CAREERS IN HEALTH CARE
ALLOPATHIC MEDICINE (MD)
There are 146 accredited M.D. programs in the U.S., 10 in Texas: Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas Tech-Lubbock, Texas Tech-El Paso, and 6 schools of the University of Texas System (Dell in Austin, Galveston, Houston, Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, and Southwestern in Dallas). The following courses serve as prerequisites for admission: general chemistry - 1 year; organic chemistry – 1 year; biochemistry – 1 semester (required or recommended by all programs); general physics - 1 year (Baylor=no prerequisite); biology - 2 years (Baylor = 1 advanced course); statistics - 1 semester; English - 1 year (Baylor – 1 writing course). All of these programs have a four year professional curriculum which is usually followed by a residency training period lasting from three to as many as seven or eight years, depending on the specialty. The core of basic science courses and clinical clerkships is similar at all of the medical schools. The mean GPA for students accepted into the medical schools in the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service for the fall of 2015 was 3.74, and the mean MCAT score was 30.7.
National Association: Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC): www.aamc.org
OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE (DO)
Osteopathic medicine combines the features of allopathic medicine with a system of therapy known as manipulative medicine. Osteopathic physicians are fully trained and licensed physicians. D.O.s are licensed to practice in every state. Approximately 56 percent of D.O.s are in the primary care disciplines of family practice, pediatrics, OB/GYN and internal medicine. In addition to primary care medicine, D.O.s may enter any medical or surgical specialty, such as neurology, cardiology, psychiatry, or orthopedics. There are 33 osteopathic schools offering instruction at 48 locations in 31 states; 27 are private, 6 are public. There are currently two programs in Texas (Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth, University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio). TCOM is currently ranked 50th among all medical schools for primary care. Admission requirements are generally the same as M.D. programs. The D.O. program is very similar to the M.D. program, with four years of basic training. However, integrated throughout the curriculum is special instruction in osteopathic principles dealing with the interrelationship of all body systems in health and disease, and special training in osteopathic manipulative medicine. Some graduates of osteopathic medical schools may complete a 1 year rotating hospital internship before completing an additional 3 to 8 years of residency training to specialize. The mean GPA of students accepted in TCOM’s program for fall, 2015 was 3.67, and the mean MCAT was 28.3.
National Association: American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM): www.aacom.org
PODIATRIC MEDICINE (DPM)
Podiatrists specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of foot disorders resulting from injury or disease. A doctor of podiatric medicine can make independent judgments, prescribes medications, and, when necessary, performs surgery. There are 9 podiatric medical schools across the United States, but none in Texas. Admission requirements are similar to the M.D. and D.O. programs (1 year of biology, 1 year each of general chemistry and organic chemistry, 1 year of physics, and 1 year of English.) After completing 4 years of podiatric medical school, podiatric physicians complete a comprehensive 3 year podiatric medicine and surgery residency. Most podiatrists have a general practice, but some specialize in surgery, orthopedics, or public health. Subspecialties include sports medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, radiology, geriatrics, or diabetic foot care. The mean GPA for students accepted into the California School of Podiatric Medicine for the fall of 2015 was 3.39, and the mean MCAT was 24.0.
National Association: American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine: www.aacpm.org
PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT (MPAS)
Physician assistants, frequently called PA’s, have a broad scope of duties and responsibilities, largely governed by the medical setting in which they work. In Texas, PA’s are regulated by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners and work under the supervision of physicians. Currently there are 234 masters programs nationally and 8 fully accredited programs in Texas: UT Rio Grande Valley, Baylor College of Medicine, UNTHSC at Fort Worth, UTMB Galveston, UTHSC at San Antonio, UT Southwestern, Texas Tech, Interservice PA program at Fort Sam Houston; there are 2 developing programs in Texas – Hardin-Simmons and University of the Incarnate Word. The master’s programs range from 27 to 36 months in duration. Upon graduation, PA’s from each of the programs are eligible to take the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants examination. Prerequisites vary somewhat among the programs but generally include 2 years of biology (A&P I and II, genetics, microbiology), 1 year of general chemistry, 1 semester of organic chemistry, 1 semester of statistics and college algebra or higher, 1 semester of psychology, 1 semester of medical terminology, 1 year of English. The mean GPA’s of students accepted for the fall of 2015 into the program at UT Southwestern were 3.68 (cumulative) and 3.64 (science). The mean GRE was 310 (V,Q); 4.5 (A).
