Non traditional pre-PT considering switching to pre-med HELP

Jan 6, 2015
Pre-Physical Therapy
Hello, it's my first time posting here in the non-traditional forum. Be gentle, please!

I'm 31 years old and on the cusp of applying to physical therapy school. I graduated from UM-Ann Arbor in 2007 with a BA in psychology and relatively good grades (about a 3.66 GPA). I have all of my PT prerequisite courses completed (4.00 GPA in all of the pre-requisite courses I have taken since returning to school in 2013), have multiple observation settings, have my required letters of recommendation, have been working as a tech/medical transcriptionist at an outpatient orthopedic PT clinic for about seven months, have well-above average GRE scores (162 verbal, 156 quantitative, 5.0 AW). I am planning on applying locally in SE Michigan as my girlfriend moved home from Boston to be with me and I would like to be in proximity to my parents, as they are approaching their seventies, and I would like to be close to them if possible.

I was planning on applying to Wayne State's program for early decision (for which I would have to have in all of the application materials by August 17th). All I need to complete for my application are my essays, which I could conceivably finish this week.

...yet I can't help but think I should take a couple more semesters to complete the rest of the required undergraduate courses for medical school and try to apply to med school or PA school instead.


For one thing, while I love the line of work (and I find manual therapy/therapeutic exercise intriguing as modalities) I can't help but wonder about overlap in terms of scope of practice from other areas of non-invasive health care (there has been and continues to be an ongoing turf battle between PTs and chiropractors with respect to non-invasive health care, and I find it rather disturbing that as of mid-July, 2015, chiropractors may now legally bill insurance companies for PT visits in Michigan without first exhausting coverage of chiropractic visits).

Additionally, I worry that I will feel my hands are tied by being limited strictly to non-invasive procedures. While PT provides an important service to allied healthcare, it is limited in terms of scope of practice.

I've previously considered looking at applying to DO school in particular, as half of the books in our PT office library are written by DOs -- in orthopedic PT, techniques from OMM/OMT dominate, and it would be silly to overlook this. PTs with an OCS certification frequently practice strain/counterstrain, myofascial release, muscle energy, etc. I feel like going to a DO school would satisfy this, not to mention that Michigan State University has a DO program that is considered to be one of the top primary care programs in the country -- I would love to go into primary care or physiatry via DO.

Would it be worth it to consider taking a few more classes and attempting to go the medical route (whether it's MD or DO)? Am I too old? Is it too big a risk? Should I stick with PT? I would need to take two semesters of organic chemistry along with a few other assorted classes (biochem and possibly microbio along with a few others). Everything else is done academic-wise -- Chem 1, Chem 2, Bio, Physics 1, Physics 2, Anatomy and Physiology, Human Physiology, etc. Any advice would be helpful. I do realize that PA requirements are a little different than MD/DO prereqs. I'm trying to get in to see a pre-med advisor ASAP.


Cyberdyne 101

It's a dry heat
5+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2013
Under the Bay Bridge
You're definitely not too old. And it looks like you have the ability to do well in the rest of the pre-med requirements, so I don't see any risk in aiming for MD or DO.


2+ Year Member
May 6, 2015
Medical Student
This is pretty much exactly what I did, except that I completed a semester of PT school before deciding to apply to medical schools. I haven't gotten in yet, so can't speak to how the change of plans affects admission (if at all), but I can tell choosing medicine over PT was definitely the right decision for me! It is definitely a huge risk, there's really no comparison between difficulty of getting into PT vs MD/DO schools, but all the points you discussed regarding limitations in scope of practice etc have been true (in my limited experience!).

I had all the same concerns you did in terms of feeling limited by non-invasive approaches, and playing a supportive rather than central role in my patient's care. I've spent the last year + working as a scribe in ER and primary care settings, and it has absolutely confirmed my decision. I'm older as well (almost 29) and was concerned about that at first, but I figure by the time we get old people will be living to 100 regularly ;) just kidding, but in seriousness I think you have to do what is going to inspire you.

Let me know if you have any other questions! Again, I can't really speak to success right now, but you're not alone :)

Preparation for applying to MD/DO is definitely different; it took me a few years to get enough medical clinical experience, volunteering, and to do the MCAT (which is really terrible haha!). But it's doable, and, I think, worth it.

Good luck with your decision!!
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