P.A SCHOOL DOES IT MATTER WHICH ONE YOU ATTEND?

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sara marsico in blacksburg, Virginia

73 months ago

yorkpa in Flushing, New York said: Hi Katie I just graduated from York PA program this sept, when i applied to the school i was also concerned about their ranking, however, i applied to their school b/c it was going to cost me less then $10,000 for the whole education. It was the best decision i ever made, they have a great teaching staff. However, the program is very overwhelming, especially during the 1st semester, we lost about 6 student out of 22. Currently i have been offered two jobs paying over $100,000 a year.

Hi, I'm considering apply to PA school, but the curriculum scares me a bit to be honest. When you say overwhelming, HOW overwhelming? Like is it do-able, or really only meant for very smart individuals? I'm currently an Undergrad Bio major and I study a lot, but I'm prone to high stress and am just curious about the every day life in classes. Any insight you can give me about your program altogether would be great!
Also, when you were offered jobs, were they PA jobs where you were thrown right into the profession or do you normally start off as a nurse? I'm curious as to how prepared you were after PA school and if you felt like you were ready to take on all of the responsibilities of the job. Do you see patients privately immediately after being hired?

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yorkpa in Flushing, New York

73 months ago

sara marsico in blacksburg, Virginia said: Hi, I'm considering apply to PA school, but the curriculum scares me a bit to be honest. When you say overwhelming, HOW overwhelming? Like is it do-able, or really only meant for very smart individuals? I'm currently an Undergrad Bio major and I study a lot, but I'm prone to high stress and am just curious about the every day life in classes. Any insight you can give me about your program altogether would be great!
Also, when you were offered jobs, were they PA jobs where you were thrown right into the profession or do you normally start off as a nurse? I'm curious as to how prepared you were after PA school and if you felt like you were ready to take on all of the responsibilities of the job. Do you see patients privately immediately after being hired?

This is what I mean by overwhelming, our classes were held 5 days a wk 9-5 and sometimes we had to come on weekends, I could not hold a job, I felt like i had not enough time to study, basically my first year it was all short term memory. on average we had about 2-3 exams a wk. But you do not need to be a genius, the staff really does try to help you out during the program to pass. When you graduate any job that hires you will train you. You do not function as a nurse, you are train to function as a doctor( you treat, medicate and council, you just have to make sure your supervising doc agrees with you) . when you rotate in the hospitals you will notice that the medical students know as much as you do about medicine, it is just that they do residency and you don't. For your board's you use USMLE books.

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travia in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

72 months ago

I live in miami, fl. I was wondering if anyone graduated from the Miami-Dade College PA program. I really am concerned about the quality of the program b/c they only offer an A.S.

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Darryll in Weirton, West Virginia

72 months ago

travia in Fort Lauderdale, Florida said: A special exception was made for Miami -Dade College. They are accredited and they are listed on the arc-pa.org website. I really want to reach out to an alumni of the PA program at Miami-Dade College.[/QUOTE

I would not recommend a school that only offers an A.S. Even if the school is accredited, most other schools are moving to Mater's level programs. Some states, such as Ohio, won't even let you prescribe unless you have at least an M.S. unless you graduated many years ago. In that case you are grandfathered in. Otherwise, even a B.S. program is really BS. I know it will take longer for you to finish and it may be more expensive, but if you are going to practice medicine, don't take any short cuts. It will be worth it in the long run.

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ED in Kennesaw, Georgia

72 months ago

Sorry... Forgot to post the link:

www.arc-pa.org/Acc_Programs/acc_programs.html

This is the website for The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

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Laurenie in Miami, Florida

71 months ago

I am an Athletic training student at FIU I graduate from the program in spring 2010 with a masters. My intentions after graduation are to continue my education in a physician assistant program. I heard from someone that specializing in orthopedics with my backgrround in athletic training will bring in more money. Is this true? What kind of jobs are their for a PA in athletic? and their salary range.
Thank you!

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omar586 in Chesterfield, Virginia

71 months ago

Has anyone attended or graduated from a pa program in VA school, if u have what pa school would recommend??

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asisat in Queens Village, New York

71 months ago

yorkpa in Flushing, New York said: Hi Katie I just graduated from York PA program this sept, when i applied to the school i was also concerned about their ranking, however, i applied to their school b/c it was going to cost me less then $10,000 for the whole education. It was the best decision i ever made, they have a great teaching staff. However, the program is very overwhelming, especially during the 1st semester, we lost about 6 student out of 22. Currently i have been offered two jobs paying over $100,000 a year.

