The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for physicians will increase by 22 percent through 2018, resulting in the creation of 144,100 new jobs. The first step to becoming a doctor is the completion of a bachelor's degree program, typically in a scientific field. In the state of Georgia, a number of colleges offer undergraduate degrees in pre-medicine, meant to prepare students for graduate study at a medical school.

Mercer University

Founded in 1833 by the Baptist church, Mercer University in Macon is home to more than 4,400 students. Students who participate in the pre-medicine program at Mercer major in any field of their choosing and take additional courses to earn a certificate in pre-medicine. Students complete coursework in mathematics, biology, organic and general chemistry, physics and biochemistry.

Undergraduate research projects are available for students in the program and provide experience that is often attractive to medical schools. The university also offers a guaranteed acceptance program with the medical school at Mercer, which students apply to while still in high school. If accepted into the program, students will continue on to Mercer for their medical training after earning their bachelor's degree.

Mercer University 1400 Coleman Ave. Macon, GA 31207-0003 (478) 301-2650 mercer.edu

University of Georgia

With a combined enrollment of over 34,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the University of Georgia in Athens is the largest college in the state. In 2010, U.S. News and World Report awarded the university the fifty-eighth-place ranking among all universities in the U.S. Admission to the school is highly competitive; only 55 percent of applicants receive an invitation to attend the school, reports the 2009 Barron's Profiles of American Colleges.

Students in the pre-medicine program take courses in analytic geometry and calculus, logic and critical thinking, American government, foreign language, biology, organic and general company, physics, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics and microbiology. Students also complete a secondary major of their own choosing. Throughout their studies, students receive career counseling from a personal academic adviser who guides them through the process of applying to medical school

University of Georgia Terrell Hall Athens, GA 30602 (706) 542-8776 uga.edu

La Grange College

Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, LaGrange College is located in a suburban town 70 miles southwest Atlanta. Home to less than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the college received the sixth-place ranking among baccalaureate colleges in the South from U.S. News and World Report in 2010.

Students in the pre-medicine program major in any field they wish though the most common choices are biology, biochemistry, chemistry and psychology. A requirement of the program is the completion of a career-shadowing unit, where students spend time with a working physician who serves as a mentor. For additional experience, students can also participate in medical internships.

LaGrange College 601 Broad St. LaGrange, GA 30240 (706) 880-8005 lagrange.edu