Best Medical Courses Other Than MBBS And BDS
If you ever thought a career in medical sciences is all about MBBS and BDS, think again. There are a ‘world’ of options for your child to choose from and we explore some of the best in this article.
By Subhechha Chatterjee
Year after year, lakhs of students come out of school hoping to become a doctor, but only a handful get the opportunity to take up MBBS thanks to the stringent admission norms. Yes, we are in the 21st century, but for most of us medical education is still synonymous with becoming a doctor, dentist or a nurse. But, that mindset is gradually changing.
Today, opportunities in the allied health spaces indicate a robust demand for professionals who have specialised in medical courses other than MBBS and BDS too. These professionals are associated with various areas of medical care and play a key role in the well-being of a patient. These courses have rewarding job prospects and also give the pride and stature that one associates with a medical profession.
Hence, besides MBBS and BDS, here are some of the best medical courses and exciting options that your child can consider after class 12:
B.Sc Physiotherapy/ Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT)
Course Duration: 3 to 4.5 Years
Physiotherapy has become a critical rehabilitative service that helps people in recovering from injuries and disabilities, and restores overall physical functioning of the body. The undergraduate course in Physiotherapy will require a student to study subjects like biomechanics, psychology, disability prevention, physiology, pathology, pharmacology and anatomy. The course will also focus extensively on practical, hands-on training in the subject. Moreover, successful completion of the course requires a compulsory internship for 6 months. This course also enhances qualities like empathy, patience and communication skills, thus enabling a practitioner to understand the patient’s problem and treat him accordingly.
Future Prospects: A postgraduate degree with a specialization in sports, geriatrics, paediatrics or neurological physiotherapy is an academic way forward. The professional can also opt to practice in clinics, hospitals, sports and fitness centres, defence establishments, rehabilitation centres or mental health centres. A teaching career in physiotherapy is another very lucrative and rewarding job option.
B.Sc Physician Assistant
Course Duration: 3 Years
Physician Assistants are professionals who, under the guidance and supervision of a specialist doctor, perform some very critical therapeutic and diagnostic functions. The bachelors course gives the student requisite theoretical, practical and clinical training to carry out essential procedures like laboratory tests, maintenance of patient records and monitoring of progress and analysis of x-ray reports to name a few. Some important subjects covered in this course include anatomy, physiology, microbiology, gynaecology and obstetrics, neurology, nephrology, cardiology and basic computer science.
Future Prospects: A trained Physician Assistant has multiple career options. She can work as a clinical associate, dietician, medical software professional, teacher or drug safety associate. A recognised master’s degree, often referred to as an MSPA (Master of Science in Physician Assistant) will further help her choose from an array of job options in this sector.
B.Sc Operation Theatre and Anaesthesia Technology
Course Duration: 3 Years
An operation theatre and anaesthesia technologist is responsible for managing operation theatres during surgical procedures in hospitals. The scope of work ranges from ensuring that all equipment required for the surgery is in place and is well-maintained, to taking care of disinfection and sterilization of all surgical instruments. In consultation with the doctor, the anaesthesia technologist also monitors the dosage of the anaesthesia gases, injections and drugs administered to the patient before, after and at the time of the surgery. The course requires a student to study a variety of subjects like anatomy, clinical microbiology, ethics in medicine, basic and advanced anaesthesia principles, basic surgery and pathology. Importantly, students also learn strategies to address critical and emergency situations, which is a very essential skill, especially in the operation theatre.
Future Prospects: Operation Theatre and Anaesthesia Technology personnel are in great demand at hospitals and nursing homes, owing to the critical role played by them. They can work in the ICU or CCU, as well as in different departments including gynaecology, paediatrics, oncology, cardiology, orthopaedics and dentistry. A postgraduate degree increases the chances of exploring research and teaching opportunities in this particular field of study.
B.Sc Respiratory Therapy
Course Duration: 3 Years
Respiratory Therapy or Respiratory Care Technology professionals deal with patients suffering from breathing difficulties or cardiopulmonary ailments like bronchitis, emphysema, chest congestions, asthma and cardiac failure. They assist doctors in analysing and diagnosing patients with these conditions while also carrying out specific diagnostic tests and routine analyses. The curriculum includes subjects such as biochemistry, clinical pathology, haematology, microbiology, pharmacology, and clinical and applied respiratory technology. The course is followed by a 6-month mandatory internship.
Future Prospects: Hospitals and nursing homes offer high job opportunities for graduates of Respiratory Care Technology. Those who are passionate about academics can pursue a postgraduate degree in the same domain or a relevant clinical field and work as professors. Also, companies manufacturing specialised hospital equipment recruit such well-trained professionals, primarily as product managers.
B.Sc Nuclear Medicine Technology
Course Duration: 3 Years
Nuclear medicine is a trending area of study in recent times because of its increasing relevance in the early diagnosis of life-threatening diseases. It deals with the study and use of radioactive substances for disease treatment. Moreover, it is also used occasionally as a substitute for surgery. The course entails the study of subjects like basic and nuclear physics, computer science, x-ray imaging techniques, radiochemistry, nuclear medicine instrumentation and radiation biology, along with anatomy and physiology.