Hi, I was am also interested in applying to york's PA program for the fall 2009. I wanted to know about the program overall. Are the faculty members helpful? Is there help in the program overall? Are they quick to kick ppl out of the program? I was about to start the PA program in Touro but I heard so many negative things about it, like how there isn't any tutoring and students feel like they are on their own. I'm hoping York is a good choice b/c I live close by and it would be so convient for me

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Laurenie in Miami, Florida

71 months ago

yorkpa in Flushing, New York said: Hi Katie I just graduated from York PA program this sept, when i applied to the school i was also concerned about their ranking, however, i applied to their school b/c it was going to cost me less then $10,000 for the whole education. It was the best decision i ever made, they have a great teaching staff. However, the program is very overwhelming, especially during the 1st semester, we lost about 6 student out of 22. Currently i have been offered two jobs paying over $100,000 a year.

Hi, when you were put in the rotations in the PA program, which one did you preffer and is this in the same setting you got your new job in?

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tracy in Melbourne Beach, Florida

71 months ago

Hi, I'm working on my AS in FL. Does anyone have experience getting into a PA program without a bachelor's degree? Thanks for sharing!

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knycpa in Rego Park, New York

70 months ago

yorkpa in Flushing, New York said: Hi Katie I just graduated from York PA program this sept, when i applied to the school i was also concerned about their ranking, however, i applied to their school b/c it was going to cost me less then $10,000 for the whole education. It was the best decision i ever made, they have a great teaching staff. However, the program is very overwhelming, especially during the 1st semester, we lost about 6 student out of 22. Currently i have been offered two jobs paying over $100,000 a year.

Hi, thanks for your advise. I am planning to transfer from other CUNY to York college and planning to attend for pre-PA program. I only have basic science courses as following: Gen Bio, Gen Chem, Org Chem(1 sem). Could you advise me on which course I should start to take this Spr'09 semester while working full time?. Would appreciate your advise & thanks.

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pre-pa in Jackson Heights, New York

70 months ago

yorkpa in Flushing, New York said: According to ARC-PA the accreditation programs for PA's. Accredited PA programs must offer a BS or higher?

www.arc-pa.org/Standards/standards.html

Can you tell me what your GPA was when you were accepted to the program?

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Peds PA Mike in Alexandria, Virginia

69 months ago

In comparing PA schools, the two most important general criteria are the PANCE passage rate and a Masters degree. A dwindling number of schools do not offer the Masters, and many of these are in NY and CA. over 85% of PA grads come out with a Masters. In an increasingly regulated healthcare system, a minimum of a graduate is required. This does not have to come from the PA program, but can be attained before or after the program.

Yes, you will likely get a first job without a Masters, but a long-term career will be challenging without it. Most teaching hospitals require all clinicians of a certain level or higher to have a graduate degree. A chief obstacle to PAs in government services is that they cannot get the promotion or pay rate above a certain rate without a graduate degree. An increasing number of states now require a graduate degree for certain or all levels of prescriptive authority.

The AAPA has endorsed the Master's degree as the minimum degree for new PA grads. ARC-PA is reviewing its standards, and may soon require that degree. The two major obstacles to 100% Masters programs are PA program faculty that are not qualified to teach graduate level programs and the programs themselves that are not accredited for graduate courses. They are acting in their own self-interest. The prospective PA student should look for their own long-term interest and career flexibility. This dictates a graduate degree.

ME

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shavanie in queens

69 months ago

yorkpa in Flushing, New York said: Hi Katie I just graduated from York PA program this sept, when i applied to the school i was also concerned about their ranking, however, i applied to their school b/c it was going to cost me less then $10,000 for the whole education. It was the best decision i ever made, they have a great teaching staff. However, the program is very overwhelming, especially during the 1st semester, we lost about 6 student out of 22. Currently i have been offered two jobs paying over $100,000 a year.

hi... i would really like to know what a day in the life of a PA is like, i am somewhat loaded with questions and fears at the same time... what type of degree do u have to get in order to apply for the program,,,..? can i try with a nursing degree? is it extremely hard to get into the program?

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Peds PA Mike in Springfield, Virginia

69 months ago

A day in the life of a PA is very much focused on direct patient care. Unlike physicians or nurses, PAs have few options coming out of school other than direct patient care. This is the primary reason behind common requirements for experience (paid or volunteer) in the healthcare arena. It really is for the benefit of the new PA. Caring for many patients (and families) in one day, working as part of a team, working without regular breaks, and sometimes working very long days are all part of the picture. You do not want to waste an education and tens of thousands of dollars if this is not attractive. Once experience is gained, the generalist PA training and focus is sometimes translated successfully into medical informatics, health IT, clinical research, and operational management.

Duties for the day (and night, and weekend, and holiday) differ by specialty and setting. But, they generally include physical exams, patient histories, superficial and/or invasive procedures, patient and caregiver education, communicating and coordinating with other care providers, documentation (paper or electronic), prescribing, managing medication or other ongoing treatments. PAs are often more "hands-on" than any of the other care providers on the team and are often the functionl hub of the team directed by the physician. PAs are divided roughly 1/3 in primary care, 1/3 in surgical subspecialties, and 1/3 in medical subspecialties.

