Career Changers

Changing your career to pursue a health profession

Am I a career changer?

The Post Baccalaureate Services for the Health Professions program (PBS) is designed for college graduates who intend to pursue careers in the health professions. A Career Changer is a student who already completed a Bachelor’s degree, likely not in the sciences, and are now interested in a health profession.

What courses should I take?

Our courses afford students the opportunity to demonstrate academic excellence while mastering key concepts. Many graduate level health professional schools require extensive science courses, which will take two years minimum to complete for most students. Part-time students will need a longer time frame. 

All health professional schools strongly recommend that students also take courses related to the Psychological, Sociological, and Multicultural aspects of human behavior. Some schools require specific courses. Depending on students’ previous coursework, one or more courses in these subject areas need to be included to the course plan. Learn more about the curriculum

The PBS advisors will work with students to create an individualized course plan based on courses required or recommended, personal responsibilities and preferences, need for health care experience, and a full-time or part-time schedule.Meet the advisors

Consider an Associate in Science Transfer Track 1 degree

Students can choose to enroll and complete an Associate in Science Transfer Track 1 (AS Track 1) degree. For some students, the requirements of this degree are very similar to the requirements for their program.
Learn more about the AS Track 1 degree

Students who already earned a Bachelor's degree are limited to a 12 month loan period for taking prerequisite courses.
Learn more about financial aid

Sample courses and suggested timelines (full-time) 

First quarter: Introduction to Chemistry, mathematics and/or a multicultural/psychology/sociology course.

Followed by:

  • One year (3 quarters) General Chemistry with labs: CHEM 171/181, 172/182, 173/183
  • Mathematics: Pre-Calculus 1 and 2, add MATH 141 and 142, after Statistics, add MATH 146
  • One year (3 quarters) Biology with labs:
      • General Biology for MD, DO, DDS, PharmD, DVM: BIOL 211, 212, 213
      • Cell Biology, Human Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology (4 quarters) for MD, DO, PT, OT, PA: BIOL 211, 241, 242, 260

Quarterly PBHMS seminar
Health care experience

Organic Chemistry with labs (up to 3 quarters): CHEM 241/271, 242/272, 243/273

  • Yes for MD, DO, DDS, PharmD, DVM, Nutrition; not for PA, PT, OT

General Physics with labs (up to 3 quarters): PHYS 114, 115, 116

  • Yes for MD, DO, DDS, some but not all PharmD programs, PT, DVM; not for PA, OT, Nutrition

Biochemistry (2 quarters): CHEM 255, 256

  • Yes for MD, DO, DDS, PharmD, DVM, Nutrition; not for PA, OT, PT

Multicultural/psychology/sociology courses as needed and time permits
Quarterly PBHMS seminar/class: includes test preparation
Health care experience

Application process
Additional upper division science courses
Additional psychology, sociology, multicultural courses
Health care experience

What health care experience should I have?

Health profession schools require or expect applicants to have spent time in health care settings interacting with patients and health care providers. Through this experience, students gain an understanding of the specific profession as well as other health professions, and the U.S. health care system. This is considered a necessary component to prepare for entrance.Learn more about health care experience opportunities

What tests are required?

Each health professional field designates which test are used as part of the application process.

Here is a list of the most common health profession exams:

  • Dentistry, DDS – DAT (Dental Application Test)
  • Medicine, MD and DO – MCAT (Medical College Application Test)
  • Pharmacy, Pharm C – PCAT (Pharmacy College Application Test)
  • Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy, Veterinary Medicine – GRE – General Test (General Record Exam)

The DAT, MCAT and PCAT include significant science content, such that most of the science prerequisite courses need to be completed before taking the test. In addition, there are sections in verbal reasoning and/or critical thinking. Note: the DAT and PCAT do not include physics in the science sections, but the MCAT does.

The GRE General Test includes Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. This content is not specifically related to prerequisite courses, though it will help to have completed college mathematics and statistics, as well as a broad range of liberal arts courses.

What help can I receive for test preparation?

  • GRE or other tests: one quarter seminar.
    Spring: SCI 287- Critical Reading Analysis for GRE and MCAT

MCAT: a three quarter seminar series. Students preparing for other test may participate; please contact PBS advisor to discuss this. 

  • Spring: SCI 287- Critical Reading Analysis for GRE and MCAT
  • Fall: SCI 288 - MCAT Preparation and Learning Strategies
  • Winter: SCI 289 - MCAT Test Practice and Strategies

Learn more about seminars

From whom can I get advice?

The PBS has designated advisors to support students with all of these aspects of your preparation and application: course selection, school selection, application preparation, test preparation and encouragement.
Meet the advisors

A few notes about special populations

  • Bachelor's degree from outside the United States: Most health professional schools require that most prerequisite courses are taken in the United States.

  • International students: Our program is open to students on a temporary visa, however, not all health professional schools admit such students.
  • Non-traditional students: Our student population is diverse in age, life experience, educational background, work experience, race, and ethnic heritage.
  • Veterans: Shoreline Community College has an active Veteran’s Program and Resource Center.