Is there a reason why Medical schools don't like vocational majors ?

Quackery445

King of the Onion - to - Foot Detoxification
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2015
187
332
Status
Medical Student
For some insight into the CLS degree option to add to this conversation because I am completing the degree, I myself have had to take all of the same hard science courses all of the bio majors had to take but with heavy emphasis in microbiology, immunology, and biochemistry. The major required all of the pre-med courses you would expect to take with exception of physics which I had to tack onto my course load. That is three years of rigorous basic science work, all before I even hit the clinical laboratory. I am currently completing my 1 year internship to achieve my degree, and am now working 40 hours a week plus study in microbiology, hematology, chemistry, and blood banking. We take tests weekly, and so have to be on our toes constantly in our studies while also emphasizing the development of specific laboratory skill sets to aid in patient diagnostics which includes all of the aforementioned disciplines as well as phlebotomy and laboratory management. So, yes, very vocational. However, the "vocational" aspect is definitely only applicable to one year of the entire degree path.
 

bjt223

7+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2011
141
18
Status
@Quackery445 How was your experience with CLS degree so far? I'm thinking of pursuing one, but I'm not sure if that would worth it especially if I'm pursuing medical school.
 

Quackery445

King of the Onion - to - Foot Detoxification
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2015
187
332
Status
Medical Student
@Quackery445 How was your experience with CLS degree so far? I'm thinking of pursuing one, but I'm not sure if that would worth it especially if I'm pursuing medical school.
It just depends on what you like, and what you find pragmatic. I thought it practical to pursue CLS because of job security and a predictable future as well as the fact that I wanted to work in healthcare and enjoyed the sciences. Getting into medical school isn't easy and isn't guaranteed, which is how I informed my decision. So far, I think that CLS has been worth the time and effort. In our didactics we have to have a fairly good working knowledge of pathology with respect to laboratory tests and symptoms so that we can answer case studies on our exams. The program is basically teaching me how to develop a differential diagnosis of a patient's condition and how to treat them. At the moment, I am going through hematology and have had to solve case studies involving diagnosis of anemias, leukemias, and lymphomas for example. All very interesting. The main issue I have with the field though is the fact that a large portion of the core laboratory is automated. This means that if you work in chemistry for example, then get ready to push buttons, perform quality control, and spin down vacutainers of blood all day. It feels like glorified mechanic work. However, micro and blood bank are still fairly hands on. I really feel like a detective in micro, and love reading out agar plates after culture the day prior to narrow down what bug a patient has. You also do a lot of biochemical tests, kit tests like rapid strep and even PCR for MRSA and C. diff., and gram stains. In blood banking, it's mainly tube typing and cross matching, although you may perform antibody work ups every once in a while which can be interesting. All in all, it's an okay field for sure. Although, I was just accepted to a DO school and have a few more interviews, so this definitely isn't my future career. I definitely think it will help me in medical school though! I don't see how it won't. I would recommend it, but just know what you would be getting yourself into if you don't get accepted to medical school.
 
About the Ads
OP
T
Sep 19, 2017
17
13
It just depends on what you like, and what you find pragmatic. I thought it practical to pursue CLS because of job security and a predictable future as well as the fact that I wanted to work in healthcare and enjoyed the sciences. Getting into medical school isn't easy and isn't guaranteed, which is how I informed my decision. So far, I think that CLS has been worth the time and effort. In our didactics we have to have a fairly good working knowledge of pathology with respect to laboratory tests and symptoms so that we can answer case studies on our exams. The program is basically teaching me how to develop a differential diagnosis of a patient's condition and how to treat them. At the moment, I am going through hematology and have had to solve case studies involving diagnosis of anemias, leukemias, and lymphomas for example. All very interesting. The main issue I have with the field though is the fact that a large portion of the core laboratory is automated. This means that if you work in chemistry for example, then get ready to push buttons, perform quality control, and spin down vacutainers of blood all day. It feels like glorified mechanic work. However, micro and blood bank are still fairly hands on. I really feel like a detective in micro, and love reading out agar plates after culture the day prior to narrow down what bug a patient has. You also do a lot of biochemical tests, kit tests like rapid strep and even PCR for MRSA and C. diff., and gram stains. In blood banking, it's mainly tube typing and cross matching, although you may perform antibody work ups every once in a while which can be interesting. All in all, it's an okay field for sure. Although, I was just accepted to a DO school and have a few more interviews, so this definitely isn't my future career. I definitely think it will help me in medical school though! I don't see how it won't. I would recommend it, but just know what you would be getting yourself into if you don't get accepted to medical school.
yep.

