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Gap Year Ideas and Work Resources

Apply for Jobs and Research Positions

Demand for assisting health care jobs is currently rising sharply. These assisting jobs are the type of health care opportunities you should seek for your gap year: they will give you valuable patient care experience and provide a salary. Your four-year college education prepares you well for many of these assistant jobs, but some positions require additional, short training. For instance, a certified nurse’s aides (CNA) are licensed health care professionals; you will need to be trained by the Red Cross or other CNA training programs. Many positions, such as medical scribing through Scribe America and other organizations, include advanced on-site or on-the-job training.

Here are types of health care jobs you can consider:

  • Physical therapy aide
  • Occupational therapy aide
  • Rehabilitation therapy aide
  • Personal care aide
  • Medical assistant
  • Research coordinator
  • Research assistant
  • Laboratory assistant
  • Project coordinator
  • Certified nurse’s aide
  • Medical scribe
  • Dental Laboratory Processor

Explore Loyola's Career Center resources including Handshake, Loyola Connect, and Big Interview, as well as many resources for resume development, interview preparation, and career exploration.

For assistance with resume, CV, and cover letter writing, consult with Loyola's Writing Center. Or consider a class or workshop in professional writing.

Seek job openings at the human resources pages of hospitals in your area or through job search engines, such as IndeedIdealist, and Simply Hired.

If you are looking for a research or a laboratory assistant position, it is a smart idea to write directly to the principal investigator on a research project in your area of interest. Your college  degree prepares you well to seek an assistant position on a research team. Also, look into the National Institutes of Health post-baccalaureate research program.

Commit to a Year of Service

You have many meaningful opportunities to consider if you are interested in a year of service before you commit to your next stage of studies. Here are pre-health office’s top picks:

Strengthen Your Academics

Since all health professions call for strong academic performance, we partner with you throughout your undergraduate career to help you optimize your strengths as a student. If you are seeking to build your academics or redirect your studies after your graduation from Loyola, your main options are to:

  • Strengthen your undergraduate course work by taking additional classes after your graduation. These courses will be included in your overall undergraduate course work and GPA at the time of application to the professional school of your choice.
  • One way is to Strengthen your undergraduate course work through post-baccalaureate pre-medical programs. Courses taken in these programs will be included in your comprehensive undergraduate record and GPA at the time of your application to the professional school of your choice. These programs include mentoring, research and internship opportunities as well as support for the MCAT preparation and application to medical schools. They are often applicable to pre-dental students as well.
  • The post-baccalaureate pre-medical programs come in two forms:
    • programs for career changes: offer a basic fare of pre-requisite courses for students who start from the beginning with their science coursework
    • enhancement programs: these strengthen students’ academics through additional course work
  • Many students seek to enhance their academic and science skills through graduate programs in biomedical or other natural sciences fields. 
    • Some of these one-year or two-year Master’s degree programs include a completion of a research thesis. However, many do not.
    • Additionally, some of these programs require a GRE score for you to apply, but many do not.
    • Some of the Master’s degree programs accept applications up to the start date of the program.
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges provides a helpful database to pre-medical post-baccalaureate and graduate programs (please note: this database does not work with Internet Explorer).
  • PostbacCAS allows applicants to use a single online application and one set of materials to apply to multiple post-baccalaureate programs at participating schools.

Pathway/Bridge Programs to Medical School

These programs are examples of programs that offer additional credit and mentoring for underrepresented pre-medical students. These programs include the opportunity for select students to continue with direct matriculation to the university’s medical school. 

Many of these programs have January–March deadlines. Below are a few examples.