Working while in school

I would love some feedback or advice from any married persons here with families…

Being a married father of 2 I am faced with the dilemma of how I can best earn money to satisfy my family “financial” obligations while in school. I am VERY interested in taking the prereq’s needed for med school, and also switch my current marketing major to a “science” major. To do this I am going to have my credits transferred to a “brick and mortar” school from the Univ of Phoenix (on-line) in which I am currently enrolled. I am planning on taking a full course load if/when I switch majors and bust my butt to make sure I get great grades.

My dilemma is that I will still have to work, at least part-time to bring in some money to pay bills. I am thinking waitering would be my best option to make the most money for hours worked.

Does anyone have any other suggestions? Also if/when I am fortunate enough to apply and get accepted to med school is it possible to work while in med school?

I appreciate any feedback and/or advice!

Thank You!



thanks for the question. I can’t answer it, but I’d like any input as well as I am facing the same situation.

You should not plan on being able to work during med school. A few people DO work (typically during first and second years), but med school is very time intensive and most people don’t have the time they want to spend with family and for relaxing, let alone to work. The people who work tend to be people with a healthcare background who pick up the occasional shift on a weekend or during breaks. I was able to work a few hours a week as a library monitor, which allowed me to study some while working, but certainly didn’t provide any significant income.

I continued to work as a patient care tech through the end of my third year of med school. If I had to do it again, I think my time would have been better served studying or with my husband. I don’t think it added anything to my resume by continuing through med school.

Break it into three parts:




Each has it’s own unique needs and financial options. Then put together a rough budget for how much you think each section is going to cost and where you can get money for each – loans, grants, yourself, your spouse.

Call a school or two and talk to their financial aid office.

Student loans. You should be able to live off them betwen gov and private. If you go fulltime, should be able to concentrate on getting your classes completed much quicker. Try to see which ones you can CLEP too. I tested out of about 10 classes (30 credits).

This might not be an option available to everyone, but it’s what I’m planning to do. I hold an English education license, and I currently teach middle school English online for a public school. I am working from home, and I’m pretty flexible with my work hours. It’s full time, so I definitely put in my hours. But so far, I’ve been able to work, do pre-med courses, and care for three kids (4 and under) at the same time.

Obviously, I won’t be able to do it all during med school, but I do plan to continue at least part-time as long as I can. I’ve gotten really good at multi-tasking, and if my hours can be sort of flexible with school and I can work from wherever I am, it’s a good deal for me. My kids will all be in school when I start med school, so I won’t have the kid piece in play during the day. Hubby teaches too, so we can have working/studying/grading dates like we do already.

I know you’re not a teacher, but I’d look into some online options for work. Especailly with a marketing degree (or anything in business, really), there should be some opportunities out there. You just have to start looking now so that you don’t miss something that could be a good fit.

Good luck!


  • In reply to:
Try to see which ones you can CLEP too. I tested out of about 10 classes (30 credits).

This deserve its own thread as I have plenty of questions (doubt) regarding CLEP. I will open a trhead.

What about becoming a pharmacy tech? They can work different shifts and make $15 to start?

$15 per hours to start as a pharmacy technician? Do you live in the Bay area? The national average wage for a pharmacy technician is only $13.70 per hour: .htm

what is needed to become a pharma tech?

If you are not able to use your current profession in a flexible way you most likely will have to find a job that has flexble hrs. Jobs like retail and security. Loans will only cover so much especially with a family.

If you can’t get loans to cover your expenses (I’m speaking only for your premed leg here), then waiting tables is certainly not a bad option. I worked in fine dining for 2 years making $200 a night…sometimes I’d take home $500. You have to get into a good establishment…chophouses are good if there’s a nice one near you. Just a side note though, set aside money for taxes if you go this route. You can end up owing a LOT at the end of the year if it’s lucrative for you. Also, bear in mind that waiters of this caliber take their jobs pretty seriously and expect you to do the same as far as making it a priority. It can be harder to get on part time in a high end restaurant unless you’ve got seniority so you’d need to determine how much time is too much. I worked 5 days per week from 3 to about 9-10 pm, but not while in school. Just food for thought…

Bartending is an option as well and can be more flexible, but sometimes longer hours and dealing with drunk people on a regular basis gets beyond irritating.

Just my .02!

Good luck in whatever you decide!

While I think it’s great that people are throwing out options for flexible employment out there, I would just like to emphasize that you should absolutely NOT be planning on working during medical school as a way to cover your expenses. Yes, some people work during med school, but it is a very, very small percentage.

Medical school is far, far more work than you can ever imagine. The sheer amount of information you are bombarded with is impossible to imagine. I’m sure a lot of you have seen med students post that they have time to do things that they enjoy and go out with friends and think that you could use that time to work. The downtime to relax and spend time with family is really necessary, though. If you fill your spare time with working instead of relaxing, you’ll go crazy.

You do not necessarily need to switch majors. If it is quicker to finish your marketing degree and take the 8 core premed prereqs during or after then do that. Med schools often prefer non-science degrees anyways as it increases diversity.

It is possible to support your family w loans depending on your timeline and whether you are comfortable w the debt. I did a formal post bacc in a year married w two kids and we did it with all loans (neither of us worked). It was a risk but it worked for us. You have to decide if it is more important to minimize debt or get on w your medical training. We decided it was worth the risk to speed up the schooling. I wished I could have gone to a post bacc w linkages to save an additional year but I was too late to apply for those programs.

As others have said, don’t work while you’re in med school. Spend that time with your wife/kids and pay back your loans when you are making a doctor’s salary.