The last ulterior motive for me getting into cls was for security. Coming from a poor background, I couldn't possibly risk it all by becoming something like a molecular biology major and thus unemployable should i not make it in the cycle or perhaps need a gap year. I see it happen often to medical school hopefuls all the time. I'd rather not become a statistic.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Quackery445

PreMedMissteps

The Great West Coast
2+ Year Member
Jan 27, 2017
1,665
1,733
yep.

The last ulterior motive for me getting into cls was for security. Coming from a poor background, I couldn't possibly risk it all by becoming something like a molecular biology major and thus unemployable should i not make it in the cycle or perhaps need a gap year. I see it happen often to medical school hopefuls all the time. I'd rather not become a statistic.
Yes, it's wise to have a plan B. Many premeds that I know choose eng'g, math or physics as their major so they also can find good-paying jobs in their fields if med school doesn't become a reality. Technically eng'g is considered to be a vocational major, but anyone with a brain wouldn't suggest that it's not an academically strong major since many of the disciplines include some or most of the premed prereqs.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Matthew9Thirtyfive
OP
T
Sep 19, 2017
17
13
For some insight into the CLS degree option to add to this conversation because I am completing the degree, I myself have had to take all of the same hard science courses all of the bio majors had to take but with heavy emphasis in microbiology, immunology, and biochemistry. The major required all of the pre-med courses you would expect to take with exception of physics which I had to tack onto my course load. That is three years of rigorous basic science work, all before I even hit the clinical laboratory. I am currently completing my 1 year internship to achieve my degree, and am now working 40 hours a week plus study in microbiology, hematology, chemistry, and blood banking. We take tests weekly, and so have to be on our toes constantly in our studies while also emphasizing the development of specific laboratory skill sets to aid in patient diagnostics which includes all of the aforementioned disciplines as well as phlebotomy and laboratory management. So, yes, very vocational. However, the "vocational" aspect is definitely only applicable to one year of the entire degree path.
i am curious to know where you are doing your CLS program a ? Its seems the academic rigor is pretty similar to my own (UMDSOM). It also begs the question if CLS are unfairly called "non rigorous" majors when that may not be the case anymore.

At my school, we take all the non clinical sciences that biochem and bio majors take as well as the school emphasizing heavy research in clinical science and we are given plenty of research opportunities to boot.

Looking through the forums, there seems to be a lot of old biases that are no longer relevant that are still held in the field of Medicine like the whole MD vs DO situation with residencies.
 
Last edited:

PreMedMissteps

The Great West Coast
2+ Year Member
Jan 27, 2017
1,665
1,733
It also begs the question if CLS are unfairly called "non rigorous" majors when that may not be the case anymore.

Unfair or not, med schools don't have the time/resources to know how rigorous a major is at most schools. The same thing happens with kinesiology majors. At many schools, it's sort of a science-lite major. I've heard that at UMich, it's a rigorous major (just been told that, don't know if true). Unless med schools know that UMich has a rigorous program, they may likely perceive the major as a coaching major or PE teacher major. I know that a number of PrePT students major in kinesiology or exercise science, but it seems that DPT programs are used to seeing that.
 
