Almost 54 years old

I will be 54 years old in a few weeks and just started my 30th year of my IT career. I’m completely self-taught in that career, never completing, or even setting a goal for, a bachelor’s degree. All of the credits I have are pretty random, ranging from political science to mass, freshmen 101 stuff and welding. I’ve wanted to be a doctor done elementary school.

I started back to school Dec 2018, completed two ‘101’ requirements, and then my life kind of went off the rails last March at the beginning of a new quarter at the community college, where I had just started a chemistry class. It started with a MSSA blood infection following the second of four surgeries from Nov 2018 to August 2019, a divorce, a terrible new manager at work and some major financial challenges.

I am finally back to school starting this week, with what should be a couple of easy electives. I haven’t done the math to figure out how long it will take me to finish a biology degree part-time, but I’m planning on increasing my class load to about 3/4 time while I continue to work, and possibly look for an accelerated program I might qualify for.

I am a cyclist and ride as much as I can, which is not as much as I want, and even though my BMI says otherwise, physically I am in pretty good health - great health for a 54 year old. I don’t see myself ever retiring and fully expect to have another 30+ years for a second career. I had a full physical done when I started this journey. Aside from my diagnosed and well-managed adult ADD, I am in good mental health. I do have concerns about the physical health of my brain, as I have suffered at least one concussion and likely more due to cycling accidents. I have a full reverse prosthetic left shoulder as well, also due to the same accidents.

I guess if I was just going to throw a number out there I hope I could be graduated from medical school by the age of 60. I don’t even want to start the discussion yet about the type of doctor I would like to be. I am a ‘fixer’, so I see myself working in some type of an emergent environment.

Thanks for reading.


I see many people have read your post but no one has replied so I will! I am much the same in age and experience except I do Ironmans! I am applying and will be reapplying this year and will even go Carib if needed so I can follow my moms footsteps and work in a career she loved until 78!


i know what type of doctor you will be ! you will be a good one ! so good luck !

Hi David!

Very similar shoes here.

I just left a 25+ year career in Visual Effects/Film/Tech to go fulltime at Mills College Premed Post Bacc program at 50. I’ve been trying to get on this path full-time for over 5 years.

Between 2015 and now I moved from LA to Oakland, became a cancer widow, survived another MVA that left me unable to speak, concussion, TBI and soft tissue injuries which I’m still rehabbing, surmounted a few major and devastating financial challenges, including betrayal by family of my late spouse and being cut from the will, purchased, rehabilitated, renovated and rented a triplex near campus. Before my 2016 MVA I was a 20+ year yogi with a strong daily practice. I’m working my way back to this now, slowly with PT and acupuncture on board, and I’m also an autoimmune patient for 20 years now. I’ve survived more than a couple of concussions as well as fractured L4 & L5 at age 14, walked away from what at first appeared to be loss of feeling and control from the waist down. (PHEW!) I’ve been hella lucky/unlucky depending on your perspective I guess. But I’m a fighter and I come from a long lived line on both sides. Both of my grandfathers were sharp as a tack until their final days at 97.

It’s only too late if you don’t start now and I’ve been bored with the film world for a decade now, so here I am.

If you pack it all into a full time premed post bacc program and get in during glide year it’ll be 18 months - 2 years minimum post bacc + glide + 4 years medical school, so figure you’ll need 7 years at minimum, assuming you get in that first application cycle after PMPB and MCAT. Then starts residency & fellowship, depending on where you match and what you go into.

It’s totally doable if you’re willing to work like a mofo, which it sounds like you are.

I’m definitely a “fixer” and “bomb proof” and lean toward EM, but I’m also interested in preventative medicine, trauma informed medicine, autoimmune disesases public health and the emerging information on how the gut microbiome intersects with so much of our “health”. So we will see…gotta get there first.

Drop me a line if you want to chat more about it all. I was well served by my peers who did this in their early/mid 40’s and are now practicing - one EM and the other OB/GYN.

Also, it’s nice to meet another Griswold on here - my paternal Grandmother was a Batavia, NY Griswold.

Wishing you all the best,


I enjoyed reading your article and I am encouraged. I am in a similar situation where I want to start med school to pursue my childhood passion. I am 55 years old and would need to do the pre-requisites for med school entry. I am currently a controller with 30+ years experience in that field but I am ready to change my career now that my kids are more independent.


I realize this is a late response as I’m just now finding this website. We are actually in the same boat in a way. I’m 54 too (chuckles:). I’ve asked the very same question, and someone who is a doctor told me, age used to be a BIG factor back in the day. Today, there’s definitely a chance you can be admitted to med school at a older age and many people have. Each person’s situation is different and non-traditional students come in at different levels. Older people tend to be coming from another career, often but not always an associated healthcare field (I’m a therapist with 2 masters degrees). I think what would eat at me is that if I never went after this, I’d always be left with questions. There will always be the reality that I didn’t even try and that would eat at me. I believe it’s best to go after it, if your aspiration is to be a physician. And if you have given it your all, then at least you’ve done that.

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Wow I Love This!!! I’m 50!!!

Definitely possible to get admitted. There has been a 52-year-old in my med school when he started. What matters is your dedication to the profession. I am also a non-traditional student who got into med school in late 30’s with two little kids. In my class, I’m probably the oldest but there has been a trend especially in DO schools that each class has become very diverse (not just in ethnicity but ages as well). It’s never too late to accomplish your goals.