Post Bac Questions?

For about a year, I’ve been thinking of trying to go to med school. I have an economics degree from a liberal arts college, and the extent of my science classes is oceanography. I’m sure I’ll have to do a Post Bac program of some sort, but I don’t really know what I should look for. My under-grad GPA wasn’t great 3.17 is all. Should I look for a career changer Post Bac program (obviously I could use this since I now work in the world of finance), or should I go for a program to help boost GPA?
Do I need to take the MCAT before the Post Bacc program, or is that afterwards and before applying to med school? Is my age going to work against me in applying to med school if I am 25 (meaning probably 27+ by the time I’ll be applying to med school)?
I’ve been really thinking hard about this med school idea for quite awhile now. On the surface it seems like a terrible idea since I’ll probably be leaving my job to go back to school so that I can work my ass off with the hope that I might be able to drop $100K in med school and in the end I’ll be getting a substantial pay cut when I finally graduate again in 6-7 years. All that being said though, I can’t get it out of my head. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

The first thing I’d ask you is: why do you want to go to med school? As you said, while doctors tend to be well-compensated, it’s not the soundest reason for pursuing the profession. That you have the idea and can’t get it out of your head seems telling to me; in a position similar to yours, I decided to flesh out the “why” more before I continued down the path.
To address some of your questions, your undergrad GPA was better than mine, though of course you’ll want to do well in your post-bac. Yes, you will need some kind of post-bac education to meet the BCPM pre-reqs, though it doesn’t need to be a formal program. Those tend to be more costly, albeit more structured.
You would presumably take the MCAT after completing most (if not all) of your required science courses, so that you’ll have the necessary understanding. A lot of people also take MCAT prep courses.
As for your age… that’s what makes you a non-trad. Some schools are particularly open to non-trad students, and some still seem hesitant; in the end, you’ll need to prove yourself either way. I’m in the same age group as you, and a number of people on these boards have a good decade or two on us.
If you’d find a timeline helpful, here’s how I see my schedule; yours may be similar:
last year - now : work full time, classes in evenings
Fall 06-Spring 07 : Full time school to meet BCPM requirements; possible part-time work
Summer 07 : take MCAT
Fall 07 : formal applications, visits, interviews (with luck), etc. Meanwhile, work full time again, probably take an evening course to stay sharp
Fall 08 : Start med school (again with luck)
That “glide year” from fall 07-08 is one big difference for non-trads; rather than applying our Junior year of college and jumping right in, we’re busy doing the application thing while working.
After that, I believe it’s 4 years med school (often 2 classroom, 2 clinical), then ~3 years residency, followed by any specialty training necessary.
It’s a long path - as a lot of OPM members are fond of saying, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s also… well, you get to be a doctor at the end. Can’t beat that with a stick
Hope this helped! Anyone more knowledgable than me, please feel free to correct any misstatements.

Hi Glen -
A good first step would be to either buy or check out from a library a copy of Medical School Admissions Requirements, published by the AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges. It lists all of the medical schools in the United States in Canada, with statistics about each one, admissions requirements, etc. I believe there is also a general chapter about applying to medical school at the beginning.
At a minimum, most medical schools require one year of general chemistry with lab, one year of biology with lab, one year of physics with lab and one year of organic chemistry with lab. Some also require calculus, biochemistry, cell biology, one year of English, etc. You will want to have completed most of these courses prior to taking the MCAT, because the MCAT content is based primarily on those subjects.
As Pi mentioned, you don’t have to do a formal post-bac. You can choose to take the pre-reqs as a non-degree/continuing education student or you can enroll as a degree-seeking student (nobody is going to hunt you down if you don’t finish the “degree” that you claim to be pursuing). There are some financial aid implications there, but I’ll save that for another post.
Your undergrad GPA isn’t all that bad. There are people on OPM who have gotten into medical school with far lower undergrad GPA’s. My original undergrad GPA was a 2.88 or something like that.
What might be a bigger consideration for you in your planning is if you have taken the pre-reqs already as part of your original degree and how your grades were in those courses. If your grades were poor in any of the pre-reqs, you will probably want to retake them. If they were mediocre, then your strategy for med school may need to be looking at a Masters degree and/or higher undergraduate level science coursework to prove to medical schools that you can handle the basic science curriculum.
You are non-traditional, but around here, you are a youngster. I quit my teaching job at the age of 32 to go back to school and take the medical school pre-reqs. I matriculated last year at the age of 34 (and there are several in my class older than me!).
There are some great resources out there - websites and books on getting into medical school. Obviously, as a non-trad, a lot of the stuff doesn’t apply to you, but the pre-reqs and application process are the same. If you have a medical school close by, you might also consider making an appointment to talk with admissions staff and see what recommendations they have for you.
Good luck!