoming a traditional doctor.