Career Changers

Changing your career to pursue a health profession

Am I a career changer?

The Post Baccalaureate Studies 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. Learn more about how advisors can support you.

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. 

A sample course plan and timeline (full-time) 

Typical first year

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

Followed by:

  • One year (3 quarters) General Chemistry with labs
  • Mathematics: Pre-Calculus 1 and 2, and Statistics (3 quarters)
  • One year (3 quarters) Biology with labs:
      • General Biology for MD, DO, DDS, PharmD, DVM
      • Cell Biology, Human Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology (4 quarters) for PT, OT, PA

Quarterly PBHMS seminar
Health care experience

Typical second year

Organic Chemistry with labs (up to 3 quarters)

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

General Physics with labs (up to 3 quarters)

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

Biochemistry (2 quarters)

  • 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

Typical third year / Application year

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 US health care system. This is considered a necessary component to prepare for entrance. Learn more about health care experience opportunities.

What help can I receive for test preparation?

We understand the challenge of professional school is digesting and learning a huge volume of information in a short time. The PBS program will help students develop effective study strategies to learn, retain, and comprehend the biomedical sciences. 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.

One of the seminars the PBS advisors offer is on the topic of test preparation and how to connect with other resources. Learn more about seminars.

From whom can I get advice?

The PBS has two 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. Learn more about 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 CC has an active Veteran’s Program and Resource Center.