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Gap Year Job Ideas

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by loveoforganic, Nov 10, 2009.

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  1. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated- 2+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2009
    I'm pretty committed to the idea of taking a year off before med school -not really to work on improving my application, but to just, well, take a breather from the classes and experiencing life a little before diving into that long stretch.

    Anyway, I have my heart set on teaching high school chemistry, but I would like some fall back ideas. My top choice at the moment would be psychiatric aide. As far as my interests... I'm honestly open to hear whatever you all have found interesting yourselves. However, I've already done two summers of home security installation and a summer of land survey and am not really interested in anything in that direction. Oh, I also have no certifications that would really be of use to me for jobs.

    -EMT-B: ~4 months certification, correct? Also, course cost? This sounds like an interesting as hell job, just not sure if I can justify the certification cost (depending what it tends to be around). Job availability would also matter.

    -CNA: Anyone find this job stimulating? General consensus I've heard is "poop cleaner"

    Thanks for whatever ideas you can give me!

    Edit: Sorry, let me clarify. For jobs like xray tech, or whatever, could you please say what makes the job interesting to you? Job descriptions aren't always that representative of what the day to day activities actually are like.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
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  3. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod 7+ Year Member

    Pharmacy tech! I'm biased since I did it for 2.5 years, but you really do learn a lot of interesting and useful info. You'll take little mini-histories, deal with angry patients, learn what drugs do, get insider info on how insurance companies work, and just generally get acquainted with being in the service industry yet still in a position of authority. The money is okay-ish, too, if you get certified.

    edit: I can also tell you that the experience is extremely useful for pharm, come second year. You won't get the nitty-gritty details, but you'll know what most stuff does and what ailment it's used for. I'm familiar with a pretty large percentage of the drugs we're given to learn, so while other people struggle to memorize all the names, I'm just trying to nail down the subtleties that separate them.
    sleepyturtle likes this.
  4. ilikekiwis

    ilikekiwis 2+ Year Member

    Aug 15, 2008
    i can't help you too much, but i think the length of courses for CNA or EMT certification varies widely. sometimes if you're lucky, you can find a condensed EMT course into a few weeks, but i think some community colleges have a 6 month course.

    the places i've looked into, CNA is a 1 month course.

    i've also a question that would be useful for you:
    how much does what we do during this gap year matter for residency? would doing research be more beneficial than doing something different just for life experience (ie construction work)?
  5. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated- 2+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2009
    Thanks for the replies :)

    Hm, I'll have to think about that one more. I had initially stricken it off due to the confined quarters, but honestly, psychiatric aide is pretty small quarters, yet it's attractive to me, so maybe there's something else I'm missing. I hadn't thought of the pharm benefit either.

    I doubt pre-med school research would be significantly beneficial to residency applications unless it was in the chosen specialty with a publication. I'm just going off what I've read though.
  6. 7starmantis

    7starmantis 7+ Year Member

    Doesn't pharm tech require certification, if so how long are the courses?
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  7. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated- 2+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2009
    On the one page I looked at online, there are no federal or state requirements for pharm tech certification.
  8. Kneige

    Kneige 5+ Year Member

    Jan 24, 2008
    Research is good just cuz if you publish, you're good to go for residency as well. And I know tons of PIs who would hire people applying to med schs. Generally, academia is pretty good about things like that.
  9. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod 7+ Year Member

    Being a pharmacy tech requires state certification which takes a drug test, fingerprinting, and a small fee ($10 in Missouri 4 years ago). National certification, the one that gets you a pay bump, requires a test and a sizable fee (~$300) that your employer will probably pay for you.
  10. futureNCmed

    futureNCmed 5+ Year Member

    Apr 2, 2009
    Raleigh, NC
    I was able to get my CNA certification in one full-day class (this was a self-study program). I'm not sure what different states require, but it's something worth looking in to. I didn't end up using this certification to get a job tho... the whole "Poop cleaner" thing is right from what I've heard from many nursing students who are required to hold a CNA position for a certain amount of time. However, it does mean you get more opportunities to volunteer and get some good hands-on experience. Many places won't even let you take vital signs unless you hold some kind of certification for liability reasons I guess. So I would suggest getting this certification and using it to get better volunteer experience.