About 95% of PA school applicants and 99+% of those accepted have a bachelor degree. The major is not truly important. Whatever it is, do it well. The applicant book from PAEA has all that info. The key is the science and other prerequisites. A number of good PAs have training and even experience as RNs. Just remember that the focus and activities of nursing do not necessarily overlap or translate into medicine. Nursing will not give you a leg up, but will definitely not hurt, either.

ME

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shavanie in queens

69 months ago

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE INFORMATION...THE THING IS THAT I HAVEN'T BEEN TO SCHOOL IN A LONG TIME ... I AM WORRIED ABOUT IF ITS GONA BE EXTREMELY HARD TO TOO MUCH....

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alicay4 in Longmont, Colorado

69 months ago

I was wondering if it is possible to "take a break" from being a PA. Is it possible to be unemployed as a PA for a few years, and then to go back? If I do that, will I be rehired? If my certification expires, is there any way I can renew it?

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Peds PA Mike in Alexandria, Virginia

69 months ago

shavanie in queens said: THANK YOU FOR ALL THE INFORMATION...THE THING IS THAT I HAVEN'T BEEN TO SCHOOL IN A LONG TIME ... I AM WORRIED ABOUT IF ITS GONA BE EXTREMELY HARD TO TOO MUCH....

PA training, like any healthcare training, is training for a trade. It has academic trappings like degrees, but it is a trade. The more time you put into it, the more you get out of it.

For that reason, often the students who have come back to school for PA education do very well. They have that real-life background and perspective that offers efficiency in knowing how to get the work done and dedication to the end goal. A number of part-time opportunities offered by PA programs used to be available nationwide. However, the failure rate was atrocious, and many programs elimated that option.

So, PA school really is more than a full-time job. But it moves along quickly and never gets boring - often seeming to move to fast. But you hold on tight and everything begins to fit together after some time. The best rotations get you the best experience and best jobs. These are often 60-80 weeks plus some time for reading and writing reports. You really need to make sure the other parts of your life on taken care of, particularly for the last 12-15 months of clinical rotations. There really is no time beyond PA school and your immediate family. Most PA programs have good orientations to this for significant others and family.

ME

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Peds PA Mike in Alexandria, Virginia

69 months ago

alicay4 in Longmont, Colorado said: I was wondering if it is possible to "take a break" from being a PA. Is it possible to be unemployed as a PA for a few years, and then to go back? If I do that, will I be rehired? If my certification expires, is there any way I can renew it?

It is possible to take a break from being a PA. This is one of the great advantages PAs have over physicians. PAs are often employed and can either leave altogether or cut down to part-time, weekends only, nights only etc. Of course, this flexibility comes primarily with healthcare systems, hospital practice groups, and large practice groups.

It is critical to maintain at least one license, your certification, and the requisite CME. Though it is possible to drop out of PA alogether and get recertified and relicensed, it is very difficult. State licensing boards question the knolwedge and competency of physicians and PAs who may leave for 4-6 and try to return to medicine. Healthcare is evolving continuously, and state boards worry about losing that edge. They may be wrong, but that is their belief. The Federation of State Medical Boards is looking at this issue and may have some info on their site www.fsmb.org

Advanced training for clinicians trying to return to a medical career or making a signficant transition is a significant concern for many medical specialties. A number of physician organizations are working on this issue. But, as for now, the opportunities are relatively limited and dependent on local efforts. For instance, my hospital had a 1-day a week/several month program for MDs (also available to PAs and NPs) to get back to speed on the care of children in the hospital. Most programs for physicians will take PAs if asked. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a reentry into the workforce project www.aap.org/reentry/ Other groups have joined in like the AMA and AAFP.

Unfortunately, AAPA has done nothing with this issue.

ME

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drew1425 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey

69 months ago

Peds PA Mike in Alexandria, Virginia said: In comparing PA schools, the two most important general criteria are the PANCE passage rate and a Masters degree. A dwindling number of schools do not offer the Masters, and many of these are in NY and CA. over 85% of PA grads come out with a Masters. In an increasingly regulated healthcare system, a minimum of a graduate is required. This does not have to come from the PA program, but can be attained before or after the program.

Yes, you will likely get a first job without a Masters, but a long-term career will be challenging without it. Most teaching hospitals require all clinicians of a certain level or higher to have a graduate degree. A chief obstacle to PAs in government services is that they cannot get the promotion or pay rate above a certain rate without a graduate degree. An increasing number of states now require a graduate degree for certain or all levels of prescriptive authority.

