Additional Health Professions


Optometry

Optometrists are the major providers of primary eye care in the U.S. They examine the eyes for vision problems, disease, and other abnormal conditions. They test for proper depth and color perception, the ability to coordinate and focus the eyes, and they prescribe lenses and/or treatments including glasses, contact lenses, corrective eye exercises, therapy, and in some states, therapeutic drugs for specific diseases.

  • Degree: O.D.
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Professional Schools Association: ASCO (Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry)
  • Application Service: Optomcas
  • Admission Requirements: Two semesters General Chemistry; one to two semesters Organic Chemistry; two semesters each of Physics, Biology, Math. Microbiology, Psychology, English, (specific additional requirements recommended by individual schools)
  • Admission Exam: OAT (Optometry Admissions Test)
  • Personal Attributes and Experiences: Optometry students must be intelligent, scientifically curious, motivated, and socially conscious. Demonstrated knowledge of profession.
  • Recommendation Letters: Health Professions Committee letter sent with additional individual letters of support.

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapists care for people who have been disabled through injury, illness, developmental defects, and aging. PTs evaluate muscular and related functions and use various therapeutic treatments.  PTs may work on referral of a physician or independently.

  • Degree: DPT
  • Program Length: Typically 3 Years
  • Professional Schools Association: APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) Application Service: PTCAS
  • Admission Requirements: Two semesters each of Chemistry and Physics; three semester’s minimum of Biology including one semester each of Human Anatomy and Human Physiology. One semester each of General Psychology and Advanced Psychology, Math, English, Statistics.
  • Admission Exam: GRE (Graduate Record Exam)
  • Personal Attributes and Experiences: Most PT programs require significant experience in physical therapy clinics.
  • Recommendation Letters: Individual Letters of Support

Physician Assistant

Physician’s Assistants are trained to screen patients, take histories, perform physical exams, perform developmental screening exams for children, manage emergencies, etc. A physician willing to accept responsibility may assign more complicated therapeutic procedures to the PA who has demonstrated ability.

  • Degree: P.A.
  • Program Length: 2 Years
  • Professional Schools Association: AAPA (American Academy of Physician Assistants)
  • Application Service: CASPA (Central Application Service for Physician Assistants)
  • Admission Requirements: Varies with school but may include two semesters each: Biology, Chemistry (some Organic/Biochemistry), Microbiology, Anatomy, and Physiology; one semester Math. Also, Psychology.
  • Admission Exam:  GRE (most), or MCAT
  • Personal Attributes and Experiences: Most PA programs require health care experience (e.g. EMT, volunteering in a hospital, orderly, nurse’s aide, nurse, etc.) MOST programs expect life experience as well as medical experience.
  • Recommendation Letters: Individual Letters of Support

Pharmacy

Pharmacists educate patients about prescription and over-the-counter medications, advise other healthcare professionals on drug decisions for patients, provide expertise about the composition of drugs, including chemical, biological and physical properties as well as use, ensure drug purity and strength, ensure drugs do not interact in a harmful way.

  • Degree: Pharm.D
  • Program Length: 3 – 4 Years
  • Professional Schools Association: AACP (American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy)
  • Application Service: PharmCAS (Pharmacy College Application Service) – 39 of 84 schools use the service.
  • Admission Requirements: Varies by school, but typically: General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, General Biology, Microbiology, Physics, Human Anatomy, Calculus, English, Social Sciences, Biochemistry.
  • Admission Exam: PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Exam)
  • Personal Attributes and Experiences: Integrity and adherence to rigid ethical standards; Commitment to building community, to patient care, and to life-long learning to maintain competency; Willingness to accept responsibility and accountability;
  • Recommendation Letters: Three letters of recommendation as requested by schools.

Advanced Practice Nursing

“Advance Practice Nurses” include nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists (CNS), nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and others. They are primary and acute health care providers. License depends on specialty and generally allows advanced practice nurses to conduct physical exams, order and interpret lab tests, diagnose and treat illnesses, and counsel patients. They are independent practitioners.

  • Degree: Advance Practice Programs are Master’s Degree Programs leading to M.S.N. Types of Advance Practice Nurses include N.P. (Nurse Practitioner), C.N.S. (Clinical Nurse Specialist), Nurse-Midwife, Nurse Anesthetist and others.
  • Program Length: Accelerated B.S.N. Programs, 1 year. Direct Entry Master’s Programs, approximately 3 years.
  • Professional Schools Organization: AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing)
  • Application Service: School specific applications. Some schools use NursingCAS
  • Admission Requirements: Schools vary considerably. These courses are common: Human Anatomy & Physiology, General Chemistry (4-8 credits), Statistics, Psychology (including Developmental), English. For school specific detail: http://www.aacn.nche.edu
  • Admission Exam: GRE (Graduate Record Exam)
  • Personal Attributes and Experience: Maturity, motivation, commitment to and interest in working closely with patients, ability to work independently. Direct patient care experience.
  • Recommendation Letters: Individual letters of support.

Podiatry

A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine examines, diagnoses, treats, and helps patients prevent diseases and disorders affecting the foot and lower leg. DPMs share with other physicians the legal authority to make independent professional judgments and to administer medical and surgical treatment.

  • Degree: DPM
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Professional Schools Association: AACPM (American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine)
  • Application Service: AACPMAS (American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine Application Service)
  • Admission Requirements: One year each: Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Math (through calculus), Physics, and English.
  • Admission Exam: MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)
  • Personal Attributes and Experiences: Similar to medicine. Knowledge and commitment to podiatric medicine gained through experience or shadowing a practicing podiatrist.
  • Recommendation Letters: Health Professions Committee letter and a letter of recommendation from a practicing podiatrist.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy involves the social, emotional, and physical rehabilitation of people of all ages who are mentally, developmentally, or emotionally challenged. OTs provide patients with activities that aid them in mastering skills necessary to perform tasks at home, work, school, and in the community. The goal is to guide the patient to a life that is as independent, productive and satisfying as possible.

  • Degree: OT or MSOT (Master’s degree program recommended for students who have completed a BA/BS degree)
  • Program Length: 2 years (MS)
  • Professional Schools Association: AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association)
  • Application Service: OTCAS (OT Centralized Application Service)
  • Admission Requirements: A BA/BS degree including a minimum of 12 credits in social sciences. Also Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Statistics, Abnormal Psychology and Developmental or Child Psychology.
  • Admission Exam: GRE (Graduate Record Exam)
  • Personal Attributes and Experiences: Experience in health care or other related fields.
  • Recommendation Letters: Individual Letters of Support.

Naturopathic Medicine

The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) describes naturopathic medical practice as “dedicated to the study and celebration of nature’s healing powers. It utilizes the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies to treat illness and to promote wellness. Above all, it honors the body’s innate wisdom to heal.”

  • Degree: ND degree, and are licensed to practice in fourteen states.
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Professional Schools Association: Accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools
  • Application Service: NDCAS
  • Admission Requirements: One year each: Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry. One semester of Math, Physics, English and Psychology.
  • Admission Exam: No standardized test required.
  • Personal Attributes and Experiences: Similar to medicine. Knowledge and commitment to medicine gained through experience or shadowing a practicing ND.
  • Recommendation Letters: Academic, professional, and health care provider.