Intro-Airline pilot considering career as physician

Hello, I just discovered this forum as well as the medschoolhq podcast, and from what I have seen so far both are great resources.

A little about myself, I am a 31 year old airline pilot who has been considering a career change into medicine for the past few years. Initially I just told myself that it would be too difficult to go back to school. However, the more I look into it, the more doable it seems. I have been volunteering in the ER at a local hospital for four hours per week for the last 14 months, and I have really enjoyed that experience.

My undergraduate gpa was a 3.55 with a strong upward trend the last couple of years. I will need a lot of post-bac work since I was a history major during my undergrad years, and at that time in my life the thought of entering the medical profession had never occurred to me. As a result, I have almost no undergraduate science classes completed.

I am trying to decide between doing a formal post bac program, or a do it yourself post bac. The biggest advantage to a DIY program is that I would most likely be able to continue working while completing the pre reqs. However, I am aware that I would get significantly more guidance with the application with one of the formal programs. Not to mention a quicker path to completing the pre reqs and beginning to apply to med schools. I am seriously considering going the military route either through the HPSP, or USUHS. Obviously the scholarship money through those programs is very appealing. I would hope that serving in the military as a physician, the air force in particular, would give me the opportunity to keep aviation as a part of my life.

I will say that while the thought of going back to school to become a physician is very exciting, it is also very terrifying at the same time! With that being said, the more I speak with friends about this and research online, the more I feel drawn to medicine. I feel as though I have reached the point where I owe it to myself to begin taking steps forward.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Any advice or comments are greatly appreciated.

Welcome to the forum!

I’m not sure what level of the airlines you’re working, but you should theoretically have a lot of time to study on your own while maintaining a paycheck. It’s pretty nice to have some savings rolling from a more lavish lifestyle into the dregs of studenthood again a la med school.

I’m former active duty AF doing HPSP. It’s a pretty sweet deal as long as you realize that you’re in the military, and there are a lot of pluses and minuses that go along with that. Generally, AF physicians are FAR removed from what’s going on operationally. There are positions that are less specialized that would allow you to have an operational feel and have some inputs into the safety and quality of life of flyers. AF Flight Medicine is largely a preventative/occupational medicine type gig with some public health responsibilities thrown in. After being a flyer and transitioning to medicine, it’s not something I’m really interested in doing, though I would love to stay operational.

Good luck, and PM me if you have any mil-specific type questions.

Hi :slight_smile:

I don’t have any advice but I wanted to show some support. I’ve been flying as cabin crew for a year and now I’m thinking medical school might be the right path for me. My GPA is similar, but my undergrad was also in an unrelated field. I’m deciding between taking correspondance courses while I fly this winter or enrolling full time at a local university to learn chemistry/biology/physics. Best of luck with your process!