30 year old pharmacist contemplating med school

Hello everyone! I’ve just discovered this forum and reading through some of the topics, and I decided that this may be a good environment to discuss my future plans. So, some background about me…

So, I just graduated pharmacy school 2 years ago and have been working at a community pharmacy ever since. I like what I do day to day. I enjoy being part of a profession where I can learn about the newest drugs. However, after the work day ends, it ends. I feel like my professional life has no purpose. After going through my 4th year rotations as a pharmacy student, I realized how much I really love learning about medicine and the work that physicians get to do day to day. I mean, the learning never stops and I think I would feel fulfilled being part of a profession where you could utilize all that knowledge throughout your career.

I am not married and not really all that inclined to be and I am incapable of having children…so basically, apart from friends and family, my life is basically my own. For me, my professional career plays a huge part in my being fulfilled.

I’ve always wanted to be a physician and was pre-med in college. However, I was too scared of commitment to a field where I wasn’t sure I would be academically suited for. I was also pretty unfocused and very insecure as an ugrad. I also was obsessed with the idea that if I didn’t immediately “get” something, I was an idiot. And who wants an idiot for a doctor? I dropped out of the premed curriculum after my 2nd year.

I took time off between ugrad and pharmacy school to explore what I wanted to do with my life and decided that pursuing medical school was not for me. I thought I had too many issues with myself to really focus on the path and obviously you need to have all your ducks in a row to succeed during this journey. So, I worked at a pharmaceutical company during my time off and discovered pharmacy through some colleagues who were applying at the time. After shadowing pharmacists for 1 year, I thought why not? I like the field and it was exciting to put my focus on something else apart from medicine.

I did extremely well in pharmacy school (though I did not think it was that challenging) and graduated #2 in my class. But that itch for medicine has never really gone away. The biggest barrier for me, though, is money and I guess, time. I am already 140k in debt from pharmacy school. I still have to retake my prerequisites (I made mostly B and a few Cs in my science classes in ugrad) and I have never taken the mcat. Am I crazy to leave pharmacy with debt to pursue this? Should I continue down this path? I guess what I am looking for is advice and if someone out there can relate.


Interesting. I have met a few former pharmacists who are now MDs and they don’t regret making the switch. I mean if this is want you want to do then do it. Sure debt is an issue, but you can see it as some sort of “insurance”. Make monthly payments when (while) you can. If that buys you happiness, it is a good investment. Besides you invest in you, so I don’t see what better investment you can make.

I would dare to say that at 30 you are “relatively” young, many of us here are older (including myself). So if I were you I would

  1. Take my prereqs at a decent but not crazy speed
  2. Load off some of the debt - I don’t know what your personal situation is, but if you have no kid/responsibilities, then you can make paying the debt a priority. On a pharmacist salary, you can probably make a good dent in the debt within then next 2 or 3 years

    All in all, you have a sound plan.

    I do not know what your GPA looks like, especially undergrad. If you provide that info, I am sure more will come.

    No matter what you decide, I wish you the best of luck.


Welcome to OPM! I’ve been a member here since 2009, and have found the site to be such an encouraging, welcoming, and helpful place. I hope you find it to be the same.

As redo-it-all suggested, you are relatively young (all things considered), so please don’t consider your age as a barrier here. To give some context to that: one of OPM’s longtime members is in her mid-50s and just started residency last year.

Before you dive into taking coursework, I would suggest that you shadow some physicians. I know you interacted with them during your rotation in pharmacy school, but hanging out with a doctor (and only the doctor) for a few days might give you some additional insight into making sure this is what you want to do. After all, it is a HUGE commitment – gain all the information you can ahead of time to make an informed decision.

You mentioned some of your science grades from undergrad, mostly Bs and a few Cs. You didn’t give too many details, but I do want to make a comment about this statement in general. Honestly, this performance is not so competitive for medical school. According to the AAMC (https://www.aamc.org/download/321494/data/factstable17.pdf), the mean science GPA for matriculants to medical school in 2014 was 3.63. Of course, there is a range. But you get the idea that it’s very competitive. Your having done so well in pharmacy school may overcome some of that, but some medical schools initially screen students by their undergraduate GPAs. Taking classes now would be counted separately, so will not improve your initial undergraduate GPA. However, remember that DO schools will take grade replacement. I.e., if you take the same class and perform better (get an A instead of a C), they will take that A in calculating your GPA. This is not to discourage you, just to present you with more information so you can take a look at the whole picture.

Best wishes to you, and keep us posted on your progress!

Oh, one last thing – I would HIGHLY recommend coming to the OPM conference in June in LA, if you can swing it. I attended my first conference in 2010, right before I started my post-baccalaureate program. It was literally a life-changing experience. I think it’s especially helpful for those at the beginning of their journey, like yourself.

Hope to see you there!

Thank you for your replies! Yes, I realize I was a bit vague. My ugrad science gpa is 2.9. I was thinking of DO schools after speaking with a few students attending the local medical school (through rotations). I think they would be more open to a nontraditional applicant like myself and replacing the core science classes when I perform better wouldnt hurt either. I think, like redoitall and terra have mentioned, that I need more clinical exposure–so I’ve found a DO to shadow this week. My first day with her will be in 2 weeks! Hopefully, this will give me more insight. I will keep you all posted. Seems like I have a bit of things to get resolved!

It’s nice to see a pharmacist making a career change; I’m a former pharm tech and several of my friends went to pharmacy school because they thought they didn’t have what it took for med school, but none of them actually made the change afterwards.

My best advice to you is to keep a diary of notes when shadowing; it can really help your personal statement and answer questions as to why you want to change careers.

@thatday wrote:

I think, like redoitall and terra have mentioned, that I need more clinical exposure–so I’ve found a DO to shadow this week. My first day with her will be in 2 weeks! Hopefully, this will give me more insight.

This is wonderful! I hope it goes well. :slight_smile: