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Professional Careers

These are a selection of career interests--not majors. You can major in whatever interests you most and also pursue one of these fields. Majoring in something that you find compelling can also provide you with an alternate career option in case you change your mind or don’t gain immediate entrance into the professional program of your choice.



Allopathic Medicine (MD) Training lasts four years and is followed by a three-to eight-year residency depending on specialty. MDs diagnose and treat illness in patients including prescribing medications, ordering tests and performing surgery, depending on specialty.

Osteopathic Medicine (DO) Training lasts four years and is followed by a three-to eight-year residency, depending on specialty. DOs diagnose and treat illness in patients, including prescribing medications, ordering tests and performing surgery (depending on specialty). All of the same specialty fields are open to MDs and DOs. Osteopathic medical training has a slightly different philosophy than that of allopathic medicine, but overall the training is very similar. 



A law degree prepares students for a range of law-related careers and can be an important background for careers in government, business, higher education, health care, communications and many other fields. Legal practice is intellectually challenging and requires the use of ethics, reason and judgment. 



Dentists prevent, diagnose and treat problems affecting the teeth, gums, tongue, lips and jaws. Training generally requires four years after receiving a bachelor's degree. Dentists may continue their education after dental school to enter orthodontics, endodontics and many other specialty fields within dentistry. 


Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Veterinarians diagnose and treat illness in animal patients. Many veterinarians also protect human health by studying zoonotic diseases (which affect humans and animals), working with laboratory animals and monitoring food animal safety. Training lasts four years followed by several years of specialty training if desired. Purdue has one of the finest colleges of veterinary medicine in the country.
Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine



Doctors of Optometry examine, diagnose, treat, and manage disease and disorders of the visual system and eye. Besides routine eye exams and fitting patients for corrective lenses, they treat many other eye problems and work with visual skill problems. They may also be the first to recognize systemic diseases of the body, such as diabetes, that are notable in the eyes. An optometry degree requires 4 years following the bachelor's degree.


Pre-Physical Therapy

Physical therapists help patients restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain and prevent physical disabilities. After your bachelor's degree, the DPT training is generally about three years. 


Pre-Physician Assistant

PA programs train students to perform physical exams, diagnose illness, order tests, provide treatments and inform patients of preventive care. Their practice is under a physician's supervision. PA programs offer a variety of degrees, but most grant either a master's degree or a certificate. A bachelor's degree is required. Most programs last 24-27 months. 


Pre-Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists help people with injuries or disabilities learn or regain skills they need to live independently and to function to the best of their ability. A two-year master's degree is required for licensure in most states. Many programs are now moving toward a 3 year doctorate.


Pre-Public Health

Public health actually encompasses a number of fields. Careers in public health include protecting people from environmental hazards, studying how a disease moves through a population, creating policies to vaccinate people during an outbreak, creating health messages and programming events to teach communities about their health. Most jobs in the public health area will require at least the MPH, though a doctoral level degree is also offered. Some jobs are also available with an undergraduate degree in public health (Purdue's undergraduate program). Purdue's Master's of Public Health Program.

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