What are my options if my low GPA prevents me from completing medical school?

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med-booksAlice at University of Texas at El Paso asked:

“I was set on medical school after I graduated, but my GPA is under 3.0. Originally I was thinking I could go into nursing or graduate school. However, these programs are becoming increasingly competitive. What are my other options?”

Having a lower GPA does not automatically put you out of the running for medical school, though it will likely make acceptance a little more difficult. Since GPA is an indicator of subject mastery, and subject mastery is important in technical fields like medicine, GPA is generally a good indicator of potential performance, but it is not the only indicator. There are ways to boost your chances of acceptance to medical school despite a lower than average GPA. Don’t define yourself by your GPA, or give up on medical school before trying.

That being said, your career options in healthcare with a bachelors degree are extremely varied, depending on how much education you’re willing to pursue on top of your bachelors:

Some specialized technician careers (Sonographer, Biomedical Equipment Tech, Medical/Clinical Lab Tech, Cardiovascular Perfusionist) or assistant positions (Physicians Assistant, Physical Therapy Assistant, Medical Assistant) may only require some additional training or certifications on top of your degree, and still allow you to work with doctors and patients.

Other careers may ask for atleast an associates since the job requires more education than a certification course can provide. Radiation Therapists, Respiratory Therapists, and Nuclear Medicine Technologists require atleast an associates in their respective specializations, and you may have to apply for a state license in order to practice.

Medical careers are not limited to Doctors and Nurses, and you don’t have to complete medical school in order to help those in need. Hospitals and clinics rely on a huge system of professionals to keep their patients healthy. Explore all the directions your bachelors degree might take you even without pursuing graduate education.

Best of luck,


About the Author

Esme Smith

Esme received her M.A. In Counseling from St. Edward's University, and worked with students at Concordia University Texas' Career Center. She developed a passion for Career Counseling after leaving undergrad without much guidance, and grappling with unsatisfying work. She strives to help others bridge the gap between graduation and "the real world."

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