Full-time or Part-Time Job for Pre-Med Students

Hi all! So I am going into college this fall to study pre-med. Unfortunately I am going to a school that left me with a big difference to pay with all the scholarships I have received. Therefore, I am studying to get a real estate license so I can help take off the burden from my parents. Is that a wise idea, and if so, should I commit to working full-time or part-time?
I chose real esate because I felt like it was flexible enough to allow me to volunteer sometimes at a local hospital and it also has a good pay (depending on how I sell).

A couple of things.

  1. Do you have an affordable college choice? This one doesn’t sound affordable.

  2. Understand that any income you earn has the potential to affect need based aid.

  3. Real estate agents need to be available when their clients need them…and this very well could be during your class time. Then what?

  4. I would have suggested getting licensed as a CNA or Medical Assistant…or EMS…all decently paying jobs and more relevant for a medical school aspirant than real estate.

  5. How much do you need to earn to make this work?

My opinion.


Selling real estate requires in depth knowledge of the local real estate market, do you have that? Are you talking about doing this during college, in presumably a new city/location?

The only way to make money as a realtor is for people to list their property for sale with you, or for you to be representing the buyer in a transaction. What would be your plan for getting clients?

Let’s start with the gap at your college, how much is that? What can your parents contribute?


Realtor is not a job I would recommend to a college student who needs to focus on getting high grades for med school. My mom was a realtor and she made peanuts until she was able to drop everything for showings and she needed to be available at all hours and 7 days/week. It’s a business about referrals and connections. And from a client perspective, I would never hire an 18 year old as an agent, let alone one going to school.

And honestly you shouldn’t be thinking about working more than 10 hrs/week while taking classes if you intend to be a full time student.

Do you have any affordable options on the table for college?


Ok, so to answer some questions:
I am not going to be commuting to school, so I will be still in my city.
From my parents knowledge of CNA, it is too straining. I have tried looking at other hospital related jobss, but most of them here require some sort of certification and that means going to a tech college to get of which I do not want to do.
My cost of attendance as of now is about $12k. My parents are willing to pay it all; I just want to be able to help out and not put the burden on them.
I am 100% committed to going to the school I have applied; I was deffered from some of my top picks and not accepted into some competetive BS/MD programs I had considered. So it made me realize that this is my school for sure.
I am right now considering working for Keller Williams part-time, since they have helped me through the study so far.
The school I am going to anyways only allows students to take 17 credits total and after their freshman year 20 credits. Of which most of the courses are 4 credits each. So that will be 4 classes a day excluding extracurriculars.

Sorry I will be commuting to my school

I agree with the poster who said you have to start getting patient facing experience, all successful med school applicants have that. So CNA (start as an asst), EMT, working as a scribe, etc. @wayoutwestmom can give you some more ideas


If you think being a CNA is too taxing…perhaps you should not become a physician. Physicians make life and death decisions, and they need to be on the “life” side. Way more straining than a CNA job.

Plus to be a successful medical school applicant, being a CNA, MA or EMS worker will be much more valuable than being a real estate agent.

But to answer the title of your thread…plan to work 10-12 hours a week max. Not full time.


4 college classes can translate to a ton of work outside the classroom depending on what you are taking. Don’t underestimate the time for studying, project groups, and homework. It’s not like high school.

And as noted, you will need patient experience for applying to med school. You could earn money and get the experience if you chose a part time job in the medical field.


Also all your science classes have required labs which takes another 3-6 hours/week for each lab. Plus the time it takes to write the lab report–so add another 2-3 hours for that.

Pre med ECs can take up a lot of time: community service with the disadvantaged, leadership roles in your activities, research lab experience (separate from your required science labs), physician shadowing and clinical volunteering or employment.

And a reminder–every grade counts. Your GPA will be very important when you go to apply for med school. if you start off getting Bs, you’ve put yourself in hole w/r/t your GPA and it will take even more As to raise your GPA to a med school worthy average.


So I went to Emory Medical School and George Washington University for some medical experience for high school students last year; I also volunteered at my neighbor’s doctor’s office last summer into the fall. So I was planning to do similar things the coming summers; like I was accepted to do shadowing at our local hospital this summer. So would that not be enough (as in future volunteer jobs), or should I get more hands on experience?
I am not quite sure what I want to do in medicine, but I have a lot of options that I like, which are not directly related with patients.

If you wanting a paid medical job–most will require a state certification. This is because medical job are highly regulated to make sure those working in them are qualified to work with a vulnerable population.

The certification for of these entry level medical jobs can be earned at community college, typically in 4-6 weeks of a full time (5 days/week) summer class. Entry level jobs are EMT-B, MA, CNA, phlebotomist.

