Hello fellow OPMers

I’m glad to have found this site, such a great deal of useful and inspiring information. Thanks to all who have shared their stories and advice.

This is a long post, sorry.

I’m a very recently retired Army Physician Assistant with 12.5 years experience mostly in primary care, military, and occupational medicine. Medicine didn’t occur to me as a career until I found out about the Army PA program. I always preferred science courses, so it wasn’t a huge stretch to go medical. By the time I considered medical school, I was too old for the USUHS (military) medical program. I didn’t want to forfeit a pension by leaving the Army early so I decided to stay in, completing a BS, MPAS, and MPH along the way.

Now that I’ve retired, I’m finally in a position to consider my options fully. It didn’t take long before the thought of medical school popped up again. My challenges are my age (43 now), my lack of prerequisites, and the MCAT. I have taken most of the normal pre-reqs, but in condensed versions for PA school that will most likely not be accepted. Not to mention it’s been over 13 years since I’ve had most of these courses and will need the review to get ready for the MCAT. My PA school GPA was 3.68, all my other course work (undergrad & grad) has been 4.0 to give me a cumulative 3.8.

My current planning involves the academic and financial considerations to reach my eventual goal. I’m currently working in a family care clinic (seeing regular peds for the first time in about 10 years) and planning to save as much money as possible for school over the next two years. I plan to essentially start over with Math by learning Algebra, Geometry, Trig, and then Calculus with the goal of being ready for Physics. I’ll also review/relearn inorganic and organic chemistry again prior to starting my pre med.

I enlisted in Texas so I have several financial aid options. I plan on using my GI Bill benefits for the pre med courses and probably part of med school and once those are used up I’ll hopefully be able to use the Hazlewood act which is supposed to provide for 100% tuition/books for up to 150 hours of education. I don’t know exactly how that will work with med school, but the VA rep I emailed said it could be used for med school.

My plan is to attend my pre med and med school in Texas for the in state rates (and Hazlewood). Right now I’m looking at the University of St Thomas in Houston since they have a post bac program that has a 67% med school acceptance rate. I’m also leaning towards them because Houston has two medical schools and we want to try and avoid moving again after pre med (we’ll have to move for pre-med since nothing is close enough right now).

Sorry for the long winded post. I’d appreciate any advice or feedback as applicable to my situation.

That post-bacc program seems like a great option.

Having your finances in good shape going in is not a bad idea at all.

Re the math - do the med schools you are interested in require Calc physics? Because many accept non-calc Physics and then you could stop the math review at Algebra and Trig. You certainly only need non-calc physics for the MCAT.

Welcome here, and don’t worry about the long post - you’re in good company here


Thanks for the feedback Kate. The MCAT advice is exactly what I need. I don’t think any of the Texas schools require calc physics specifically, so I may be able to condense my review a bit.

I had seen on another forum where someone recommended reviewing all the way up to calculus for both physics and MCAT preparation, but if the MCAT doesn’t get to that level then I don’t see a need necessarily. I need to check with the pre med program I decide upon and find out what their 1st year physics courses cover and if I can bypass calc and still be prepared.

I think most of the Texas schools allow stats as the math credit instead of calc and I did well in Biostats during my MPH so I’m more inclined to take stats again. I don’t think they will allow my Biostats since it was taught by the Biostats/Epidemiology department and not the math department. I’ve seen many med schools make that distinction for transferability.