Exploring a MD/DO... help!

I’m new here, and so glad to have found this site. I graduated with a science degree in 2000 at a competitive school, and while I was interested in medicine and took all the pre-med requisite courses (and had around a 3.5 GPA), I wasn’t sure about my passion for it, and frankly not mature enough for that commitment. Instead I got a MPH in health management, and have been in the field ever since, working in health IT, management consulting, and currently working at a hospital managing a department. But after 17 years of working in healthcare, I want to move from being in the support services and management to being a care provider, and looking to explore getting a MD or a DO. I should also mention that I am married and have 2 young kids, so certainly this is a decision that would disrupt all our lives.

I know my coursework is outdated, but what options should I pursue? I contacted one post-bacc program near me and they said I would qualify for their 2 year career changer program and would have to retake all my old courses, and that a lot of schools want to see all course requirements done within the last 5 years. I really don’t want to take 2 years to retake coursework, and have been reading about DIY post bacc’s but am unclear on how many courses to take and what courses to take for that matter to make me a more attractive candidate. I’m looking at the websites of schools near me (I live in Southern California) but it seems unclear.

Also, would I need to take any extracurriculars? I work in healthcare, and while I’m not a provider, I know a lot of the ins and outs, sacrifices and dedication needed. Its been a long while, but in the past (pre-marriage, pre-kids) I volunteered for hospice and enjoyed it. Extracurriculars would be tough with kids, so I’m hoping to avoid it if possible.

I’m just starting this process, so any advice is welcome!

Here are a few things to consider:

Regarding coursework, some schools want you to have all of your prereqs done within a few years, others seem not to care so much about that, as long as you have all of the requirements. I got in with some of my prereq courses being 15 years old, but your mileage may vary. If there are specific schools that you’re interested in, I would suggest getting in touch with their admissions folks directly to see what their requirements are.

Doing a DIY post-bach is definitely the cheapest option out there, but it may still take you a year or more depending on what you need. For courses to take, prioritize the prereqs that you don’t have first. Once you have those down, consider taking some higher-level science courses (eg 3000 and 4000 level) to show that you can handle the difficult, hard science courses.

Beyond the coursework, you need to have some experience showing that you know what being a doctor is like (could be shadowing, or other experiences). On top of that, some sort of community service is recommended (but you could potentially get in without it).

I’m also married with two young kids, and we’re making it work. So, if your spouse is on board, this is something you can do, but you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you.

I answered this on tomorrow’s (2/22/2017) episode - Session 62 of the OPM Podcast!