National Association: Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA): www.paeaonline.org
Dentistry offers many career opportunities, although most graduates choose to engage in private practice as dentists. Other graduates may pursue their profession in one or more of the following areas: hospital clinics, industrial clinics, public health agencies, federal government agencies, consultantships, commercial companies, or research. After completing 4 years of dental school, a dentist may choose to specialize in one of 10 clinical areas: general dentistry, dental public health, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial pathology, oral and maxillofacial radiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and prosthodontics. The length of each program varies with the specialty area, but is generally 1 to 3 years (oral and maxillofacial surgery – 4 to 6 years). There are 65 dental schools in the U.S., including three dental schools in Texas: Baylor College of Dentistry (associated with the Texas A&M University System) and two schools in the University of Texas System - Houston and San Antonio. Students may apply to all three schools through the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS). Prerequisites are as follows: biology - 2 years; general chemistry - 1 year; organic chemistry - 1 year; biochemistry – 1 semester; physics - 1 year; statistics – 1 semester; English - 1 year. The mean GPA of students entering the 3 dental schools through the TMDSAS in the fall of 2015 was 3.63, and the mean DAT scores were 20.4 (academic) and 20.2 (perceptual).
National Association: American Dental Education Association (ADEA): www.adea.org
Optometrists are primary care providers who diagnose, manage, and treat conditions of the human eye and visual system. They practice individually, in group practices with other optometrists and with medical practitioners in interdisciplinary health clinics across the United States. There are 22 optometry programs across the United States, with two in Texas: University of Houston (www.opt.uh.edu) and University of the Incarnate Word (http://optometry.uiw.edu). Optometry school is a four year program. The program in Houston has the following prerequisites: general biology - 1 year; microbiology - 1 semester; human related advanced biology – 1 year; general chemistry - 1 year; organic chemistry - 1 semester; biochemistry - 1 semester; calculus - 1 semester; general physics - 1 year; general psychology - 1 semester; and statistics - 1 semester. After completing optometry school, a student may select a one year residency program (a residency is optional and is not required for licensure or for establishing a specialty practice). Typical specialties include: pediatrics, geriatrics, cornea and contact lenses, low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy, family practice, primary eye care, ocular disease, brain injury vision rehabilitation, refractive and ocular surgery, and community health. The mean GPA of students entering the program at The U of Houston in the fall of 2015 was 3.57 and the mean OAT was 344 (academic average).
National Association: Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO): www.opted.org
VETERINARY MEDICINE (D.V.M.)
There are 30 colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States, one in Texas at Texas A&M University (www.cvm.tamu.edu). Following the four year veterinary medicine program, most graduates enter private practice. However, others pursue careers in education, research, industry, public health, laboratory and animal medicine, government agencies, zoo animal practice, food safety, comparative medical research, and tropical, aquatic, and wildlife medicine. A veterinarian may choose to become a specialist in a clinical area or to work with particular species. The first step on the path toward specialization is usually a 1 year internship in either small or large animal medicine. Residency training is more specialized than an internship and is currently available in areas such as internal medicine, pathology, cardiology, surgery, radiology, anesthesiology, oncology, etc. There are currently 22 specialty organizations comprising 41 distinct specialties that are recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association. These programs typically take at least 3 years to complete. Admission requirements for the Texas A&M program include the following: cell biology - 1 semester; microbiology - 1 semester; genetics - 1 semester; animal nutrition - 1 semester; general chemistry - 1 year; organic chemistry - 1 year; biochemistry - 1 semester; general physics - 1 year; statistics - 1 semester; English composition - 1 semester; speech - 1 semester; technical writing - 1 semester; psychology - 1 semester. Knowledge and experience in working with animals is also critical preparation for veterinary medical school. The mean GPA of students accepted into Texas A&M’s program for fall of 2015 was 3.71 (cum) and 3.66 (sci); and the mean GRE score was 312 (VQ), 4.1 (A).
