Want to learn more about being an assistant....

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (25)

RMGC in Rio Rancho, New Mexico

43 months ago

Hi, I am going to be coming out of high school in a few months, and I wanted to know more about what education I know, what schools I should go to, how to get training, and all of that. So if someone could please help me and give me the basics I would be very glad. Thank you...

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

pathotoko in Morgantown, West Virginia

43 months ago

I'm currently attending West Virginia University's Pathologists' Assistant Program. Many of these program have similar requirements such as a minimum 3.0 gpa, GRE test scores and a few required undergraduate courses. You don't need to major in biology, but since many of your classes during graduate school will be about pathology, anatomy and physiology, having a background in biology will be a big help in understanding the material.

In addition to getting good grades, you'll need to get some shadowing experience outside of the classroom. I would recommend that you call your local hospital and see if you could come into the pathology laboratory for a day or two to see what this field is like.

If you go to google and type in 'AAPA Training Brochure', you should be able to find a pdf file of all of the programs currently in existence.

Also, if you head over to West Virginia's Pathologists' Assistant Program website, you can find a blog detailing about life in PA school.

It's good that you're thinking ahead this early because getting into PA school is highly competitive. It's just about as competitive as getting into medical school. You can never be too prepared.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

josephine in Sacramento, California

42 months ago

hi pathotoko,

Thank you for sharing that blog! I'm still reading it and I find it very helpful and interesting.

I plan to submit applications for Drexel and Rosalind Franklin in the Fall. I am currently having trouble finding job shadowing opportunities in California and from your blog i see that you're from here. May I ask how you went about shadowing pathologists or PA's? At this point, I am desperate enough to shadow anyone here, no matter how far I might have to commute.

Also, what is a safe score to get on the GRE according to WVU's standards? in case I decide to apply there.

By the way, here is my email in case it's more convenient for you to keep in contact.

jglspnay@gmail.com

Thanks!

-Josephine

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Kosmo_Not in North Branford, Connecticut

42 months ago

Hi Josephine,

If you are worried about the GRE, you could also apply to Quinnipiac University. They can also give you contact information of some of the graduates for shadowing opportunities and getting their scoop on the program.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

josephine in Manteca, California

42 months ago

Thanks I appreciate the suggestion. I would love to apply to Quinnipiac as well. Some things that hinder me, however is that I've read on here about the very long response time, that it has the highest tuition, and that most seats are filled by previous applicants. It seems like a very prestigious school though. I'll look more into it:

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Kosmo_Not in North Branford, Connecticut

42 months ago

You are right, the tuition is higher but it certainly is money well spent and all QU grads are able to pay off their loans quickly after graduating. I disagree with the other two statements though. Of my 6 applications Drexel and Qu were the first to respond. Both took about 2 months from the time I mailed out my applications to the day that I received acceptance letters. Qu does place some applicants on a wait list when they are impressed by the student but don't have enough space during that year. Students on the wait list still have to interview and are not guaranteed acceptance.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

pathotoko in Morgantown, West Virginia

42 months ago

Hi Josephine, I have some good news for you. West Virginia University is one of the few schools that don't require GRE scores for their PA program. Nevertheless, I would still study for the GRE to apply for all of the other schools as well just in case.

As far as shadowing, I would call around to all of your local hospitals and the local coroner's office. They may not remember you if you just call them asking for a shadowing experience so you might want to write a nice letter that explains you are interested in the field and if you could observe them for a day. Even still, they may not accept to it, so some of it is luck. You might even have to make a day trip to the bay area and see what's available.

I wish you the best!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

NMUchic in Marquette, Michigan

42 months ago

Hi, maybe someone can help? I'm beginning to apply to PA programs myself, and when looking at Wayne State they still have their PA program as a bachelor's program, so I can still apply to that program even if I'll by graduating with a bachelors in December? I guess my question is more or less is there a significant difference if I received a second bachelors degree or a masters ontop of my bachelors? Thanks!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Bonfire in Oakland, California

42 months ago

I am also in California, the SF Bay Area. I am looking for PA's to shadowing as well. Please let me know if anyone knows of any opportunities for this in the area. Does anyone have suggestions on the best techniques to get in contact with PA's for cold shadowing requests?

Thanks!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Paul in Oceanside, New York

41 months ago

Hey guys! Just wondering what my chances of getting into a Master's P.A. program would be.

I graduated with a B.S. in Pathologist's Assistant in 2006 (3.97 GPA). Unfortunately, my college's program was not NAACLS-accredited, so I couldn't get officially licensed. That obstacle hindered me from obtaining most P.A. jobs. I did, however, work in a private lab for a few years as a P.A., and then a 3-month contractual position at a hospital assisting pathology residents with specimens.