The AAPA has endorsed the Master's degree as the minimum degree for new PA grads. ARC-PA is reviewing its standards, and may soon require that degree. The two major obstacles to 100% Masters programs are PA program faculty that are not qualified to teach graduate level programs and the programs themselves that are not accredited for graduate courses. They are acting in their own self-interest. The prospective PA student should look for their own long-term interest and career flexibility. This dictates a graduate degree.

ME

i have alot of questions about your school and this program. noone ever answers the phone. can you tell me how you applyed?? also is there a pre-pa program? and if so, what does that mean??
thanks
drew

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Peds PA Mike in Alexandria, Virginia

69 months ago

The best resource for information on PA programs and what they require for admission is the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) at www.paeaonline.org. They have Programs Directory that has all the descriptive information that you could want - admissions requirements, etc. Of course, it costs some money (about $30).

Though a growing number of colleges offer "pre-PA" programs, I am not sure what that means. All PA programs have some combination of science requirements as well as stats, pscyhe, language, etc. They also have an experiential requirement - time you worked or volunteered in a health care setting. A "pre-PA" program cannot offer all of these prerequisites. There are a few schools that have a combined college undergrad/PA program with a few years as "pre-PA" and, if grades a sufficient, transition into the final years of the PA program. This is all in the PAEA handbook.

Almost all PA programs now use the CASPA centralized application process. This saves so much time and money for applicants.

Achieving the prerequisites does not necessarily make you competitive for acceptance. Almost all PA school entrants already have a bachelor's degree, a 3.2-3.6 GPA, and similar science grades. Average healthcare experience is about 2 years, but ranges from 0 - 20 years. Again, see the PAEA book.

Do not make your PA school choice based on tuition price. A Master's degree and high PANCE passage rate are the primary determiners of a program that will put you on the track to a long career. PAs make good money and can pay back necessary loans. Also, any program with a drop-out failure rate of more than 10% of a recent entering class has problems. The applicant pool is very high quality these days. Too many drop-outs indicate poor selection, poor support and teaching, or a combination. Too high a This drop-out rate also may result in the program losing its accreditation, meaning your tuition and degree would be worthless.

ME

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Ann in Centereach, New York

69 months ago

yorkpa in Flushing, New York said: This is what I mean by overwhelming, our classes were held 5 days a wk 9-5 and sometimes we had to come on weekends, I could not hold a job, I felt like i had not enough time to study, basically my first year it was all short term memory. on average we had about 2-3 exams a wk. But you do not need to be a genius, the staff really does try to help you out during the program to pass. When you graduate any job that hires you will train you. You do not function as a nurse, you are train to function as a doctor( you treat, medicate and council, you just have to make sure your supervising doc agrees with you) . when you rotate in the hospitals you will notice that the medical students know as much as you do about medicine, it is just that they do residency and you don't. For your board's you use USMLE books.

hi my name is ann and I'm waiting to hear from York for credit evaluation in order to get in the pre-program. I heard york put priorty addmission for the pa pro on students who are in their pre-pro. is that true? I live far from the school. At least I want to finish pre-require courses near my home then apply program. would you help me out?

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JJ in Rochester, Michigan

69 months ago

Is it possible to go to PA school and after that, attend graduate school and obtain a Master's degree in my minor (which is in the health care arena)? I really would like to become a PA and possibly become an instructor at a university in the future. Is it possible to work in a hospital as a PA and attend grad school, or do I have to choose between PA school or grad school?

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Peds PA Mike in Alexandria, Virginia

69 months ago

A PA career is a life-long career. Many PAs have and will earn graduate degrees after completing their PA program. I hope this will happen more often, as these PAs will extend their careers outside of the traditional PA arenas. By stretching into education, administration, public health, etc, they advance the cause of all PAs.

There are PAs that have earned a Masters or even PhD in PA Studies after starting to work clinically. This is essentially useless outside of PA schools and groups. Much more useful to the person and to other PAs are degrees such as masters or doctorates in education, public health, business, administration, and now technology. I have met a PA who worked in surgery for almost 20 years. He earned an MHA at some point and eventually worked his way to Dean of Research at one of the largest medical schools in the country. A very good PA program, Shenandoah, requires all its faculty to pursue an EdD while working on faculty. If these PAs choose to remain in education, they will have opportunities beyond PA programs. I earned my business degree in healthcare finance while working as a full-time PA. I expect to use that to become a hospital service-line director.

A growing area for graduate work is in health IT and medical informatics. The generalist training and experience of PAs makes them the ideal professional to link healthcare providers and IT. It is also possible to work both as a clinician and in another role. I have met PAs who serve both as a clinician and as their practice's operations manager or director of technology. These opportunities keep a career interesting and fulfilling.