Future Prospects: A graduate in Nuclear Medicine Technology can work as a laboratory leader, assistant radiologist or a research assistant in major pharmaceutical companies, diagnostic laboratories and hospitals. Job opportunities in cancer centres are rich for such professionals.
B.Sc Renal Dialysis Technology
Course Duration: 3 years
Trained Dialysis Technologists provide care and support to patients of kidney failure or dysfunction. These professionals are required to monitor the entire process of dialysis - mixing the dialysis solution in the right proportions, ensuring use of sterilised equipment and administering the correct dose of anaesthesia. Students enrolled in this course need to study subjects that include anatomy, pathology, microbiology, healthcare ethics, basic computer science, advanced concepts of renal disease and nutrition, and applied dialysis technology. The one-year internship equips students with advanced practical training of the dialysis process.
Future Prospects: Students can pursue postgraduate studies in specialisations like haemodialysis, renal or acute dialysis, and work as lecturers in institutes teaching courses like Dialysis Technology or Patient Care Therapy. They can also work as medical technicians, assistant nephrologists, dialysis technicians, clinical coordinators or dialysis therapists in laboratories, nursing homes and clinics.
B.Sc Nutrition and Dietetics
Course Duration: 3 Years
Unhealthy lifestyles and mounting diseases have made us understand and accept the need for eating healthy and nutritious food. In healthcare, nutritionists plan and supervise the dietary intake of patients. They provide body-type and ailment-specific dietary solutions. They influence eating behaviour by educating patients about the health implications of various types of foods and associated allergies. A bachelor’s student of Nutrition can expect to study subjects like food chemistry, communication, computer fundamentals, biochemistry, public health, maternal and child nutrition, family meal planning, food microbiology, food science and food processing operations.
Future Prospects: A master’s degree followed by research in food technology, sports nutrition, food chemistry and other allied fields is a very exciting prospect. In terms of professional services, nutritionists can have their own clinics or work at hospitals, sports institutes, fitness centres, or as public health nutrition specialists. Trained professionals can also make a very lucrative career in the food, beverages and hotel industries where they can become influencers.
B.Sc Occupational Therapy
Course Duration: 3 Years
Occupational Therapists provide support to patients suffering from different types of physical, neurological or mental disabilities and challenges. They work with people affected by autism, cerebral palsy, ADHD, speech defects, etc. The undergraduate course includes subjects like biochemistry, psychology, community medicine and occupational therapy for orthopaedics, neurology, paediatrics and mental health.
Future Prospects: Occupational therapists can work in educational institutions and provide therapy to children based on their needs. They can even set-up their own centres for private practice. Such professionals are in great demand in NGOs, hospitals and rehabilitation centres.
Eligibility for Allied Health Science Courses:
- 10+2 qualified from a recognised Board
- Minimum aggregate 50 per cent marks
- Should have studied Physics, Chemistry and Biology
- NEET exams are not mandatory
List of colleges offering all or some of the courses:
- Manipal College of Allied Health Sciences, Manipal University, Manipal
- Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Mumbai
- Christian Medical College, Vellore
- Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai
- Glanis Institute of Allied Health Sciences, Madurai
- Narayana Hrudayalaya College Of Allied Health Science, Bengaluru
- Pondicherry University
- Government Medical College, Amritsar
- Symbiosis Institute of Health Sciences, Pune
- Madras Medical College, Chennai
- Seth G S Medical College, Mumbai
- Baba Farid University of Health Science, Faridkot
- National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad
- Lady Irwin College, New Delhi
- All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Kolkata
"Allied Health Professionals are an invaluable and indispensable part of the medical workforce. They are very skilled and are an essential part of major medical procedures like surgeries, dialysis, etc."
- Dr. Madhu Purushothaman, Paediatrician - American Board of Pediatrics
"My day is spent with God’s greatest gifts - kids. I have the opportunity to assess and evaluate them. I can also enter their world, understand them, and work on personalised plans to help these wonderful little angels overcome their issues in development. As a paediatric OT, my job is to make the child live life to the fullest and make him/her ready for better academic performance and improved play skills."
- Mohamed Zaheer, Paediatric Occupational Therapist, Chennai
Medical profession is indeed highly respected and esteemed. In addition to exceptional technical skills, one should also possess high levels of commitment, dedication, affection, empathy and care to become a part it. The allied health science courses provide a wonderful opportunity for students who aren’t able to crack NEET to get a medical or dental seat. This is their gate to still be a part of the medical fraternity. If your child wants to be one and has the requisite traits, you can encourage her to take up any one of these courses and nurture her dream of serving humanity.
About the author:
Written by Subhechha Chatterjee on 11 August 2019.
Ms Subhechha is a Senior Executive of ParentCircle’s Community Engagement Programme.
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