National Association: Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC): www.aavmc.org
There are currently 139 accredited colleges of pharmacy in the U.S (regular or associate); all offer the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree. Many pharmacists practice in community or hospital pharmacies in the United States with the remainder following one or another of the special fields such as sales, administration, or academia and research in the private, public, or governmental sector. The prospects for immediate employment and long term career growth are excellent. There are 8 fully accredited pharmacy programs in Texas: University of Texas at Austin, Texas Tech University HSC, University of Houston, Texas Southern University, University of the Incarnate Word, Texas A&M HSC Kingsville, UNTHSC at Fort Worth, and UT Tyler. Prerequisites vary from program to program, but generally include general biology – 1 year, microbiology – 1 semester, A&P – 1 year, general chemistry – 1 year, organic chemistry – 1 year, calculus and statistics – 1 semester, English composition – 1 semester, Communications/Speech – 1 semester. All programs require the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test). The mean GPA of students accepted into the program at the University of Texas for the fall of 2015 was 3.60. The mean PCAT was 85%.
National Association: American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP): www.aacp.org
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (MOT, DOT)
Occupational therapy is a health care profession that uses purposeful activity as a means of preventing, reducing, or overcoming physical, social and emotional disabilities in people of all ages. The occupational therapist assists the patient in performing everyday tasks with a high degree of independence. Occupational therapists work in a wide variety of settings: hospitals or clinics, rehabilitation facilities, schools, geriatric centers, home care programs, and many are opening private practices. There are 165 master’s programs and 12 doctoral programs fully accredited in the country. There are 9 fully accredited master’s programs in Texas. Two programs offer the combined bachelor’s—master’s degrees (TWU-Denton, and UTHSC at San Antonio); all 9 programs offer the entry-level master’s degree (Texas Tech, TWU-Dallas, TWU-Denton, TWU-Houston, UT El Paso, UTHSC at San Antonio, UTMB Galveston, UT Rio Grande Valley, U of St. Augustine). There is 1 developing master’s program at Abilene Christian University, and 3 developing doctoral programs: Angelo State U, U of St. Augustine, UTHSC at San Antonio. Prerequisites generally include: A&P – 2 semesters, statistics – 1 semester, lifespan psychology – 1 semester, abnormal psychology – 1 semester, medical terminology – 1 semester, physics/biomechanics/kinesiology – 1 semester. The mean GPA of students entering the Texas Tech program in the fall of 2015 was 3.69 (cum) and 3.78 (sci).
National Association: American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA): www.aota.org
PHYSICAL THERAPY (DPT)
A physical therapist is a member of the health care team whose primary responsibility is to test, evaluate, and treat patients with acute or prolonged movement dysfunction. There are 218 accredited schools of physical therapy in the country. After completing the DPT, physical therapists may complete a 1 – 1 ½ year residency program in a specialty area (cardiovascular pulmonary, clinical electrophysiology, geriatrics, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, sports, wound care). There are 13 fully accredited physical therapy programs in Texas: Angelo State University; Hardin-Simmons University; Texas State University; Texas Tech University HSC; Texas Woman’s University; UNTHSC at Fort Worth; UT El Paso; UTMB at Galveston; UTHSC at San Antonio; UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; U of the Incarnate Word; U of St. Augustine for HS (Austin); US Army-Baylor University. Prerequisites vary among the programs but usually include: general biology – 1 year, A&P – 1 year, general chemistry – 1 year, general physics – 1 year, college algebra – 1 semester, psychology – 1 year (general + lifespan or abnormal or physiological); medical terminology – 1 semester. The mean GPAs of students accepted into the program at Texas Tech for the fall of 2015 were 3.60 (cum) and 3.60 (sci). The mean GRE scores were 302 (VQ), 4.0 (A).
National Association: American Physical Therapy Association (APTA): www.apta.org
PUBLIC HEALTH (MPH)
There are 58 accredited graduate schools of public health in the United States. Currently there are three accredited schools of public health in Texas: UTHSC at Houston, UNTHSC at Fort Worth and Texas A&M University HSC. Regional campuses (through UTHSC at Houston) are also located at San Antonio, El Paso, Dallas, Brownsville and Austin. There are 3 additional graduate programs in public health in Texas: Baylor U, UT El Paso, and UTMB at Galveston. As an example of breadth, students enrolled in the public health program at Houston are admitted into one of the following programs: biostatistics; environmental and occupational health sciences; epidemiology; health promotion and behavioral sciences; management, policy, and community health. In terms of careers, graduates serve as management personnel for government public health programs, voluntary agencies, and private industry. The M.P.H. is a 1 ½ to 2 year program of full-time study. The GRE is required for admission, and students may have an undergraduate major in any area. The mean GPA for students entering the program at UNTHSC at Ft. Worth in the fall of 2015 was 3.30, and the mean GRE was 316 (VQ), 4.0 (A).
