Health related career?? Clinical setting?

I am a freshman in college wrapping up my second semester…I didn’t do so well last semester. I got a:
Gen Chem I: C+
Calculus: C-
History of Music: C+
Intro to Med Seminar: A

This semester I will most likely end up with:
Bio I: B+
Chem II: most likely fail or C-
Chem Lab: B+
Psych: C+

I am premed but now I am reconsidering. My grades are not looking so well esp if I fail gen chem but I really want a job in the clinical setting is why I chose to be premed…I’m a psych major right now and I was wondering what other options I have beside med school?? Is med school even an option anymore for me? Maybe post-bacc program? PA? PT? Chiropractor? Nursing is not something that interests me

Med school is very distant possibility. You would have to do significant GPA remediation which may take several years. Not wholly impossible, but it will take time, effort and single-minded dedication.

A grade enhancing post-bacc requires a minimum 3.0-3.2 sGPA for admission. (And if you retake any classes, both the original and retaken grade will be included in your GPA calculations. For med school purposes, any grade below a C is failing.)

The academic requirements for PA and PT are nearly as high as those for medical school. For PA schools, a 3.2 GPA seems to be the absolute floor for admission at the lesser known programs. PA school also requires a minimum of 500 to 2000 hours of PAID hands-on direct patient care experience. (Most PA applicants have substantially more hands on than the minimum.) PT programs have GPAs on par with those required for med schools.

Here’s a website that you may want to browse through-- [Explore Health Careers](

Are you mostly interested in direct patient care positions? Or would you be happy working in a hospital lab or medical examiners office? Do you prefer working alone or as part of team? Do you have to always be the one calling the shots or are you Ok with working under someone else’s direction & supervision?

The issue is going to be that most direct patient care positions and clinical laboratory positions are going to require strong science & math grades–the very things you seem to be struggling with.

What about medical equipment or pharmaceutical sales? Or hospital administration? Those might play better to your strengths.

Would you be open to 2 year programs like operating room tech, ER tech, respiratory tech, PT assistant, psychiatric tech, paramedic, etc?

All of those will place you in direct patient care jobs while you figure out your future.

I know that chem is killing me the most and I know that my study habits aren’t great. I may end up with an A even in bio. It’s more that I dislike chemistry and push it away which is a very bad habit and I have to learn to make myself do chemistry even if I don’t like it. I have belief that my upcoming semesters will be better.

Yes I am interested in direct patient care positions. I’ve volunteered at a clinic throughout high school and enjoyed my time there. I would like to call the shots but working under someone would be fine too.

  • If I were to change my plans to become a PA, would my undergrad coursework look different? No physics/ o. Chem? And I’ve heard that PA schools are fine if I retake a course at a diff college than my actual college, is that true?
  • How do people get hands on experience straight out of their bachelors? I assumed with a bachelors you can’t get anywhere and I’ve heard there are PA schools that will take ppl without bands on? Is this true?

If I were to do post-bacc would I still do premed courses in my undergrad or wait to do in my post bac? I tried looking into it and couldn’t get answers.

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you didn’t like gen chem, you going absolutely hate Ochem.

PA pre-reqs are less standardized than med school pre-reqs. They vary by program and can be very different between one program and the next.

In general, you'll need 

1 year bio w/labs
1 year gen chem w/ labs
human anatomy w/ lab
human physiology w/lab

Many programs require:

1 year of ochem w/labs
general psych
English composition
medical terminology

You can find a complete list of PA programs w/ their course pre-reqs here:  <a href=""></a>

Be sure to double check with the online admission website for each program.

And I’ve heard that PA schools are fine if I retake a course at a diff college than my actual college, is that true?


Like AMCAS, CASPA (the application service for PA programs) includes both the original grade and the retake when computing your GPA and sGPA. And like med schools, any grade below C for a pre-req  is not considered passing and cannot be used to fulfill admission requirements. 

] How do people get hands on experience straight out of their bachelors? 


Most PA applicants either take gap years between undergrad and applying to PA school or work in full time paid employment during summers and part-time during the school year to get their hands on hours. PA programs were originally restricted to those people who already had had a career in healthcare (nurses, paramedics, military service medics, etc) and wanted to gain greater autonomy in their scope of practice.

Jobs that pre-PA students typical work at:

certified nursing assistant
medical assistant
ER tech
surgical tech
psychiatric tech
medical corpsman
PT assistant

Each program has its own requirements about what types of experience are acceptable so you'll need to check the admission pages of each program or contact their admissions office.

I don't know of any PA program that accepts students without some kind of prior healthcare experience.

If I were to do post-bacc would I still do premed courses in my undergrad or wait to do in my post bac?


There are 2 kinds of pre-medical post-bacc programs: 1) *career changer* for students who have earned a NON-science degree or who haven't taken any of their pre-reqs; and 2) *academic record enhancing* for students who have taken some or all of their pre-res, but whose GPA is not strong enough to be creditable applicant for medical schools.

With your bio, gen chem and math pre-reqs already completed, you probably won't be eligible for career changer post-baccs because you've taken too many pre-reqs.

Grade enhancing post-bacc some in 2 basic versions. 

The most basic entails taking as any missing pre-reqs and many UL undergrad bio & chem electives as you can until you raise your GPA/sGPA into an acceptable range for med school. This effort will be easier if you're willing to consider osteopathic med schools which have lower average GPAs/sGPAs. (But still, last year the average DO matriculant has a 3.6 GPA and 3.46 sGPA)

The more drastic (and effective) is called a SMP (Special Master's Program). These are specialized 1-2 year MS degrees that simulate the coursework of the first year of medical school. These programs are high risk-high reward.
If you finish in the top 25% of your class AND with a GPA >3.75, you have about a 50-50 chance of getting a med school admission. If you don't finish at the top of your class or miss the GPA mark, you've forever tanked any chance at gaining a med school admission.

Ok so I talked to my advisor as well and if I do retake chem 2 it would probably be best to do at my university. I think I’m going to take the PA route and will just have to work extra hard the next 3 years of college. Thank you very much for replying!

I’m a respiratory therapist and we’re direct patient care workers who are pretty independent in the hospital. We take care of very sick people who require life support all the way to an asthmatic who needs a breathing treatment in the ER.

Your grades aren’t going to get you into any professional programs like respiratory or nursing let alone PA. I think you should job shadow a respiratory therapist and a radiology tech to see what you’re most interested in. Both these fields are associate degrees with fewer science requirements. However, they are extremely technical and are difficult to get through. That’s a big part of the reason healthcare jobs pay decently. You can always finish a bachelors degree after you graduate. Good luck