Prospective Students

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Health Professionals Are In Demand

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 16% increase in healthcare occupations between 2020 and 2030--making it a top growth field--and salaries reflect this. The average salary for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations is 64% higher than the national average. Students have a number of options to train for rewarding careers in the health sciences at SIU.

The health professions, include careers in medicine (allopathic and osteopathic), dentistry, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, podiatry, public health, speech-language pathology, veterinary medicine, as well as advanced nursing careers (nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist).  For these careers, students must receive training beyond the bachelor's degree (most commonly, the doctorate). Some health professions, such as anesthesiology assistant, physician assistant, perfusionist, and genetics counselor, require only a masters degree. Nearly all these professions require that students pass boards before they are eligible to practice.

Students in the following programs can enter those fields immediately after completing an undergraduate degree.


The SIU system has professional schools in medicine, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, physician assistant, pharmacy, and dentistry! SIU School of Medicine’s presence on the Carbondale campus benefits our pre-health students as many Physiology faculty are cross-appointed with SIU School of Medicine and teach our upper level physiology classes. Even if your graduate program isn't offered at SIU, you'll find that SIU is a great place to complete your undergraduate degree and take the necessary prerequisites for health professional school. In 2022, 17 SIU undergraduate degree holders earned spots in medical school! 

Salukis are successful professional school applicants

SIU offers excellent training for students who want to practice at the highest levels in their fields. In a typical year, about 60-75% of our students who apply to professional school are admitted. Competition for seats in some professional programs (medicine, dentistry, physician assistant, veterinary medicine, notably) is extremely high, for others, less so.

At SIU, you'll enjoy the resources of a large university coupled with advisory services to keep you on track and focused on your career goal. Our dedicated faculty and staff are here to connect your quality education with opportunities for undergraduate research, a broad variety of student activities, and an atmosphere that is conductive to learning. In 2022, 19 students, or 83% of our medical school applicants, were admitted, smashing the 40% admission rate nationally.

How can you prepare now?

Pre-health professional students should be prepared to study science and math at the highest levels. We strongly recommend taking at least three years of science and math. You may also benefit from honors, AP, or dual-credit courses at your high school.

Schools like to see evidence that students embody a service ethic and potential for leadership. We encourage you to volunteer in your community and take advantage of opportunities to step up as a leader among your peers. An ability to work with a diverse group of people is highly desirable, so make a point to undertake activities that will introduce you to diverse people and cultures. Consider shadowing a health practitioner to solidify your career goals.  Many health professional schools demand significant clinical experience from students prior to making their application. In many cases, you can prepare for this requirement while still in high school!

Contact the Health Professions Office for more information.

How To Select a Major

We recommend you choose an undergraduate major for which you have both an interest and aptitude! By far the most popular choice of major for pre-health professional students are in the life sciences (Biomedical Science, Physiology, Biochemistry), but there are other options that you can explore with our Health Professions Advisor.