National Association: Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH): www.aspph.org
HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION (MHA, MS in HCA, MBA with Health Care Emphasis)
Health administration is a term that encompasses a broad array of activities performed by managers in hospitals, HMOs, clinics, and many other organizations that provide or manage health care. What kind of background is needed? People arrive at a career in health administration from many different fields. Frequently, a person may begin work in a clinical area, such as nursing, then become interested in management. However, some individuals come from backgrounds outside health altogether, such as business, music, languages, math, or engineering. Many career paths are possible to those with degrees in health administration. Graduates find opportunities in marketing, quality assurance, personnel, health promotion, financial management, and institutional planning. There are 95 master’s programs that are fully accredited in the country by CAHME (Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Management Education). Texas has 8 fully accredited programs that offer the master’s degree: Army-Baylor, Baylor U, Texas A&M U, Texas State University, TWU, Trinity University, UNTHSC at Fort Worth, and U of the Incarnate Word. 5 additional programs are accredited by AUPHA: U Houston-Clear Lake, UTHSC at Houston, UT Arlington, UT Dallas, and Texas Southern U. Prerequisites for master’s level programs typically include completion of the bachelor’s degree and a competitive score on either the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) or the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). Other prerequisites vary from program to program. Students accepted into the program at Trinity University for the fall of 2015 had a mean GPA of 3.45 and a mean GRE of 304 and a mean GMAT of 548.
National Association: Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA): www.aupha.org
The Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) is a health professional who addresses the health care needs of the general public. The primary focus of chiropractic is the relationship of the neurological and structural systems of the body as they relate to health.
Doctors of Chiropractic are licensed by the state in which they plan to practice. Chiropractic educational programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Chiropractic Education. Two of the 18 accredited programs in the U.S. are located in Texas. More detailed information on these two programs may be obtained by contacting the following:
2540 Walnut Hill Lane
Dallas, TX 75229
Texas Chiropractic College
5912 Spencer Highway
Pasadena, Texas 77505
Ninety (90) semester hours or the equivalent are required for admission to both programs. Prerequisites usually include: general chemistry – 1 year, organic chemistry or biochemistry – 1 year, general physics – 1 year, English – 1 year, psychology – 1 course, social science/humanities – 4 courses. The mean GPA of students entering the program at Parker University in the fall of 2015 was 3.0.
National Association: Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC): www.chirocolleges.org
REGISTERED NURSING (RN)
There are 5 types of entry level nursing programs in the State of Texas: (1) LPN/LVN [ 73 programs at community colleges] , (2) two-year associate degree programs offered by a junior or community college [68 programs], four-year baccalaureate degree programs offered by a college or university [47 programs], (4) accelerated BSN programs at a college or university (for 2nd bachelor degree students – 14 programs], or (5) direct to master’s degree programs [for individuals with baccalaureate or higher degrees in disciplines other than nursing – 1 program = Alternate Entry Program at UT Austin School of Nursing]. Visit a good website for nursing programs in Texas.
The 2 nursing programs of most interest to Austin College Students are our gateway program with Oklahoma City University and the Alternate Entry tract at UT-Austin. In the OCU program, Austin College Students who complete the BA degree in any discipline and meet the following requirements will make a seamless transition into the accelerated BSN program at OCU: cumulative GPA = 3.0, science GPA = 2.5, general psychology – 1 course, A&P – 1 course, general chemistry – 1 year, microbiology – 1 course, nutrition – 1 course.
In the Alternate Entry program, a student with a BA degree and the prerequisites may enter the three year program at UT. At the end of the program the student will obtain the master's degree and be certified as a registered nurse (R.N.). Admission requirements: GRE, upper division GPA=3.0, A&P – 1 year, and one semester each of general chemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, lifespan psychology, nutrition, and statistics. The mean GPA of students enrolling in the alternate entry program at UT in the fall of 2015 was 3.46. The mean GRE was 308 (V, Q).
National Association: American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN): www.aacn.nche.edu