Having PAs in non-clinical roles will help the majority of PAs who are full-time clinical. Nurses, physicians, and therapists in educational and management roles routinely advocate for others in their profession. PAs have not done this very well. AAPA also refuses to acknowledge that this is a valuable career option for PAs as well.

ME

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dukepa in Durham, North Carolina

68 months ago

I am a graduate of the Duke program and have been practicing in ob/gyn for seven years. I have precepted clinically and nonclinically at a teaching hospital for five years. I definitely think your first job should be in something which you are interested. I waited a couple of months to get the exact jobs I wanted which was beneficial. If you are going to get the per diem job right away it might be easier to be in the same field as your full-time clinical job for both you and your colleagues and part time nonclinical. As you become more experienced you could get a perdiem job in another field. I work in similiar fields (ob/gyn & family practice). I think employers are sometimes willing to give someone with experience a shot if it is a different specialty.

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Marcus in Brighton, Massachusetts

68 months ago

I have an option to go to one of three programs: Duke, Emory, or Rosalind Franklin University. All are masters programs with >95% PANCE pass rates. They differ in tuition and cost-of-living but other than that they all seem like great programs. Duke and Emory are the #2 & 3 programs according to the US New Ranking (if that's worth anything). Rosalind is close to family and friends and in a great metropolitan area.

I'm presenting this because I wanted to hear from some graduated PA's. Does it matter which I pick? Will saying that I graduated Duke give me anymore edge/higher salary/more options than saying I graduated from Rosalind or Emory? Will it only matter if I stay in the area where the school is post-graduation? What if my goal is to be able to move anywhere in the country after graduation, will one school help me over another?

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Peds PA Mike in Alexandria, Virginia

68 months ago

Congratulations. All three programs are excellent PA programs who train their graduates to be high-quality PAs in primary care, medical, and surgical specialties.

The name of the school you attended has only a minor impact on your first job as a PA. Even for that first job, your rotation expriences (particularly electives), recommendations from preceptors, and personal interviews are more important that the actual school. All of these are "national" programs and will be recognized wherever you go. But, those names usually do not take you beyond gaining an interview. Salary is a function of specialty, locale, hours, and experience.

Yes, there are those rankings. But, they mean very little beyond an attempt to sell subscriptions. What matter most are the clinical training opportunities they can offer the student. Duke is a good program, but I feel it is not in the top 10% of programs.

For subsequent jobs, your clinical experience and supervising physician recommendations are the primary determinants of your qualifications. That first job can be the jump-off to greater heights (most PAs go to a 2nd job withni 3 years). The core idea of PA eduation (vs. physician training) is that the basic medical training comes through a formal program followed by on-the-job experience that brings the PA to full competency (often 6-12 mos). You need to find a first job that will ensure continued opportunities for growth with the support of physicians and hopefully other PAs. An example would be a "surgical" job in which you are doing solely pre-op physicals vs one which you are doing the full breadth of surgery - pre-ops, post-op management, surgical assist, and even ED call. Another example is a family practice job in which you do school, sports, and pre-employment physicals vs one in which you combine physicals with sick visits and management of chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.

Again, congrats. Rosalind Franklin would be a great choice

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MK KEENE ASSOCIATES in Oxford, Michigan

68 months ago

SOUTH DAKOTA:

PRIMARY CARE PA: Busy primary care facility. Underserved region. Great benefits, retirement package, 401k.

NORTH DAKOTA:

PRIMARY CARE PA: Facility is looking for a primary care PA. Full time position with Great Pay and Benefits, retirement package, 401k.

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sarah87 in Bremerton, Washington

68 months ago

This question will probably sound very silly, but I just began researching to become a PA. I have never really been interested in the medical field. I actually have had no idea what I want to do, and have been out of high school for about 3 years now, but a couple weeks ago I began thinking about going into the medical field and have not stopped thinking about it. I am confused about the schooling for it. I do not seem to be getting clear answers when I try to google things. Straight out of high school, what needs to be done to become a PA? Do you get a BA in maybe a science, then you go to the 2-3 year PA program? or does it take about 4 years total to become a PA? Also do you have to shadow and do a residency or not? I am just so confused about how to start from beggining to end. Like I said, seems like kind of a silly question, but I won't know unless I ask. Thanks

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Alana

68 months ago

I am in a somewhat similar situation. I recently graduated with my B.S. in biology. I thought I wanted to work in an environmental field, but having held several internships and seen the job prospects for the field, I am reconsidering my options. As a college student, I was unsure of what I wanted to pursue as a career, though I was sure I wanted to be in the sciences and did well in all my classes. I took a fairly broad science curriculum, including courses that would be required for many PA school admissions including A & P, chemistry, organic chem, physics, psychology, biostatistics, genetics, and cell and molecular biology. I enjoyed all of these classes (with the exception of physics). I was talking to a friend not long ago about the program she is in now, training to be a nurse practitioner, and realized that I already have many of the requirements for PA school. With another semester or two to pick up additional academic requirements, a year as a CNA, and a good performance on the GRE, I could apply to PA school. I think I would really enjoy the opportunity to provide direct patient care as a PA. The schooling timeline, opportunity for lifelong learning, and great job outlook also appeal to me.

