What Are The Alternatives To Medical School In 2023?

Getting a degree from a medical school is an extremely popular option. However, there are many other degree options available if you’re open to the idea of a healthcare career in an area related to medicine that doesn’t involve qualifying as a doctor.

You can consider career alternatives like Pharmacy, Radiology, Physiotherapy, etc. There are a variety of alternative medicine programs through several colleges and universities around the country. You can choose the one that best suits your career aspirations.

The field of alternative medicine covers a broad range of topics, and you can find programs at multiple degree levels that align with their academic and career goals.

We have compiled many alternatives to medical schools to help you get started on a pleasant note. You can select the option that best suits your career goals.

Why Alternatives To Medical School

The term “alternative” is often used interchangeably with “complementary” to describe medical approaches outside of mainstream Western, AKA “conventional,” medicine.

The good news is that these degrees are typically less competitive than medicine, and many universities ask for lower entry grades. Here’s our list of alternative healthcare degrees that you might not have considered yet.

Top Schools in Alternative Medicine in 2023

If you’re thinking about studying medicine but unable to meet with the medical school demands, you can consider the following alternative degree options in specialized healthcare.

These schools typically cover multiple specialized practices in the field of alternative medicine, and all of them offer graduate-level programs in the field.

However, some positions still require graduate degrees, but their programs have a shorter duration and often lower overall costs.

  • Osteopathic school
  • Nursing Schools
  • Physician Assistant schools
  • Speech-Language Pathology Schools
  • Dentistry Schools
  • Pharmacy Schools
  • Paramedic science Schools
  • Optometry Schools
  • Podiatry Schools
  • Naturopathic Schools
  • Dietitics and Nutrition School
  • Occupational Therapy School
  • Rehabilitation Counselling School
  • Radiology School
  • Veterinary School

#1. Osteopathic Schools

Osteopathy is a type of complementary medicine that is a drug-free, non-invasive manual therapy and aims to improve health across all body systems by manipulating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework.

Programs offered at Osteopathic schools are aimed at training rural primary care physicians. These schools are cited in the midst of the rural communities their graduates are meant to serve.

As an Osteopathy student, you’ll spend more of your clinical rotations in community clinics than acclaimed hospitals. Top institutions that offer Osteopathy programs are listed below;

  • Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Des Moines University.
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine

#2. Nursing Schools

nursing school according to Wikipedia is a type of educational institution, or part thereof, providing education and training to become a fully qualified nurse.

Nursing school basically offer intensive classroom education, as well as the clinical aspect that prepares students for an entry-level in nursing and also lay the necessary foundations necessary to advance your career during the graduate program.

Below are schools that offer the best nursing programs in the world;

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • University of Rochester
  • Villanova University
  • University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • New York University
  • Saint Louis University
  • Georgetown University
  • University of Portland
  • University of Virginia
  • Clemson University
  • Northeastern University
  • Case Western Reserve University

Read here for details on 15 Best Nursing Schools in the World | 2023

#3. Physician Assistant Schools

Physician Assistant or PA schools is one of the best alternatives to medical school. They offer a training program that has received accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

Programs for physician assistants are normally offered at the master’s degree level and consist of supervised clinical training, laboratory work, and also classroom instruction.

Who is a physician assistant? Physician assistants are medical providers who have the license to diagnose and treat illness and disease and to prescribe medication for patients.

List of Physician Assistant schools

  • University of Iowa.
  • Baylor College of Medicine.
  • The University of Utah.
  • Emory University.
  • George Washington University.
  • The University of Colorado.
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center–Dallas.
  • Wake Forest University.

Check out! 10 Physician Assistant (PA) Schools in Canada 2023 | Rankings

#4. Speech-Language Pathology Schools

Speech pathology is the study and treatment of speech and language problems that can occur in both children and adults. With a degree in speech pathology, you can work in a variety of settings including private practice, healthcare facilities, and educational environments. 

A Speech-Language Pathology School is another great alternative to medical school. They offer courses that qualifies you for a professional entry-level as a speech-language pathologist. Some of the best speech-language pathology schools include;

  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Purdue University-West Lafayette
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Iowa
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Kansa

Check out! 10 Best Speech Pathology Graduate Programs Online

#5. Dentistry Schools

Dentistry is ranked by the US news as the second-best career in the United States. A Dentistry program can serve as an alternative to a medical program.

Dentistry school schools offer unique teaching methods and training that prepares students for an entry-level position in any medical job setting. Some of the best Dentistry programs can be found in the schools listed below:

  • University of Michigan
  • University College London (UCL)
  • Harvard University
  • University of Washington
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • King’s College London
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of California, Los Angeles

#6 Pharmacy Schools

A career in pharmacy is very lucrative and rewarding. To become a pharmacist, you must enroll in a pharmacy school.

