Without a doubt, medical school is hard. Choosing one can be hard as well. There are so many factors to consider when choosing the right college; rank, exam pass rates, and residency matching are just three criteria for selecting the best schools.
Today, we discuss five amazing schools that are worth looking into. All of the schools on this have nationally renowned programs in the significant areas of the health profession, such as primary care and research. They are ranked in today’s article based on their placement in the US News Medical School list.
Since ranking alone does not adequately tell the story of a school, this article examines each school and what it has to offer the aspiring healthcare provider. After all, these schools are highly ranked for a reason. They expertly train the next generation of physicians through a stellar curriculum that incorporates the most innovative learning models. They offer their students ample opportunities to gain experience and hone the skills necessary to become extraordinary doctors and do so with a keen eye on patient care and servicing communities and populations that healthcare providers have historically neglected.
Perhaps unlike California and states in the Northeast, Arizona is not synonymous with institutions of higher education. In the popular imagination, Arizona is known for its geography, weather, and for being the sixth largest state in the nation.
But, as it turns out, it is home to a handful of nationally renowned medical schools.
5. University of Arizona, Phoenix College of Medicine (Phoenix, AZ)
Established in 2007 as a branch campus of the University of Arizona-Tucson, the Phoenix College of Medicine has become a burgeoning, independent medical school. The college ranks within the top 100 among medical schools in two crucial categories: #53 in graduates practicing in underserved areas and top 100 for graduates practicing in primary care fields.
The Phoenix College of Medicine is part of the University of Health Sciences, which is consistently a leader in biomedical research and health professions training. It garners over $200 million in grants and contracts every year, enabling it to carry out the most advanced research and innovative training and education. Students are trained at nine different locations throughout the state. They benefit from the university’s partnership with the most esteemed institutions and organizations in the state, including Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Valleywise Health, the Mayo Clinic, and the Phoenix VA Health care system.
Several highlights make this school stand out.
As part of its innovative Distributive Clinical Model, the school gives students early exposure to real-life patients from diverse populations. Students learn in clinical environments at one of the nine clinical affiliates through the world-class biomedical research hub. These clinics are located near the campus.
The Phoenix College of Medicine is invested in future health professionals’ holistic training and education, infusing it with an artistic and humanistic streak. The Program of Art in Medicine, launched in 2014, has been encouraging medical students to explore human emotions and various perspectives through art, through the creation, appreciation, and analysis of art. In partnership with the Phoenix Art Museum, the college offers students programs to observe and appreciate modern and traditional art.
Admission into the Phoenix College of Medicine is highly competitive. The school receives around 6,000 applications each year, and only about 200 are accepted. The average overall GPA of the class of 2024 was 3.72, and the average MCAT score was 514.
4. A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (Mesa, AZ)
The A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, a private medical school that was originally started in Missouri, is a premier program located near Phoenix. With campuses in Missouri and Arizona, the school has expertly trained thousands of doctors and other health professionals. The school boasts an outstanding OT (MS) board certification exam passage rate of 100%, an Audiology Praxis exam passage rate of 100%, and well above 90% on the other exams and certifications for the health professions.
The school’s Audiology and Occupational Therapy programs are top-notch, ranking #55 and #108 nationally, according to the US News & World Report. The Physical Therapy and Physician’s Assistant programs are also highly ranked, making ATSU-ASHS one of the best choices for any aspiring health professional who wants to make a difference in the world.
The exceptional Doctor of Audiology program boasts a 100% employment and praxis exam passage rate among its graduates, all of whom complete their degree within the stipulated time frame. Audiology faculty are experts in the field who are primarily dedicated to training the next generation of audiologists.
ATSU-ASHS is devoted to training exceptional health professionals. Its program is focused on the most cutting-edge, evidence-based methods and training practices, equipping future health professionals with the ability to deliver quality care in an ever-changing and increasingly diverse world. Its mission is fused with a strong sense of social responsibility, in addition to adopting the most innovative approaches to training. At the core of its mission is expanding high-quality health care services to underserved populations, such as seniors, individuals with disabilities, and those struggling with cultural, economic, and or linguistic barriers to healthcare access.
Admission into ATSU-ASHS is very competitive, with only 20% of applicants admitted last year.
3. Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (Glendale, AZ)
The Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine has garnered quite a diverse set of accolades. It ranks #1 among schools with graduates practicing in primary care fields. It has many graduates practicing in rural areas, is one of the best medical schools for primary care, and boasts many graduates practicing in medically underserved areas. AZCOM is an excellent choice for anyone looking to get into the field of medicine, with an eye towards serving those who struggle to attain high-quality health care.
AZCOM is dedicated to training exceptional and compassionate doctors. The curriculum and research are student-centered, providing students ample opportunities for hands-on work and direct patient care. The first two years are focused on didactic coursework, supplemented by simulated and standardized patient experiences in a clinical setting. The final two years are heavily focused on clinical rotations through a variety of sites, totaling 84 weeks of direct-care training. Students are trained by caring faculty members whose expertise ensures that their students land rewarding careers as compassionate and successful health practitioners. Students train under fully licensed practitioners. The Multispecialty Clinic is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and was designed for maximum patient comfort and care.
AZCOM students have excellent post-graduate prospects, including remarkably high earning potential. The salary range for AZCOM graduates is $234k – $497k. Additionally, students at the school boast a 95% pass rate on the COMLEX, a series of three osteopathic licensing examinations. Furthermore, over 95% of graduates are matched with competitive residencies, with an equally high percentage offered positions upon completing their residencies.
With state-of-the-art facilities, a rigorous curriculum, and a stellar overall reputation, AZCOM is an excellent choice.
2. University of Arizona College of Medicine (Tucson, AZ)
As of 2009, the University of Arizona College of Medicine began to accept the “most qualified” applicants from outside the state of Arizona, swelling up the applicant pool to nearly 10,000 a year. Thousands of in-state and out-of-state applicants compete for only 120 spots, making the University of Arizona one of the most competitive schools on this list.
Why are so many applicants vying for spots at the school? For one, the school ranks within the top 100 med schools for research, primary care, the number of graduates practicing in primary care fields and serving rural areas. Its curriculum is one factor that has earned the school these high rankings on the US News & World Report. The College of Medicine prides itself in delivering a progressive M.D. curriculum that trains highly skilled physicians who make significant advancements to the field.
Clinical training begins early on and is interspersed with basic science lessons. During the “Preclerkship Phase,” students take core science courses, a Clinical Reasoning Course, and a Doctor/Patient & Societies Course. This is followed by 12 months of clerkship courses, culminating into a “residency phase,” in which students take courses that prepare them for residencies. One of the unique components of the curriculum is the 4-year-long longitudinal course that allows MD students to conduct research with a faculty mentor on a topic of interest. This Scholarly Project is required of all students.
The College of Medicine sponsors over 70 residency and fellowship programs in all major areas and subareas of medicine. This includes two nonstandard clinical fellowships in Acute Care and Gastrointestinal Pathology.
Admission into the College of Medicine is very competitive.
1. Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine (Phoenix, AZ and Scottsdale, AZ)
The Mayo Clinic is already a household name when it comes to world-class care and medical research. The Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine is a world-class institution for those looking to get into the field of medicine. Admission to the M.D. is exceptionally competitive, hovering around 2% every year.
It is officially harder to get into the Alix School of Medicine than it is to get into Harvard Med School!
Its research program ranked #11 on the US News & World Report, and its primary care program ranked within the top #50 of all M.D. programs across the country.
Physicians trained by Alix are at the top of their fields and contribute to the good of their communities. Alix is a research school based in Rochester, Minnesota, with campuses in Arizona and Florida. Although young, the Arizona campus has already garnered a stellar reputation for its quality in more than 65 medical and surgical disciplines. At this location, students have an opportunity to work with a large and diverse population, giving them the experience they need to become exceptional and compassionate medical professionals. This is just one among many opportunities afforded to them due to being set in one of the most extensive metro areas in the country.
“Lead. Transform. Heal.” That is the motto that defines and shapes the Alix School of Medicine. Students are encouraged to make an impact in health care from the start. The curriculum is patient-driven, which is reinforced by a very high ratio of patients to students, among the highest in the world. During the first two years, students are exposed to a mix of classroom learning with clinical training consisting of clinical integration courses. The last two years consist of required clerkships.