My problem is that I'm so indecisive... Did you that are already PA's know early in your undergrad career that you wanted to work in health care, or were you just as confused as me? I know this field requires a lot of dedication, so I don't want to make any rash decisions. If I get experience in health care via volunteering, job shadowing, working as a CNA, etc. and really feel like being a PA is right for me, would I stand as good a chance at admission to a program as anyone else? This might be a silly question to, but like "sarah87," I won't know unless I ask.

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Peds PA Mike in Alexandria, Virginia

68 months ago

To find out how competitive you might be, the PAEA Programs Directory is the best source. This costs some money, but it is the best way to know if your academic preparation meets programs requirements (they differ somewhat), you are competitive with the applicant pool, and what coursework you may need to complete prior to application or admission. However, this will only help with the course and grade questions.

The "Do I want to be in healthcare?" question is answered by the person and experience. The options beyond direct patient care are limited for PAs, at least for the first years of their career. So, you need to want to go into patient care. I think most PAs knew they wanted to get into healthcare, but were unsure how - at least for a while. Many were and were looking towards being techs, nurses, physicians, pharmacists, therapists, researchers, EMTs, etc., then saw the PA role and opportunities as better fitting their personal goals. I know some fantastic PAs who were hospital patient care techs / CNAs / PCAs - they finished their prerequisites and had tremendous drive and self-confidence to complete PA program and be great PAs.

HealtheCareers - www.healthecareers.com - is the largest health career job site out there. They are the engine behind the PA JobLink, the busiest PA job board. See what jobs are being posted, their duties, and their requirements. Also, registration is free (and I never get junk mail from them), to get into the resume builder and My Work Style personal survey. This can be helpful in assessing your personality to a career in healthcare. It is a really long survey, but kind of fun to take.

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LAUREN, PA-C in New Berlin, Wisconsin

67 months ago

I am a graduate of Marquette University's PA Program and was doing some research trying to find out the rankings of the current PA programs - with regards to the PANCE. Does anyone know where I can find these posted online?

I know Marquette scores EXTREMELY high in the PANCE every year, and is thought to be an elite program.

What is the outlook on Marquette's PA program. Is it known nation wide as one of the best?

What programs would you rank as top 10?

GO MARQUETTE BBALL (vs Uconn tonight!!!!!)

Thanks for your time! :)

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Owen - Cornell Student, for now in Ithaca, New York

67 months ago

Hey, right now I'm a freshman at Cornell University but was considering transferring to a different university, University of South Alabama, that has a physicians assistant program. Does it matter which college I graduate from or is it just as long as I complete all my pre-requisites with a certain GPA?

And also, I was contemplating whether to become an NP or a PA. I've read up on the differences but I would like to know personally, from people who are actual PAs and NPs, how the course to get there was and which one would be best to do.
Thank you everybody!

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Peds PA Mike in Burke, Virginia

67 months ago

Owen - Cornell Student, for now in Ithaca, New York said: Hey, right now I'm a freshman at Cornell University but was considering transferring to a different university, University of South Alabama, that has a physicians assistant program. Does it matter which college I graduate from or is it just as long as I complete all my pre-requisites with a certain GPA?

And also, I was contemplating whether to become an NP or a PA. I've read up on the differences but I would like to know personally, from people who are actual PAs and NPs, how the course to get there was and which one would be best to do.
Thank you everybody!

Undergraduate school does not matter - get your prerequisites and de well. You should not be at a disadvantage at a traditional program like South Alabama. There are a few programs that have undergraduate "pre-PA" programs that drive students into the graduate PA program. There is a natural conflict of interest in these program, and they do not put out the best PAs.

If you like patient care, PA is the way to go. My NP wife is adamant about that. If you prefer the "softer" side of healthcare - care coordination, low level management in hospitals - then the NP may be attractive in the near future. Once you graduate as a PA, there is much flexibility in specialty and setting that does not exist with NPs.

Wherever you go for PA school, be sure to get a Master's degree. South Alabama can satisfy that and seems to have a good reputation among the Alabama physicians I know.

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Owen - Cornell Student, for now in Ithaca, New York

67 months ago

Peds PA Mike in Burke, Virginia said: Undergraduate school does not matter - get your prerequisites and de well. You should not be at a disadvantage at a traditional program like South Alabama. There are a few programs that have undergraduate "pre-PA" programs that drive students into the graduate PA program. There is a natural conflict of interest in these program, and they do not put out the best PAs.

