WHAT'S NEXT: Derika Mays on Graduate Degrees

By Lydia McAllister on Friday, September 25, 2020

Rachel Elmakiss
Derika Mays of Osceola is pursing a degree at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

Derika Mays

Age: 29
Undergrad degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Arkansas State University
Currently attending: New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine
Working toward: Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine
End goal: Become a D.O.

Derika Mays graduated from Arkansas State University with a bachelor of science in nursing in 2013. It had always been a childhood goal of hers to become a physician, but it wasn’t until she was working as a registered nurse after college that she was introduced to the world of osteopathic physicians. Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or DOs, are fully licensed physicians who practice a unique whole-person approach in every medical specialty.

She was accepted into the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) program at Arkansas State University and dove into her studies. During her first two years of the four-year program, Derika would wake up at 6 a.m. and be out the door by 7:30 a.m. She had on-campus lectures from 8 a.m. until noon, then took a break for lunch before heading back to campus for her afternoon labs.

She just finished her third year and is in her fourth year of school. The last two years are mainly clinical rotations where she is paired with a physician.

NYITCOM is a fairly new program in Arkansas that began in the fall of 2016. One of the things that drew Derika to this program was the school’s dedication to population-based, patient-centered medical care, with the goal of sending physicians to go on to serve the underserved and rural populations, particularly in the Delta region.

“What I love the most is that the school’s mission is dedicated to improving access to health care for underserved and rural populations in the Mississippi Delta region,” she says. “I was particularly drawn to the school because I am from the Mississippi Delta region. My goal has always been to practice in this region, as well.”


Length of Program
The length of time varies depending on which program you're working toward. Graduate degrees in the medical field typically take four years, while graduate degrees in business and education typically take two years (when taking classes full time).

This option is for you if:
You want to advance your career.
You really love school and don’t mind studying.
You want to make a lot of money.

Just like how the length of graduate programs will vary depending on which program you're pursuing, the cost will, too. The cost of a full year of tuition at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine is $60,450, not including additional fees.

Admission Requirements
Most graduate programs have a minimum GPA requirement, a minimum score on a standardized test like the GRE, MCAT, DAT or LSAT and a bachelor's degree.

Most colleges offer on-campus living options for graduate students. However, most graduates prefer to live off campus.

There are two D.O. programs in Arkansas!
Along with NYITCOM at A-State,  the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine is now open in Fort Smith.

"Medical school is challenging, but I would not say that it is too hard. It is only hard if you allow yourself to be disorganized with your time and resources. I was sure to keep a planner and schedule each week in advance so that I wouldn’t get behind on work and have time to study and enjoy my family.” – Derika

Sources: careeronestop.org, bls.gov