38 with PhD debating regarding med school

I am so glad I found this site. I know age makes no difference, but it is more matter of logistics. I am 38, my kids are both teenagers (one 18 the other 16). I spent my early life as a paramedic with a number of certs. I completed a BS in Biochemistry & Molecular Bio with a 3.59 GPA in 2003, and my PhD in Cell & Molecular in 2007 with a 3.79 from UCSD. I worked in the cardiac research field (focused on cardiac stem cells and protective kinases) with 10 pubs in top tier journals and patented research in the area. I am now working in pharma/device after leaving Harvard. I am considering going back for my MD and have a couple of questions:

  1. What are the chances of getting in to med school with this record?

  2. When do courses “expire” such that I would have to repeat?

  3. How do I pay for med school? I know there are student loans, and know the limits, but are there additional options for re-entering students?

  4. I am debating between cardiothoracic surgery and cardiology. How impacted are these two subspecialty residency programs?

    Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated!

Unless you come across as a serial killer in your interview you could easily get into med school. If there is a specific highly ranked program you want it may be a little harder but with your background PhD+paramedic your like a dream candidate for most medical schools. If I were you I’d look for schools that will allow you to test, or apply for advanced standing. With you education you could probably get out of biochem and physio among other courses if you try (saving like a year of your life). Many schools offer MD PhD programs. They will probably be willing to count some of your graduate courses towards your medical education (since they already do for their MD Phd program) For some one like you the MCAT should be a basic review of things you know. You already understand the basic concepts which is all you really need to memorize. Otherwise the test is conceptual. I believe you would do extremely well with only a little preparation. Take the MCAT asap, get your letters of rec together, maybe volunteer a bit. If you do well on the MCAT your could get into Harvard.

Best of Luck

ps you make the rest of us look terrible.

I’m sorry I forgot to address all your points.

$. just take out loans and forget about the money. You’ll pay 150k in tuition alone most likely, but both specialties your interested in make 350-500k a year. You can pay it of later (this is what the attending I work with tell me when I ask.)

Courses expire on a school to school bias. With your education I’m willing to bet they would work with you. Go to the web sites of the schools your interested in.

Cardiology is competitive, first you need to complete a internal medicine residency and the a 2-3 fellowship in a cardiology sub specialty. there are several different types of cardiology fellowships i.e. Electro physiology, interventional cardiology, non interventional cardiology. Cardiothoracic surgery is actually easier to get into by comparison (competitively, it is a very grueling program). 5 year general surgery program then a 2 year cardiac surgery fellowship, or a 2 year cardiothoracic fellowship. Some places are now offering a 6 year program that smashes the residency-fellowship together. I hope you wife works because residents start out making about 45k a year, and in really long programs are still making only 60-80k by the end of them (if your lucky)

Agreed. You sound like the applicant that I wish I was or had been; obviously science is your calling since you did well at your studies and you have a great research and your paramedic experience should be sufficient for showing that you know what medicine entails. You should have no problem getting into medical school provided you have a good reason for choosing the medschool route. Some med schools want to know why someone who already has a PhD wants to get an MD. But I digress – you really do make the rest of us look like amateurs.