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Never too late to be a doctor-from CNN

By Madison Park, CNN, June 13, 2011 11:21 a.m. EDT

(CNN) — By the time Mike Moore finishes school and starts his career as a doctor, he’ll be in his 50s.

As a second-year medical student at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, Moore listens to lectures from younger professors and sits with classmates who are old enough to be his kids.

“I kinda stick out a little bit,” the 48-year-old Army major said.

Stories about midlife career transitions are mostly about how a stressed out professional quits to pursue a passion like baking cupcakes or opening a cafe.

Seldom do they involve a more rigorous route — like becoming a doctor in your 40s and 50s.

Medicine is a pressure-packed field that requires between seven and 11 years of training, including post-medical school residencies with 80-hour workweeks.

Future doctors like Moore who make unlikely career choices are called nontraditional students, and they are increasingly attractive candidates for medical schools.

“Some of them have become the most desirable applicants,” said David Muller, dean for medical education at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Last year, 9% of the medical school applicants were over age 29, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Those statistics have held steady in the last five years. While 29 isn’t exactly midlife, it means by the time students are done with their training, they’ll be inching toward their 40s.

Nontraditional applicants are on a mission, said Dr. Suzanne Miller, a medical school admissions consultant.

“They’ve left lucrative jobs,” she said. “Most people who come to me are in tears.”

They think they’re insane for even thinking about investing the next 10 years to become a doctor, she said. But Miller encourages them….read entire article here.

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