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Preparation for Medical and Healthcare Science Careers
Preparation for Medical and Healthcare Science Careers

Preparation for a medical and healthcare professional careers begin early. What should an aspiring high school student consider in preparing for a healthcare career? What courses should be taken? What are the best extracurricular activities? What should I be doing to get into a college program that will help me succeed in achieving my healthcare career goals?



Science and Math
Clinical practiceHigh school students should plan obtain a solid background in Biology and Chemistry, and should seriously consider taking physics, or another lab-based science course if available. A solid foundation in math is essential to developing analytical problem solving skills, and strong performance on standardized tests. This includes the SAT and ACT, but also the standardized exams required later by nearly every healthcare professional school. Successful completion and good performance in high school math up through Algebra II is essential. Depending upon the career in which you are interested, you should also seriously consider trigonometry and pre-calculus.
Advanced Placement (AP)

AP and other advanced courses are helpful, and students should take these when possible. These courses challenge you to learn the subject thoroughly, and will provide a strong foundation for good performance in your college undergraduate courses. Before you decide to accept AP credit toward college, however, you should be aware that some medical and healthcare professional schools will not accept AP credit as meeting math or science required course work, even if your college does.

Other courses
Medical and other health professional schools are interested in well-rounded individuals who can communicate well and understand the community members they serve. Take courses that will enhance your language skills, and understanding of social and behavioral interactions. Classes that emphasize writing and oral communication are important, and courses that explore the social sciences and psychology are helpful.

Extra-curricular activities

Allied HealthVolunteerism or working at a hospital or clinical facility demonstrates vocational committment and interest. It is never too early to begin exploring careers in heathcare. Hospitals and clinics often welcome students who wish to volunteer their time to help. Regardless of what you do for a healthcare organization, you will benefit from exposure to the roles and responsibilities of professionals in healthcare.
Other activities
Health professional schools prefer applicants who do more than study. Athletics, school and community engangement, and employment point to an individual who can work as part of a team. Leadership positions are a plus. These activities are also indiidually fun and rewarding. Make sure you keep a list of the various ways in which you engage with your school or community. Don't hesitate to share this information, or yourself.

Alumni SpotlightText 


Erik L. Johnson, BS, MD


Erik Johnson, a native of Chicagoland who attended Alan B. Shepard High School in Palos Heights, began his medical career at Loyola University-Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Pediatrics at The University of California-Irvine, receiving numerous accolades during his residency including Resident of the Year and the P. Colin Kelly award for the “Pediatrician Who Teaches.” In 2000, Johnson began practicing at Alexian Brothers Medical Center and St. Alexius Medical Center with The Medical Care Group. He continued teaching at Midwestern University in the Physician Assistant Program. In 2014, his focus shifted to administration with his appointment as medical director-pediatric services for Alexian Brothers Health System and the Alexian Brothers Women’s and Children’s Hospital. He has been influential in advancing centers of excellence in Neurology and Endocrinology. Johnson is on the Board of Directors of the AMITA Health Medical Group and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation. He has recently served on the Executive Leadership Team for the March of Dimes Walk for Babies.

What our students say...


Mahrukh Raheem

Class of 2020

"Class sizes are a little smaller at Benedictine compared to other universities. People can form a community within a classroom, which makes it easier to learn together. I love the community aspect at Benedictine’s College of Science. Students can learn from each other through constructive team projects, and professors are always willing to help students."

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William R. Law, Ph.D
Dean of the College of Science

Tonia Rucker, Assistant to the Dean
Phone: (630) 829-6187
Fax: (630) 829-6186

Dean's Office Hours:
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Dean's Office Location:
Birck Hall Room 119