The short answer is: no, it’s not too late for you to become a doctor. There is no age limit for becoming a doctor or attending medical school. If you’re in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or even 60s, then now may be the perfect time for you to pursue your medical career, and for a variety of good reasons, and here are five of them.
In psychology, studying the different parts of the brain is a hot topic. The prefrontal cortex is associated with decision-making and judgment, and this is the last part of the brain to become fully developed— at around age 25. Not to say that typical college-aged students (18-24 years) aren’t capable of making rational decisions about their future, but once your prefrontal cortex has fully developed, you’re less likely to make decisions based on emotion and more likely to use logical reasoning. Plus, it’s possible that you may have pursued a certain career path to please others when you were younger and now that you’re older, you’ve realized that what you want— whether it’s a career in medicine or not— is attainable.
Millions of people struggle with standardized tests while they’re in school, and some may even continue to struggle as they get older. However, studies have suggested that older adults who are regularly active tend to do better on tests. When it comes to the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) specifically, older adults tend to do better simply because of the fact that they have more life experience and generally more knowledge. Of course, being older doesn’t take the place of studying and preparing for the MCAT, but there’s research to suggest that age gives you an edge over younger students.
This fact can apply to all types of institutions of higher learning, and not just medical school. Still medical schools are aware that older adults tend to be more serious about their education and their future because they know they’re not being pressured by their parents or other individuals about becoming a doctor. Admissions officers understand that it’s likely that your experiences in life have led you to make this decision, and that you’ve thought long and hard about it. With that being said, it’s likely that they will ask you “why now” in your interview (as opposed to “are you sure”)— but it’s also likely that you have an answer to this question.
Of course, doctors at any age will have job security because virtually all careers in healthcare are in high demand and aren’t going away any time soon, but as an older adult, you’re more interested in job security than younger adults are. So if you’re thinking that you shouldn’t pursue a career in medicine because there are already enough doctors, think again. And this goes for all areas of medicine, so if you have a specialty in mind, you should still go for it. Look to niche job search sites when searching for an urgent care job, a family medicine job, or even a psychiatry job, because these sites cater to medical professionals searching for a job.
There are many reasons that you may feel reluctant to start a career in medicine later in life, and one of them is that it’s not often heard of. The positive side of this is because starting a medical career at 40 is unheard of, your patients will naturally assume that you’ve got more experience— and will therefore see you as more trustworthy. One of the reasons that many younger doctors fresh out of medical school feel so nervous is because most people can look at them and assume that they’ve just graduated medical school. When you’re older (whether you look it or not), you naturally carry yourself differently, and your patients will notice it too.
If you’re considering healthcare careers, explore the possibilities of a phlebotomy program to enhance your skills. Discover more about the rewarding path of phlebotomy, and how it contributes significantly to healthcare
Finally, the most important reason to become a doctor— at whatever age— is simply because helping others is your passion. Medicine is one of the most rewarding and most needed careers all around the world, and you’ll be making a difference in many people’s lives, no matter how old (or young) you are. It’s not too late to become a doctor because this is your passion.