Why You Should Consider Professional School

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    Professional schools are famous for yielding job opportunities with great benefits, most notably, a very high salary. However, professional schools aren’t for everybody because they are also the most time consuming and most difficult educational experiences one can take on. If you do have your eyes set on professional school and you’re ready to take on the challenge, or at least consider doing so, then here are some details about what it entails. 

    What is a Professional School?

    • Like graduate schools, professional schools award advanced academic degrees, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Doctor of Medicine (MD), and Juris Doctorate (JD).
      • However, unlike graduate schools, they prepare students for careers in specific fields.
    • Professional schools generally require an undergraduate degree and advanced planning before you can apply.
    • The length of professional school programs can range from one to five years, depending on the institution.
    • These programs often place an emphasis on hands-on work. Many programs require students to gain extensive experience in their field of study before graduation.
      • For example, most medical students gain real-world experience in hospitals as part of their professional school education.
    • Attending a professional school is required by law before working certain jobs.
      • For example, lawyers and veterinarians must attend their associated schools for special training before being able to work independently in their field.

    Types of Professional Schools

    • Some of the most common professional degrees include:
      • Doctor of Medicine (MD). If you want to become a primary or secondary care doctor, plan on earning this degree.
        • Here is an article detailing the admissions timeline beginning as an undergraduate student.
        • This article gives a complete view of the timeline of medical school once you’ve been accepted. Expect to participate in classes and make rotations at hospitals. Furthermore, expect to take stages of the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) at several points in your medical school education.
        • MDs receive different salaries depending on their specialization. That said, physicians and surgeons earn a median yearly income of $208,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
        • If you’re interested in the medical field but you’re disinterested in the rigor or cost of medical school, consider perusing this article, which outlines further possible jobs in the medical field. Such careers include emergency medical technicians (EMT’s), physician assistants (PA’s), and nurses.
      • Juris Doctor (JD). If you’ve dreamed of becoming any type of lawyer, expect to attend law school. Here is a list of potential law careers.
        • This article provides a two-year law school admissions timeline. Expect to talk to your school’s pre-law advisor, make an LSAT study plan, and search for letters of recommendation.
        • This article describes life as a law student. A schedule usually includes preparing for class by studying reading material, attending class, and attending group activities.
        • Lawyers earn a median yearly income of $120,910 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
        • If you’re interested in the law industry, but don’t want to become a lawyer, here are some more options. Many permit a lower level of education than attending professional school. These include becoming a paralegal, legal secretary, and law clerk.
      • Masters of Business Administration (MBA). This degree opens paths to becoming a data analyst, business adviser, stockbroker, and more.
        • Here is a guide to your business school application. A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is generally required for this application.
        • A full-time MBA program takes about two years to complete.
        • The median starting salary for business school graduates is over $110,000 according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC).
        • This article details what to expect in business school.
      • Doctor of Education (EdD). This degree prepares educators and professionals to take leadership roles in education, government agencies, and nonprofits.
        • Common career paths include college or secondary school principals, professors, and superintendents. You can find the median yearly incomes of a range of EdD-holding jobs here.
        • Depending on the program, it’s possible to enroll in EdD programs—especially online ones— on a part-time basis while maintaining a full-time job, unlike medical schools. Classic, brick-and-mortar programs exist as well.
      • There are many more paths you can take to obtain a professional degree, each tailored to a specific career. Examples include: dental school, veterinary school, journalism school, architecture school. Do your research on your dream career and you might find an associated professional school.

    Why Professional School?

    • Since professional school degrees cater to a specific career, only attend professional school if you want to pursue said career. They’re excellent for students who already have a track selected.
    • Professional school is the only path to certain professions in the US. For example, you must attend medical school to become a doctor and have all of the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of being one as opposed to less intensive positions like being a PA.
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    Angela Qian


    Senior at Dulaney High school. Editor-in-Chief of Sequel literary arts magazine and Baltimore County student council president.



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