The Best Pre-Med Gap Year Jobs Before Med School

Curious what to do during your gap year before med school? Find a gap year job that aligns with your goals before classes start.

So you’re taking a gap year before med school? Seriously? Delay your chance to become a bonafide doctor by one year? Just kidding. In fact, this is a great idea! And now that you have a diploma in hand, it’s time to take full advantage of the year ahead. A year of surfing, writing that novel, backpacking across Europe, and catching up on the last seventeen seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. A year might sound like a looong time, but it’ll go by quickly. So it’s a good plan to have a…well a plan.

But first, make sure to do some housekeeping. Do you need to take or retake the MCAT during your gap year? When do you anticipate starting your applications? And don’t forget about writing a personal essay and lining up recommendations. Check out Sketchy’s other blog posts for some helpful hints on MCAT timelines and strategies. If all this sounds like a full-time job, and you’re still looking to make a li’l cash, then you might want to look for a part-time position or a flexible hourly gig during your gap year. If you’ve got everything squared away in terms of med school applications, then look a little further down this blog for some full-time job ideas!


The Part-time or Flexible Job

(12) guitarPart-time jobs and flexible jobs are great for when you want to gain some experience and earn some money, but still need time to make med school applications a main priority.

One job that is both part-time and flexible is tutoring. Depending on what subjects you tutor, it could even be a good way to brush up on some MCAT material and interact with pre-meds whose shoes you were just in, so this is a major win-win!

If tutoring doesn’t speak to you, consider looking for something seasonal. Do you like skiing? Be on the lookout for a winter-long job at a ski resort. If you want to spend some time in the sun, then lifeguarding could be the thing. Don’t forget about the possibility of working at a restaurant. Interacting with customers is great practice for talking to patients! You can even create an e-course for people to buy or set up a viral Tiktok account to generate that sweet influencer money. Basically what we’re saying is, there are multiple creative ways to earn some money.

Just keep in mind that a flexible, hourly or seasonal role might mean a smaller income during your gap year. Think about your budget, how much you want to save, where you’ll be living—all that fun financial stuff that adults gotta think about.

Interested in more of a full-time job for the upcoming gap year? There are lots of options, including those with a connection to healthcare or your future career in medicine. 


A Job Job

Many academic institutions and healthcare organizations have research programs, and they employ research assistants and staff to support these programs. If you have an interest in research, this type of job could be a great opportunity and can improve your med school application.

Laboratory research is also an option. If you did research in undergrad as a pre-med or stayed in touch with a mentor from an undergraduate class, see if there is an opening in a faculty’s lab. It's a great experience and it might inform your medical school applications (and can boost your CV down the line).

Of course, you’ll have a lot of time to explore the medical field, so perhaps you want a year doing something completely different. 


Something Different

image 18-pngIf you like being active and getting outside, then consider working for a landscaping company. Or, perhaps you’re an avid reader and majored in English or history. How about a job working as an editorial assistant for a publishing house or university? Although it might not seem all that medical-related, a keen eye for communication and being articulate will serve you well down the road in med school! 


Make a Difference

Looking to do some good during the year ahead? Volunteering here and there is wonderful, but sometimes having a little more structure and a little bit of income is needed. Have you checked out Americorps programs like Teach for America? Or other programs like City Year? Typically, you can set up a one year commitment when you start, so there’s a clear end date that you can plan on before med school. A gap year might be your only chance to do something like this, so if it sounds intriguing—give it some serious thought.

Other pre-med students have even gone abroad to volunteer or work at a non-profit organization in another country. If you want to travel more, immerse yourself in another culture, and learn a new language (which could be handy as a physician), this is the time to do it. 


The Awesome Internship

Helpertron 1

When you hear the word Internship, you probably think of a few months in the summer, hanging out with other interns, kinda sorta maybe working(?). Well…yeah. But there’s also another kind of internship. Many companies and organizations hire recent graduates as interns for longer terms to do actual work. Typically, these kinds of internships also pay and are geared toward developing meaningful skills. You're more likely to find this type of opportunity at larger companies, like at Medtronic, General Mills, or Google.  


Options, Options, Options

These are just a few ideas to consider as you approach your gap year before med school. From start-ups to non-profits to seasonal work, there are lots of options out there. Get creative and find the right opportunity for your needs and goals. Just remember, this year is going to fly by so don’t forget to have some fun. And maybe those seventeen seasons of Grey’s Anatomy can wait a little longer…

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