From Business Owner to Medical Student

Very few of us know what our true calling is when we’re 18-years-old and tasked with choosing a path. For those who miss the mark, or who don’t figure out their passion until later in life, starting a new career isn’t often an option.

Tyler Gibson didn’t always know he wanted to be a doctor. In fact, he didn’t know what he wanted to do. Like many high school graduates, Gibson took some college classes but after a couple of semesters decided to go to work. The years passed, and by the time Gibson entered his early 30’s he was a successful business owner of an exterior cleaning company. He was proud of the business he’d built, and that nagging question of ‘what do you want to do,’ had all but faded away.

“Once you get busy living you’re just living, and you don’t really think about that,” Gibson said. And he didn’t, until one day when his wife told him he’d missed his calling.

“She was going back to school to get her Bachelor’s Degree and was studying how people are motivated by different rewards,” Gibson said. “She said ‘you should have gone into a field where you do something for people, I think you have what it takes…you should have been a doctor.’” At first, Gibson thought she was crazy. But his wife persisted.

“She was like, ‘seriously, if you think there’s anything else you want to do with your life, consider it because we may be able to do it.’”

A Caring Heart

Gibson did think about it, and realized maybe his wife had a good point after all.

“I had two family members who were special needs (his father and brother) and that was really who I was, for the first 18-19 years of my life the medical field was a part of my everyday life. Once my brother and my dad passed away, and I was living as an adult, I wasn’t really in the world anymore of people dealing with medical issues like that.

However, as I got older I started to realize how much those relationships and experiences influenced my personality, what I value and what I care about.”

With his wife’s encouraging words Gibson began to think maybe, just maybe, medicine was his calling.

“She was able to give me perspective on myself, my strengths and weaknesses, and I realized medicine may be a good fit.”

Scott Community College Makes It Possible

With the seeds of a new career path firmly planted, Gibson set off to figure out if it was even possible to go back to school.

His first stop was at Scott Community College (SCC), meeting with Transfer Advisor Lindsey Ramsey.

He asked her could, and most importantly, should a thirty-something successful business owner try to go to medical school?

“It was frightening, I was worried in the process of going back to school I would sacrifice our business which was my livelihood. And if I didn’t come out of school with an acceptance to a program, what if I cut the legs out from under me for my current livelihood?”

Ramsey told him it was going to be hard, but he could make it happen.

“It would have been impossible to do this without Scott Community College, guaranteed,” Gibson said.

“I felt like Scott was such a huge asset. Everybody I interacted with were all really great and the online options were unbelievable.”

The online classes allowed Gibson to ease back into college, while still maintaining his business. The closer he got to reaching his goal, the more support and encouragement he received.

“I guess I kind of gave myself the mindset I’m going to go until someone else stops me. And no one stopped me,” he said.

Embracing the Next Chapter

Gibson ultimately earned two Associate’s Degrees at SCC before transferring to the University of Iowa and majoring in Human Physiology.

Roughly four years after he started his journey, he got an email that would forever change his life and make the long nights of studying, hour-long drives to Iowa City, and constant worry all worth it. He got into not one, but two medical schools, including the highly regarded University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

“It was indescribable, I cried a little bit,” Gibson said. “It was just a surreal sense of happiness and peace, I felt like I had made the right decision for sure.”

Gibson will begin medical school this fall at 39-years-old, and though the road leading up to this moment may be the one less traveled, he has no regrets. His experiences have all prepared him for this next step.

“I feel like the business has given me the maturity to really interact with people and feel very comfortable meeting strangers,” Gibson said. “It’s also helped refine my work ethic because you have to work really hard when you build a business.”

Gibson is most interested in primary care, though he also wants to explore neurology, physical medicine rehabilitation, or maybe even internal medicine.

“I know it’s going to be incredibly hard, but if I do it I will come out on the other end as a doctor,” he said.

As for being one of the “older” students in his class? “The time passes anyway right? Ten years from now I’m going to be 48 whether I’ve done medical school or not, so I might as well go for it.”

Transfer – The Starting Point of Your Dreams

There’s a myth that starting at a community college and then transferring may mean you’re less prepared. But as Gibson points out, “The Carver College of Medicine is a pretty well-respected college and I started at Scott Community College, it gave me everything I needed!”

In fact, four-year colleges come to us to create formal transfer agreements because they want our graduates. Among our dozens of agreements? New Transfer Major Associate Degrees unveiled just this year, allowing students to start their major at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges.

Starting with us and then transferring also saves thousands on the cost of tuition, plus our flexible schedule including online and evening classes makes it easier to work around your busy life.

To learn more about all of our transfer options visit