OP
T
Sep 19, 2017
17
13
Unfair or not, med schools don't have the time/resources to know how rigorous a major is at most schools. The same thing happens with kinesiology majors. At many schools, it's sort of a science-lite major. I've heard that at UMich, it's a rigorous major (just been told that, don't know if true). Unless med schools know that UMich has a rigorous program, they may likely perceive the major as a coaching major or PE teacher major. I know that a number of PrePT students major in kinesiology or exercise science, but it seems that DPT programs are used to seeing that.
oh, I doubt attitudes will change any time soon. lol

by the end of the day, you can get into medical school with a degree in creative writing so im not really worried about what adcoms will think of me. Especially if i decide to apply to the medical school im getting my CLS degree in UMDSOM
 

bjt223

7+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2011
141
18
Status
@Quackery445 Congrats on getting to do a DO school! Did your classes from CLS were accumulate as an undergraduate GPA or was that put in different section?
 

Quackery445

King of the Onion - to - Foot Detoxification
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2015
187
332
Status
Medical Student
i am curious to know where you are doing your CLS program a ? Its seems the academic rigor is pretty similar to my own (UMDSOM). It also begs the question if CLS are unfairly called "non rigorous" majors when that may not be the case anymore.

At my school, we take all the non clinical sciences that biochem and bio majors take as well as the school emphasizing heavy research in clinical science and we are given plenty of research opportunities to boot.

Looking through the forums, there seems to be a lot of old biases that are no longer relevant that are still held in the field of Medicine like the whole MD vs DO situation with residencies.
I'm doing my degree at the University of Central Oklahoma. But, yes, I agree. Quite a bit of bias exists against health professionals in general who decide to go to medical school. We are all lumped into one category us CLS's, and so have to prove our scientific rigor against professionals like nursing? Apples and oranges. I'm not saying nursing isn't rigorous, but it is very science light compared to CLS which most people mistake for a person that only does the simplest of tasks in the laboratory. I've actually met a few nurses that don't even have a clue what my job even entails and I am like "yeah, people actually run tests on the patient's blood. It doesn't just appear in EPIC like magic." But, anyway, I want to stress that EVERY professional is absolutely needed on the team, and I don't see why any of these experiences won't help in admissions or medical school.
 

Quackery445

King of the Onion - to - Foot Detoxification
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2015
187
332
Status
Medical Student
@Quackery445 Congrats on getting to do a DO school! Did your classes from CLS were accumulate as an undergraduate GPA or was that put in different section?
Thanks! I am very excited about it! But my classes actually weren't involved in the GPA calculation because my grades are reported at the end of my internship. Although, at my school, all of my clinical classes are considered biology or chemistry instead of "clinical" and so would have factored in to the calculation had they been available.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bjt223

bjt223

7+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2011
141
18
Status
Thanks! I am very excited about it! But my classes actually weren't involved in the GPA calculation because my grades are reported at the end of my internship. Although, at my school, all of my clinical classes are considered biology or chemistry instead of "clinical" and so would have factored in to the calculation had they been available.
One last question, how much were your CLS program? I'm really considering doing it one, but I'm hoping it won't be too expensive. I notice some schools offer no tuition fee but some does.
 

Quackery445

King of the Onion - to - Foot Detoxification
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2015
187
332
Status
Medical Student
One last question, how much were your CLS program? I'm really considering doing it one, but I'm hoping it won't be too expensive. I notice some schools offer no tuition fee but some does.
Well my school is my state school, so my tuition is about $6,000 per year or more. The internship is a joint effort between UCO and Mercy Hospital, and so the cost of the internship is the cost of UCO tuition.
 

Med Ed

2+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2015
2,916
9,804
Status
Attending Physician
I think it's less that "AdComs don't like vocational majors", and more that people who pursue those degrees tend to be less likely to put together a strong application for a variety of reasons mentioned above. Probably most relevant is that statistically they have by far the lowest MCAT scores.
This. People who come out of MLS/CLS programs with good GPAs, good MCAT scores, good LORs, and other solid experiences get into medical school. The issue is that a fair number of people who end up being weak candidates choose these programs so they can at least have a career in healthcare if the med school application process doesn't work out for them.
 
About the Ads