Another job is medical scribing. The companies that hire scribes typically offer their own (unpaid) training once you’ve been hired. But not everyone passes the training. How are your keyboarding skills? What’s your typing speed?


Summer high school programs will not “count” toward clinical experience to support a med school application. Likely neither will shadowing in your local hospital this coming summer or the volunteering you’ve already done at your neighbor’s practice. Activities completed before starting college are not listed on a med school application.

Hands on experience is highly valued in med school applicants. Adcomms want applicants to thoroughly understand the kind of life you’re signing up for, including the unpleasant parts. Things like volunteering in a hospice facility or a rehab hospital are highly valued in med school applicants.

if you’d like to learn about other healthcare careers, here’s good website:
Explore Health Careers

There’s a searchable database of careers organized by income and years of training required.


Ok, great thanks for this info!
To answer keyboarding skills, I volunteered working in the front desk so I did do a lot of typing.

You can try contacting some of scribing companies in your area to see if they are hiring. Most scribing jobs are in-person, but some will allow you to work remotely.

Scribing jobs can be pretty flexible on hours. Some jobs are 12 hours shifts during the weekend which won’'t interfere with classes.


My pre-med boy worked part time jobs while in college, some with research, some at the college (general jobs), and some tutoring. Per hour, tutoring paid the best. If you’ve got the ability to be pre-med, you might want to consider trying it. He used an online organization - not sure which one - and tutored math/science/SAT/ACT at the high school level at first, and once he started getting As in his classes he added college courses.

It would be wise to start off not working much to adjust to your classes and be sure you’re getting the study time you need. Then add as you find you have time. Don’t forget to use some of your free time getting the other ECs you need though.


You may find that medical schools will not cut any slack around patient care experience just because you may show an interest in non-patient facing fields like radiology or pathology. Med school itself includes a lot of patient care.


All of my kids worked/work in college. My exercise science major volunteered at the campus PT center every Friday, plus she worked as a server, and then bartender, nights and weekends, and made good money. She manages to get paid positions at PT centers over breaks (she shadowed a lot in HS, didn’t put that on her grad school applications but it was helpful to get those summer jobs). She’s now in her dpt program and still bartending a few shifts a week, she can make hundreds in one shift. Her older sister did the same, her younger sister has worked as a cashier at a restaurant for several summers and plans on getting a serving job this summer. There are always restaurant jobs around and tend to work well with a college schedule. My daughter moved 6 hours away from the college where she got her undergrad and had a job lined up almost immediately (and age has no car). I know several women my age with real estate licenses but can’t support themselves on it.

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A hard NO on the real estate license. Breaking into real estate sales is tough; it is more than a full time job, with no real guarantee of income at all.

Pre-med is not a major. One needs to major in something that one loves, that one can get high grades in, plus one needs to take all the pre-med pre-requisite classes, about 12 courses, most with lab, of the 36-40 one would usually take for a degree. Yes, if one chooses to major in Chem or Bio or Physics, there is a bit of overlap, but still, the pre-med classes plus one’s major classes (and if you’re going to a school with general education requirements too, add that on) are a LOT of schoolwork. As a rule of thumb, figure three hours of studying/prep time for every hour of class. Let’s say you have a 16 credit load (16 hours/week, approximately). You would probably need to do an additional 48 hours/week of study/prep, probably even more to get the very high GPA one needs in order to get into med school. It would be very, very tough for anyone to be pre-med and work during the school year.

Your best bet, by far, is to find something clinically related that pays, and has flexible hours, flexible shifts. Medical scribing in person in the emergency department would be best, but it’s very tough to find these days, having essentially been killed by the pandemic, and now replaced by virtual scribing (which doesn’t give the scribe nearly the exposure that in-person scribing did). Barring that, getting a certification that would allow one to be present as an employee in the ED would be the next best thing - CNA, phlebotomist, etc. These would pay you something while you logged clinical contact hours. Work that one can do in any other outpatient setting is valuable, too, but doesn’t involve the broad variety of exposure that the ED does.

So either no job at all, or one that serves the dual purpose of clinical contact hours and helps you to determine whether you really do want to go to med school, and perhaps inspires you to give your all to your pre-med classes.

Thankfully, it sounds as if your family can afford to support you and pay your tuition of 12K/yr (which is really pretty low, if this is a private college) as you go through college.


Yeah, I did get 45k in fin aid & scholarships, but you know I just didn’t want to always rely on my parents financial support. I mean what if something happened. My mother is a stay at home mom, my dad is the one who works from home. I don’t want to be 21+ and still no way to support myself if that makes sense