    As for your job... it really depends on what kind of medicine you're interested in. I was REALLY lucky to get a full-time job right out of college in a medical office as a receptionist. Since I'm interested in primary care/family medicine, this has been great experience for me b/c it has given me the opportunity to see the administrative side of running a medical practice (something they don't really teach you in medical school). Plus, working in a medical practice gives you the opportunity to see what the daily lives of practicing doctors is actually like (not just how the portray it on TV). A future surgeon or MD/PhD would probably be bored silly in my position, but it works for me!
  11. scotsdoc54

    scotsdoc54 MS0 2+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2009
  12. ezsanche

    ezsanche 5+ Year Member

    Aug 15, 2007
    In most cases, if you are seeking employment in a healthcare environment , you have to undergo training. This training usually last about a year.
  13. Dr McSexy

    Dr McSexy 7+ Year Member

    Feb 8, 2009
    If I had a gap year and decided to do something clinically related, I'd either do phlebotomy or EKG technician.

    I know for sure the EKG tech job requires 2-4 months of training.

    I saw on your MDapps that you are from LA. I know that around my town they used to let people try out the phlebotomy tech job and if you could do it reasonably well, they'd let you stick with it without any certification. I never did it, but considered it while I was waiting to hear back about a job for the summer. If they do require you to get certification, I think they run anywhere from 2-6 months.
  14. aggiedoc2010

    aggiedoc2010 MSIV 5+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2009
    EMT Basic course: It will run you between $800- $1000 depending on where and how long the class is. I got certified over 2 months over a summer at a local community college. Be aware there is a national certification and depending in the state potentially a state one also.

    As far as job opportunities available to you as a Basic it kind of depends on where you live and what setting you are wanting. The first option is at a full blown 911 service, this may be what you envisioned when you thought of EMT (CPRs, stabbings, gunhots, car wrecks). Reality is that if the excitement and desire to work all those things is your sole motivation for wanting to do it you will be dissapointed. Many 911 services are connected with the fire department and require being a trained firefighter as well.

    Second option is a transport service. This consists mostly of nursing home transports, dialysis transfers and other similar things. Many find this monotonous, but can be pretty easy money.

    Third option is working as technician in the emergency room. This is a pretty good gig really. You have alot less BS to deal with in the ER then in the field.

    As far as money wise in Texas you can make $9.50-11.50 an hour dependent on where you work. Keep in mind many of the shifts are 12-24 hours long.

    EMS is a great way to get experience and a good field to work in. I do not mean to discourage you from working in it, I just wanted to make sure you had the right perspective to make an assessment with. I tried to give you the most honest perspective to my ability.
  15. 7starmantis

    7starmantis 7+ Year Member

    I did phlebotomy in undergrad, both certs and ASCP certified in like 4 months I believe. Not a bad gig, usually decent money (I think in Texas its around $12-14 an hour). Lots of different settings to work at as well (blood bank, hospital, mobile, nursing facilities, etc).
  16. roaming

    roaming 5+ Year Member

    Jul 17, 2009
    i was an EMT-B for 4 years in undergrad. i would not do it for a gap year activity, because you would need time to get trained, then get hours, and by the time you apply for a job you'll only have couple months to dedicate to it, and ambulance services would be hesitant to take you at that point...it is also pretty stressful (especially with a busy city service), and being on call 36+ hours kind of sucked...

    i would do community outreach programs (someone said americorps above, that is cool), or one of those city years that philadelphia/boston has (not sure what other cities have them).

    but seriously, if you want to take a gap year to regroup/experience other things, do something fun that you would not get to do! i mean pharm tech and cna and stuff is fun, but you'll be in a clinical setting for the rest of your life...if you want to take a gap year to do that (not to strengthen your app), might as well start med school without taking the year off.

    i personally would do some cool community outreach programs or go overseas to volunteer/work/intern/travel.
  17. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated- 2+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2009
    Thanks for the advice, will definitely look into the cna cert depending on what I end up doing.

    Don't worry about discouraging me - honest descriptions are best, and you gave me a lot of info I didn't know :) Thanks

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