Although some students come to Georgia Tech with a health profession in mind, many don’t realize that there are hundreds of career options related to health and medicine. We recommend that students mindfully consider all the opportunities and how they intersect with personal strengths and interests.
A great resource for discovering the many health-related fields is the web site explorehealthcareers.org. Students who want to learn more about a specific career should consult the professional organization for that field. Have questions or want to learn more? Come see us in pre-health advising, we’ll be happy to help you explore your dream career.
Once you have identified some health fields that interest you, consider scheduling informational interviews with professionals in those fields. Learn more about "Informational Interviewing" on the C2D2 web site, HERE.
While GT attracts many interested in a career as a "physician," we strongly encourage all students and alumni to be aware that a career in Medicine as a physician can be accomplished via two degrees. In the US there are two major types of medical degrees: Doctor of Medicine (MD) and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). MD and DO degrees are very similar. They both require similar prerequisites for entry into professional school and require applicants to take the MCAT. For each, medical school lasts four years, additional years of residency are required, students must pass licensing exams, and a variety of specializations are available.
To learn more about the MD degree visit the Association of American Medical Colleges site.
To learn more about the DO degree visit American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine site.
Common Health Professions
Audiologists are licensed health-care professionals who provide patient-centered care in the prevention, identification, diagnosis, and evidence-based treatment of hearing, balance and other auditory disorders for people of all ages. Hearing and balance disorders are complex with medical, psychological, physical, social, educational, and employment implications. Treatment services require audiologists to have knowledge of existing and emerging technologies, as well as interpersonal skills to counsel and guide patients and their family members through the rehabilitative process. Audiologists provide professional and personalized services to minimize the negative impact of these disorders, leading to improved outcomes and quality of life. http://www.audiology.org
Chiropractor is the primary care professional for spinal health and well-being. We are interested in and care for the whole person. Chiropractic is a natural conservative form of health care. http://www.chirocolleges.org
Dentists lead teams to provide preventive and restorative care to keep people healthy and to alleviate pain and treat patients’ oral health needs. They are at the forefront of research and developments in a wide range of innovative procedures to enhance dental and overall well-being. Dentists are instrumental in the early detection of oral cancers and systemic conditions that manifest in the mouth and that can affect the overall health of patients. http://www.ada.org http://www.adea.org
Allopathic physicians are critical to the health and well-being of all Americans, and lead teams and collaborate with other medical professionals to treat patients. They are also integral partners in medical research that can lead to prevention and treatment of diseases, and hope for patients suffering from serious illnesses like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Physicians may be trained as generalists, focusing on the overall health of the individual, or as specialists concentrating on one region or system of the body. https://www.aamc.org/students/
Osteopathic physicians provide all of the benefits of modern medicine including prescription drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate injury. It also offers the added benefit of hands-on diagnosis and treatment through a system of therapy known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. Osteopathic medicine emphasizes helping each person achieve a high level of wellness by focusing on health promotion and prevention. https://www.aacom.org
Health administrators are leaders in healthcare systems, healthcare policy, hospitals, and other aspects of healthcare that require expert administration. They attend to large-scale systems that serve patients directly and indirectly. http://healthadministrationdegrees.com
MD/PhDs combine the strong research schools of a PhD with the clinical expterise of a physician; they spend most of their time in medical research, which is informed, often, by their clinical practice. https://students-residents.aamc.org/choosing-medical-career/careers-medical-research/md-phd-dual-degree-training/
As the most prevalent healthcare professional and the provider who spends the most time with patients, Registered Nurses (RNs) are the backbone of the U.S. healthcare system. RNs are an essential member of the healthcare team who treat patients across the lifespan by proving services focused on curative treatment, disease prevention, and health promotion. Registered Nurses are indispensable to patient safety (IOM) and consistently ranked by the public as the most ethical healthcare provider (Gallup Poll). http://aacn.nche.edu
Occupational Therapy is a health and wellness profession that assists people in developing the skills they need to participate in everyday life where they live, learn, work and play. Occupational therapy's distinct value is to improve health and quality of life through facilitating participation and engagement in occupations; the meaningful, necessary and familiar activities of everyday life. Occupational therapy is client centered, achieves positive outcomes, and is cost effective. http://www.aota.org http://www.opted.org
Doctors of Optometry are the primary-care doctors of the eye and the frontline protectors of vision – our most valued sense. In ways big and small, day out and day in, doctors of optometry make a real difference in the lives of their patients. Vision corrected. Blindness prevented. Diseases averted. Lives changed. That’s what optometrists do. http://www.aoa.org http://www.opted.org
Pharmacists play a vital role on the healthcare team through the medicine and information they provide to other providers and to patients. When pharmacists are involved in patient care, outcomes improve and costs decline. Pharmacists can practice and specialize in any area of healthcare and while responsibilities vary among the different areas of pharmacy practice, the bottom line is that pharmacists help patients get well. http://www.aacp.org and https://pharmacyforme.org/
Physical Therapists (PTs) are trusted health care professionals who examine, diagnose, and treat conditions that limit the body's ability to move and function in daily life. A primary role of a physical therapist is to develop a plan of care and apply proven techniques to improve or restore mobility, reduce pain, and prevent disability that may result from diseases, disorders, conditions, or injuries. Physical therapists also help to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs through the development of fitness and wellness programs that promote healthier and more active lifestyles. http://www.apta.org
Physician Assistants (PAs) practice medicine in collaboration with physicians. They take medical histories, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, write prescriptions, deliver babies, and assist in surgery. They can specialize in various kinds of medicine — such as emergency medicine, mental health, and women's health — and it's common for PAs to change specialties several times during their career. http://www.aapa.org http://www.paeaonline.org
A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), a podiatrist, is qualified by their education and training in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of lower extremity disorders, diseases and injuries. A podiatrist works independently, utilizes x-rays and laboratory tests for diagnostic purposes, prescribes medications, orders physical therapy, sets fractures, and performs surgery. As part of a healthcare team, the DPM works closely with other health professionals to treat and control disease, particularly in the area of diabetes and wound care management. http://www.apma.org http://www.aacpm.org
Public Health Professionals focus on preventing disease and injury by promoting healthy lifestyles. They implement educational programs, develop policies, administer services, conduct research, and regulate health systems to achieve these goals. The public health field confronts national and global health issues, controls infectious disease, and reduces environmental hazards, violence, and injury. In the past century, public health initiatives have improved lives worldwide including increasing life expectancy by almost 30 years in the United States. http://www.apha.org http://www.aspph.org
Speech-language pathologists provide vital services across the lifespan to prevent, evaluate and treat disorders in speech, spoken and written language, social communication, cognition, voice, fluency, and swallowing. They work in healthcare, education, private practice, and community-based settings in collaboration with clients, families, and other professionals to improve the quality of life for children and adults with communication and swallowing disorders. http://www.asha.org/
A Veterinarian is a medical professional who protects the health and well-being of both animals and people. They diagnose and control animal diseases and treat sick and injured animals. Veterinarians provide a wide range of services in private practice, teaching, research, government service, public health, military service, private industry, and other areas. http://www.avma.org http://www.aavmc.org