Medical Fields

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What can I do with this major?





  • Allergology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family and General Practice
  • Gastroenterology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Orthopedics
  • Pathology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology
  • Surgery
  • Research
  • Public Health



Private or group practice

Health networks

Nursing homes

Rehabilitation centers 

Mental health institutions

Federal, state, & local health departments

Government agencies

Armed services

Correctional facilities

Colleges or universities

Medical schools

Large corporations

Test Required: MCAT

Schooling Required: After earning an undergraduate degree, the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) requires 4 years of medical school, followed by 3-8 years of internship and residency depending on specialization chosen.Some physicians pursue the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree. D.O.s emphasize the body’s musculoskeletal system, preventive medicine, and holistic patient care and often work in family and general practices, although they may be found in many specialties.


  • Endodontics
  • Oral Pathology
  • Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology
  • Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Orthodontics
  • Pediatric
  • Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics
  • Public Health
  • Research

Private practice (80% of dentists)

Armed services

Federal, state, & local health departments

Correctional facilities

Test Required: DAT

Schooling Required: After earning an undergraduate degree, the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) requires 4 years of dental school (last 2 years are clinical rotations).


  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics
  • Primary Care
  • Sports Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Dermatology
  • Radiology
  • Geriatrics
  • Diabetic Foot Care

Private practice

Community health clinics


Residential and nursing homes

National Health Service

Sports clubs

Some specialty retail chains

Test Required: MCAT or GRE

Schooling Required: After earning at least 90 hours of undergraduate course work, the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) requires 4 academic years (last 2 years are clinical rotations). One year of post-doctoral residency is required in most states.


  • Family Practice
  • Pediatric Optometry
  • Geriatric Optometry
  • Vision Therapy
  • Contact Lenses
  • Hospital-Based
  • Optometry
  • Primary Care Optometry
  • Ocular Disease
  • Public Health
  • Research

Private practice

Vision care centers


Physicians’ offices

Armed services

Government organizations

Test Required: OAT

Schooling Required: After earning an undergraduate degree, the Doctor of Optometry (OD) requires 4 academic years at optometry school.

Chiropractic Medicine

  • Sports Injuries
  • Neurology
  • Orthopedics
  • Pediatrics
  • Nutrition
  • Internal Disorders
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Ergonomics

Solo and group practices

Hospitals or health clinics

Test Required: GRE or MCAT

Schooling Required: After earning at least 90 hours of undergraduate course work, the Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) requires 4 academic years at a chiropractic school.


  • Clinical Pharmacy
  • Intravenous Nutrition
  • Support
  • Oncology
  • Nuclear Pharmacy
  • Geriatric Pharmacy
  • Psychopharmacotherapy.
  • Research
  • Public Health


Nursing homes

Mental health institutions

Health clinics

Retail chains

Government agencies including: Food and Drug Administration, Public Health Service, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Armed Services

Pharmaceutical companies

Health insurance firms


Test Required: PCAT

Schooling Required: After spending 2 to 3 years in undergraduate coursework, the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) requires 4 academic years.

Veterinary Medicine

  • Small Animal Care
  • Large Animal Care
  • Food Safety
  • Preventative Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Laboratory Animal
  • Medicine
  • Research

Group or private practice

Federal government including: Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services

State and local government

Colleges of veterinarian medicine

Medical schools

Research laboratories

Animal food companies

Pharmaceutical companies


Test Required: GRE, VCAT, or MCAT

Schooling Required: After earning an undergraduate degree, the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) requires 4 academic years at a college of veterinarian medicine. Veterinarians who plan to specialize will spend additional years in internships or residency programs.

Strategies for gaining admittance into professional programs

  • Choose an appropriate undergraduate major and include prerequisite courses required by the professional program, e.g. biology, chemistry, and physics, if they are not a requirement of the chosen major.
  • Meet with a pre-health advisor periodically to discuss curricular decisions.
  • Maintain a high grade point average, particularly in the sciences, to improve chances of admission to graduate or professional school.
  • Develop strong computer, mathematics, and verbal and written communication skills.
  • Build strong relationships with professors and/or employers in order to secure strong recommendations.
  • Join related student organizations, such as Alpha Epsilon Delta, and assume leadership roles.
  • Obtain summer jobs, volunteer positions, or internships to test fields of interest and gain valuable experience.
  • Develop a back up plan in case medical/graduate school admission is denied.
  • Look at entrance requirements for desired institutions. Be aware of any standardized test requirements, minimum grade point averages, and prerequisites.
  • Talk to professionals already in your desired field regarding their backgrounds. Arrange a shadowing experience.
  • Join professional associations and community organizations to stay abreast of current issues in the field and to develop networking contacts.
  • Read scientific journals related to your area of interest.
  • Research accredited institutions. Check graduation rates, success rates on licensing exams, cost, location, etc. If possible, speak with current students

Strategies for placement in Medical Fields

  • Develop a desire to help people of all backgrounds and ages including various races and socioeconomic groups.
  • Gain an understanding of the rigorous education and training required in the medical professions to ascertain your willingness to complete the required experiences.
  • Study the demands required by each of the medical fields. Many physicians work very long, irregular hours. Consider your tolerance for such a schedule.
  • All fields require licensure that is generally regulated by the state of residency.
  • Plan for a lifetime of learning to stay abreast of new trends in the field and to fulfill continuing education requirements for licensure.
  • In some medical fields, additional training is necessary for advanced research and administrative positions, university teaching, and independent research.
  • Some medical fields offer the opportunity for post doctoral experiences which can allow one to gain additional training or specialize in a particular area.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section
504/ADA /ADEA Employer.


Association of American Medical Colleges 
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine 
American Medical Association 
American Osteopathic Association 

Dentists from the Occupational Outlook Handbook 
American Dental Association 
American Dental Education Association 

American Podiatric Medical Association 
American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine 
The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists

Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry 
American Optometric Association 
American Academy of Optometry 

American Chiropractic Association 
Council on Chiropractic Education 
Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards 

Pharmacists from the Occupational Outlook Handbook 
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy 
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists 

American Veterinary Medical Association 
Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians 
American Animal Hospital Association