What College Courses Are Needed to Become a Neonatal Doctor?

A bachelor's degree starts your career as a neonatologist.

A bachelor's degree starts your career as a neonatologist.

A career in neonatology gives you the opportunity to help premature babies and newborns with medical conditions. This profession -- the largest pediatrics subspecialty -- requires 14 years of study after high school and passing three board examinations to gain certification as a neonatal doctor, or neonatologist. While your high school resume -- class selection, extracurricular activities and grades -- are your ticket into a good college, your college years influence your admission to medical school and launch your neonatal career.

A Major Decision

According to the YourPediatrician website, your major doesn't matter as much as doing well in the science and math courses needed for the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, and to meet admission requirements of your chosen medical school. Public or private, the school you attend should fit your budget and personality, not someone's opinion of where to earn a pre-medical school undergraduate degree. If you do choose a science major, the educational services firm Kaplan Test Prep, recommends adding humanities and social science electives to your course load; non-science majors should consider loading up on science courses. Changes to the MCAT that begin in 2015 require a solid foundation in biology, chemistry, math and statistics, psychology, sociology and philosophy.

Body Biology

The MCAT tests your understanding of cell reproduction, function and adaptation and organ systems. Your preparation for this portion of the test should include at least two semesters of basic biology with lab time and one semester each of microbiology, genetics and molecular biology classes. Dartmouth University adds anatomy and physiology coursework to its list of recommended biology studies for aspiring medical students.

Human Chemistry and Physics

Allow three years' worth of time on your college class schedule for chemistry, physics and related courses, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. In addition to a general chemistry course that has a lab requirement, you need to study organic chemistry, biochemistry and general physics to ensure you know the basic principles behind how tissues, organs and systems in the human body work.

Mathematics

Although the Preview Guide indicates that the new MCAT tests your knowledge of algebra and trigonometry concepts and ability to calculate ratios, proportion, percentages and probability, an increasing number of medical schools want prospective students to have one calculus course and one statistics course on their transcripts as well.

Social Sciences and Humanities

Anyone taking the MCAT in 2015 and later should prepare by scheduling courses in sociology, ethics and psychology in college. One new section of the test challenges your understanding of how culture, gender and socio-economic factors affect human behavior; a second new section tests your reading and analysis skills. Because reading comprehension and speed can affect your MCAT score, the University of New Mexico recommends taking a speed-reading course to be able to read at 200 to 300 words per minute.

 

About the Author

Trudy Brunot began writing in 1992. Her work has appeared in "Quarterly," "Pennsylvania Health & You," "Constructor" and the "Tribune-Review" newspaper. Her domestic and international experience includes human resources, advertising, marketing, product and retail management positions. She holds a master's degree in international business administration from the University of South Carolina.

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