If you like patient care, PA is the way to go. My NP wife is adamant about that. If you prefer the "softer" side of healthcare - care coordination, low level management in hospitals - then the NP may be attractive in the near future. Once you graduate as a PA, there is much flexibility in specialty and setting that does not exist with NPs.

Wherever you go for PA school, be sure to get a Master's degree. South Alabama can satisfy that and seems to have a good reputation among the Alabama physicians I know.

Thank you so much Peds! That really will help my decision.

And you're a PA right? Is it as hard as people say it is to keep up with the 100 hours of formal continuing education and the recertification every 2 years?

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Peds PA Mike in Burke, Virginia

67 months ago

Continuing education requirements are not hard, particularly with the advent of the Internet. Of the 100 hours, only 50 need to be Category I credit.

The are more opportunities to get credits all the time. There are always the traditional live CME programs. These cost the most, but you often get the most out of them - if you are careful. I find that meetings provided by physician or physcian-oriented organziations within my practice area (peds) give PAs a big price break. Unless you are in adult primary care, I find PA conferences irrelevant for anything other than preparation for recertification.

Online courses are cheap (sometimes free!) and can be done on your own time. Some activities can even be done in the course of practice - electronic references for conditions or drugs that you may quickly research when treating a patient can count for CME.

Maintenance of Certification (MOC) activities done in the practice will eventually replace much CME. Research shows that learning is best when done in the context of the task - taking care of patients rather than sleeping away in a lecture hall. For example, pulling the data and trends of your hypertensive patients in the practice, reviewing their management, comparing it to guidelines, establishing plans to address treatment gaps, implementing them over the course of followup visits, and checking your success in 6 months will earn you CME / MOC credits. You get paid to do your work and get credit!

All this MOC stuff is currently under development - scary and confusing for people already in practice. But, new students should graduate just as it is becoming reality and teach us all how to do it.

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BK in Deerfield, Illinois

67 months ago

I am at a crossroad. I have been taking pre-recs for the last year to try and get into Rosalind PA school, but now am thinking more the DPT route. I am not sure which job would be better suited for me. Any PA's that can give me a day to day. I work in the hospital and the PA's seem to just work on the computers and in charts. I am think I would like to do the PT for more patient interaction. I have an extensive athletic background too and think I may want to work with athletes and what not. Also, what are the salry differences for the two professions in the Chicagoland area?

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Peds PA Mike in Burke, Virginia

67 months ago

It sounds like you have some work to do with prerequisites. Focus on science classes - most life sciences,(biology, physiology, genetics, even neuropsychology might overlap with your background) and chemistry (if you don't have it). Good grades in recent science classes may overcome a mediocre GPA from a competitive college.

Don't worry much about math, except for some statistics course - there is a wide variety of these. Hopefully, you will succeed with the dedicated study habits of a more mature student.

Though some PA schools may count working on the financial and administrative side as health care experience, I advocate for some time on the patient side. The PA is more a clinical role than any other healthcare profession. You need to show yourself and schools that you can interrelate and communicate with patients and families. Volunteer in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Even volunteer with special olympics, working with the more disabled participants.

As a backup, your background seems the typical set-up for the healthcare administration track. The Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) is one avenue of information for this www.aupha.org. A new generation of health administrators, competent in quality improvement and process design - and not focused on billing (which will become automated) - is needed.

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danielle17 in Apopka, Florida

66 months ago

hi. im a junior in highschool, and i am suppose to be getting familiar with college, but im not. i want to major in being a physician assisstant.now for my questions:
when i start my freshmen yr of college, do i take my pre-req's first?
how lng will that take,and when do i move on to majoring in p.a?
basically can anyone describe or explain this college process to me, cause i definitely do not know!!!!!!!!

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AMB in Santa Monica, California

66 months ago

Thanks Mike! That is so helpful! Yes, I am also looking at getting an advanced counseling degree for use in administration, so that lets me know I have a great backup. Again, thank you for your honesty - I've had a hard time getting good information on this.

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travia in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

66 months ago

Miami-Dade college does offer a PA program. It is an AS degree. The pass rate for last year was 95% (first time takers). In my opinion Miami-Dade College is the best PA program in the area, although it is only an AS. They train and are taught by some of the best Doctors from University of Miami Medical school through Jackson Hosp. It only cost $19K. You can gain valuable experience with Miami-Dade who has partnerships with Jackson Hosp. and the Ryder trauma (only Critical care facility in the miami). You gain priceless experience, that can not be obtained with extra classes.

