Is working an entry level job at a lab after undergrad helpful on applications


2+ Year Member
May 27, 2017
Found a couple threads but they were all older and not DO-specific. I'm currently a senior studying biochem/molecular bio and planning on taking a gap year. For obvious financial reasons, I would prefer to take a lab job after school, particularly if it checks off research on the pre-med laundry list. (My current scribe job pays less than I made at Starbucks in 2012.) It seems like lab bench work may fall through the cracks though: it would involve application of scientific methodology but I would not be designing my own experiments.

Regardless, if I do want a lab job after undergrad, when is the optimal time to apply?


2+ Year Member
Mar 15, 2017
I think as long as you have plenty of scribe hours, volunteering, and your extracurriculars are set, taking the lab job is not big deal. Since research isn't generally direct patient-contact, it's probably not as preferred as jobs that possess that element. However, as long as there is scientific relevance and you're not sitting on your butt doing nothing for a year, I don't think anyone will complain.

As for when to apply - I started a full-time research and development job for a medical diagnostic company right out of undergrad. I applied early Spring (March, specifically) before graduation. I would start looking and applying when your Spring semester starts.
Jul 23, 2017
It seems like lab bench work may fall through the cracks though: it would involve application of scientific methodology but I would not be designing my own experiments.
Don't be one of those guys who walks into a lab and says "I want to contribute intellectually to the study, not pipette!" SDN has fed premeds that line for years and now every prospective RA parrots that line. I did when I interviewed and the PI said "what does that mean?" someone tried it on grad student friend of mine and she said the same. The PI isn't going to say no if you have a good idea, but it's naive to think you will just walk in the door and will a first author manuscript into existence with your premed brilliance. You've got to do the work, and get familiar with the literature, before you can think about experimental design.

You should start emailing PIs directly with a good cover letter and resume in the spring. Show you're specifically interested in the research and familiar with it. Also keep in mind it will take a year before you're up to speed so you should be prepared to commit 2 years at least. No one wants to hire you, train you, and then watch you leave before you can do anything useful.
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2+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2015
Medical Student
I feel like the value in working in a lab and/or doing research is in the exposure to the scientific method. At the end of the day, the scientific method is truly the basis of medicine. You probably won't appreciate what you've gained until you enter clinical practice and see that despite your best efforts to control for every variable, unfavorable outcomes WILL happen, and you'll have to learn from these.


2+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2017
Medical Student (Accepted)
Don't exclude the option of clinical research either. I was in the position of hiring clinical researchers multiple times. I/we looked at those with a bachelors degree and some healthcare experience as viable candidates (actually that is who we decided to replace me when I left for medical school). I feel the biggest value you can get out of post graduate jobs, if you are seriously considering going on to medical school, is the environment. and not the scientific environment specifically, but the environment of surrounding yourself with people who are also striving towards entering medical school. When I began clinical trials research 3 years ago it was purely with the mindset to use my degree while I buffed up my application. I found that my coworkers (including my manager) were all medical school bound and bumping elbows with them as well as the physicians I worked with was a HUGE influence on my success.

So those like minded people that have succeeded and are physicians, and those who are in the process of getting into medical school pull you towards your goal. they will help show you the way to get into school.

just my two cents.
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