This school offer programs in the pharmaceutical sciences at the M.S. and/or PhD level. Here is the list of top pharmacy schools.

  • Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy
  • Samford University McWhorter School of Pharmacy
  • Midwestern University College of Pharmacy – Glendale
  • University of Arizona College of Pharmacy
  • Harding University College of Pharmacy
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy

#7. Paramedic Science Schools

Paramedic science Schools offer degree courses that prepare you for a challenging and rewarding career in this highly responsible role.

They feature clinical practice areas such as NHS facilities, where you will be working under the supervision of qualified paramedics.

Additionally, paramedic science school programs prepare students for state and national licensure as paramedics.

#8. Optometry Schools

Optometry School degrees normally combine academic studies with clinical and practical opportunities, with many courses offering the chance to work with real patients and in high-tech simulation facilities.

To work as an optometrist you’ll need to register with the General Optical Council, which requires working for a year as a pre-registration optometrist after your BSc.

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry.
  • Arizona College of Optometry.
  • Southern California College of Optometry.
  • University of California at Berkeley School of Optometry.
  • Western University of the Health Sciences.
  • Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry.
  • Indiana University School of Optometry

#9. Podiatry Schools

Podiatric schools are medical school alternatives often called Podiatric medical schools. These schools offer the doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) degree following four years of medical training. Upon completion, graduates of podiatry schools are awarded the D.P.M. (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) degree.

Successful completion of national board examinations and state-licensure examinations are required to practice. 

A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine treats a range of medical problems that have a direct effect on foot health, including diabetes, arthritis, sporting injuries, and heart and blood disorders.

  • Arizona Podiatric Medicine Program at Midwestern University
  • Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine
  • California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University
  • College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at Des Moines University
  • New York College of Podiatric Medicine
  • Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine
  • Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine
  • Western University of Health Sciences College of Podiatric Medicine

#10. Naturopathic Schools

Naturopathy is a system in medicine that uses natural or traditional remedies to help the body heal itself. It embraces many therapies such as yoga, meditation,  massage, diet, herbs, massage, acupuncture, exercise, and nutritional counseling.

Similarly, Naturopathic Schools combine primary care with the foundation of evidence-informed natural medicine. They also focus on experiential education and the students benefit from a preceptorship program, simulation labs, diverse clinical experiences, internships, and research.

  • Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences
  • National College of Natural Medicine
  • University of Bridgeport
  • Bastyr University

Read more: Learn how to become a Naturopathic Doctor

#11. Dietitics and Nutrition School

Dietitics and Nutrition schools offer training to individuals who are passionate about improving health through proper nutrition. These individuals are part of the public health system. They may work with patients one-on-one to encourage healthy eating habits, or they may be employed to oversee meal programs in a community setting such as a nursing home or hospital.

The school offer programs that prepare students to work in research, public policy, and advocacy.

#12 Occupational Therapy School

Occupational therapists help clients identify daily tasks they’d like to compete more successfully and then devise activities that help build the skills and strengths necessary for achieving those goals.

They work with children who have disabilities, adults recovering from injuries, and even high-caliber musicians dealing with performance pressure.

These professionals earn master’s or doctorate degrees and can specialize in fields such as pediatrics or geriatrics.

They may work in diverse environments that include schools, prisons, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers.

#13 Rehabilitation Counselling School

Rehabilitation counseling schools train professionals that help people overcome challenges to reach their goals. The reach out to individuals with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities who want to maintain employment or live independently.

Rehabilitation counselor’s schools offer master’s degree and also prepares students for state licensure as well.

#14 Radiology School

Radiology is an area of medicine that uses radiant energy to provide diagnostic images of a patient’s body. Radiology School prepares students for four years of a radiology residency. The residency combines specialty medical education with paid on-the-job training.

  • Maine College of Health Professions
  • Cleveland University-Kansas City
  • Johnson College
  • Dunwoody College of Technology

#15 Veterinary School

Veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, control, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, disorder, and injury in animals, and along with this, it also deals with animal rearing, husbandry, breeding, research on nutrition and product development – Wikipedia.

  • Higher National Veterinary School
  • Charles Sturt University School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
  • Murdoch University School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
  • University of Adelaide School of Veterinary Science
  • Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island
  • Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph
  • San Sebastián University Veterinary Medicine
  • Santo Tomás University Veterinary Medicine


If you aspire to work in health care but are unable or not interested to attend medical school, take advantage of the well-paid career alternatives to become a physician we’ve highlighted in this post. They will help you meet your career aspirations.

Frequently Asked Question On Alternatives To Medical Schools

What can I do instead of going to medical school?

Here are five alternatives to medical school you can consider:
Physician Assistant
Health Services Administrator
Nurse Midwife
Radiation Therapist
Surgical Technologist
Public health and service
Public policy and government
Communications and journalism
Pharmaceutical research


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