ED in Kennesaw, Georgia said: I would generally agree that a school that offers an AS is probably not the best place to get your PA education. However, in general all accredited PA programs are held to the same standard. Check here for Accredited Entry-level Programs (Miami/Dade is on the list) If it is your only option, I would say go for it.

I would ask the school for what their drop out, graduation and passing the boards rate was for their students. There was a school in Albany, NY (the Hudson Valley Community College/Albany Med PA program)about 15 years ago that only offered an AS. They had incredibly high standards to get into the program. Unfortunately that had a 20% failure rate on the PANCE for their graduates for several years. You don't want that!

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travia in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

66 months ago

Do your homework, look at the list of accredited PA schools, an exception was made for Miami-Dade College to offer an AS in PA. There pass rate is 95%. Miami-Dade college is the only college in Florida that offers a AS.

yorkpa in Flushing, New York said: According to ARC-PA the accreditation programs for PA's. Accredited PA programs must offer a BS or higher?

www.arc-pa.org/Standards/standards.html

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Peds PA Mike in Burke, Virginia

66 months ago

Be wary of any school that offers anything less than a BS. Masters is preferred. Do they have plans to move in the direction of a Masters. ARC-PA is reviewing its standards for PA education. Also, many states and employers are moving in the direction of requiring Masters degrees either for full licensure or as the minimum requirement. If it is going to be 5 or more years before you are eligible for certification, you must make sure you can earn the credentials needed for a long career with sufficient opportunity.

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Matthew Hennigan in San Diego, California

66 months ago

I'm currently studying for the Bachelors degree in Human Biology. I am very interested in becoming a PA. I was wondering whether or not volunteering at an ER or other hospital setting works for most program's clinical experience requirement. Did anyone else here use volunteer hours?

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Karen, ER PA-C in Lenexa, Kansas

66 months ago

alicay4 in Longmont, Colorado said: I was wondering if it is possible to "take a break" from being a PA. Is it possible to be unemployed as a PA for a few years, and then to go back? If I do that, will I be rehired? If my certification expires, is there any way I can renew it?

-Just found this blog, hope you are still out there. Peds PA Mike,Alex,VA is somewhat incorrect. I worked 11 yrs then took 4 yrs off. I had young children and a medical condition that has since resolved. I was unable to take PANRE 3 yrs ago and lost my cert and state license. Call NCCPA, they will give you the options. The best choice, I think, is to stay up on CME and PANRE and stay certified. You don't have to work to do that. But, if you have to let your cert expire, you can still returning easily. The choices are: retake PANCE, which I did, and you are certified, no CME required. OR do 300 CME (I think) and take the PANRE. Getting state license back is easy. It requires some busy work(if you change states)and start early. (most states will hold transcripts, previous state license...for a year or more, BEFORE they even get your NCCPA test results, application or fees, so check!) I took the PANCE 4 wks ago, and have 2 interviews this week, one being a second interview!(and I'm old school with only a BS!)

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alicay4 in Longmont, Colorado

66 months ago

Thanks Karen, that answered my question completely.

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Roshani in Caldwell, New Jersey

65 months ago

Hi,
I am currently a high school Senior and there are many decisions to make during this week. I have been Accepted to Hofstra University, St.Johns University for their pre-recs phase to eventually become a Physicians Assistant the only problem is that they both offer a bachelor of sciences. I have recently been accepted to Drexel University in the Nursing and Health Profession School. Drexel will allow me to get my masters. What should I do? Does it make a difference in salary, job placement or anything because of the Bachelor and Master's difference. Which school is a better choice?

Thank you

I have been reading this blog and I have learned so much from it!

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PCC in San Gabriel, California

64 months ago

I'll be submitting my application to 3 programs this fall; Stanford, UC Davis and Charles Drew. However, during a recent conversation with my wife she asked me how important "where I went to school" mattered to potential employers. A question that Peds PA Mike answered in a previous post. However, I would like to hear from anyone what Charles Drew's reputation is when comparing it to other programs? I don't care about it's ranking because from what I've read the various rankings systems are skewed or flawed, however, I would like to know if applying to Charles Drew and attending the program would be worth my time and money.

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Rose in Hollywood, Florida

63 months ago

travia in Fort Lauderdale, Florida said: Do your homework, look at the list of accredited PA schools, an exception was made for Miami-Dade College to offer an AS in PA. There pass rate is 95%. Miami-Dade college is the only college in Florida that offers a AS.

My husband graduated from the Miami Dade PA program in 2005. And I must say that he does quite well for himself, well into the six figures. It was a great school for him, and he got a job as soon as he graduated making 60.00 and hour. My husband did say that it is a very hard and stressful program. The fact that he only has his AS never bothered and of his employers and he has not lost any of jobs or job opportunity because of it.

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knycpa in Jamaica, New York

63 months ago

What's AS ?

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