I took the GRE in 2006 (scores are still valid right now) and got a 1320 on it. Given my undergraduate and post-college work experience, I think this sounds like a shoe-in, yes? If anything, it certainly seems like I'd have a huge competitive advantage over other applicants, I think?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Aaron in Dallas, Georgia

40 months ago

Hi I was wondering whAt response time was after your interview at wvu the director told me they do not do rolling admissions so you won't hear anything until July or august is this true or do people who are accepted hear soon after interviews? Thanks

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Carol in Baltimore, Maryland

40 months ago

Paul in Oceanside, New York said: Hey guys! Just wondering what my chances of getting into a Master's P.A. program would be.

I graduated with a B.S. in Pathologist's Assistant in 2006 (3.97 GPA). Unfortunately, my college's program was not NAACLS-accredited, so I couldn't get officially licensed. That obstacle hindered me from obtaining most P.A. jobs. I did, however, work in a private lab for a few years as a P.A., and then a 3-month contractual position at a hospital assisting pathology residents with specimens.

I took the GRE in 2006 (scores are still valid right now) and got a 1320 on it. Given my undergraduate and post-college work experience, I think this sounds like a shoe-in, yes? If anything, it certainly seems like I'd have a huge competitive advantage over other applicants, I think?

HI Paul, I think you are an excellent candidate for any master's PA program. You have a high GPA and GRE scores and most important, previous lab work experience. I am a recent graduate of the Univ of MD PA program and I am really happy that I chose this field and this program. Having had such a negative experience with your undergrad program, I'm sure cost of attendance is a factor. Univ of MD is fully accredited (recent 5 yr acreditation from NAACLS) and has one of the lowest tuition costs of most programs. I personally got to rotate through various sites such as the Maryland's office of the Medical Examiners, Johns Hopkins Bayview, Univ of MD Medical Center and 2 local community hospitals. Best of luck with your application process!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

Paul in Oceanside, New York

40 months ago

Hi Carol!

Thanks for the best wishes! It's definitely a very rewarding field, and each day is a new one! You never know what's going to come to the grossing room. That's one of the reasons why I absolutely love the P.A. field...the tremendous variety of specimens and the intellectual challenge of it all. It's amazing, really. I actually should have pursued an advanced degree in the field five years ago instead of exploring other career paths and getting nowhere. That's my only "regret," but it's not the end of the world :)

How did you like MD's program? I'm not going to be applying there, though, because something on their website stated that they don't offer financial aid. Also, you said that MD has a recent 5 yr accreditation with NAACLS. After those 5 years are up, are they eligible for a renewal of their accreditation? And do P.A. programs usually get renewed? (I hope so, because I don't want to graduate from a non-NAACLS-accredited program like my undergraduate college!)

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Paul in Oceanside, New York

40 months ago

Carol in Baltimore, Maryland said: HI Paul, I think you are an excellent candidate for any master's PA program. You have a high GPA and GRE scores and most important, previous lab work experience. I am a recent graduate of the Univ of MD PA program and I am really happy that I chose this field and this program. Having had such a negative experience with your undergrad program, I'm sure cost of attendance is a factor. Univ of MD is fully accredited (recent 5 yr acreditation from NAACLS) and has one of the lowest tuition costs of most programs. I personally got to rotate through various sites such as the Maryland's office of the Medical Examiners, Johns Hopkins Bayview, Univ of MD Medical Center and 2 local community hospitals. Best of luck with your application process!

And I'm really pressing to get into Duke's P.A. program. Their medical school is top of the line.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Eva in National City, California

40 months ago

Hello,

I graduated from my undergrad in 2010 and did it in 3 years. My major was cellular and molecular biology and my GPA was around 3.5. I'm still only 21 and haven't had much working experience in labs besides my classes and the semester of research I did. I was able to job shadow PathAss for a day at the UCLA teaching hospital, but haven't had any luck getting a job in a path lab. My current job is being a packaging tech for BD biosciences and it's certainly just entry level.

I have always had a passion for pathology, but I am afraid that I am not a strong enough candidate for any of the PA programs. My GPA is decent but not super competitive and I haven't had much experience working in the pathology field. I was hoping for some advice of what I could do to increase my chances of getting into any of the programs. Should I take more time off and find a job in a path lab? I just feel too inexperienced and young to get in anywhere.

Thank you for your advice.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

jlgotera in West Islip, New York

28 months ago

I just graduated with a bachelor's in criminal justice. I am interested in the PA program. I've been looking around and i have noticed that non-science majors are considered, since many of the courses that are part of the pa program are humanties. So i was wondering, what is my next step that i should do to be qualified to enter into the PA programs? It looks like there is a medical lab technician associates degree at a community college, then get a bachelor's in clincial lab science or technology.. I'm very confused as to what the difference is of everything. Or what about getting a degree as a physican's assistant, then getting into the pathology assistant program? somebody help me. I am for certain this is what i want to do. Just not sure what to sign for first!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

DragonPA in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

You can't be certain unless you've shadowed a professional PA first. Also, it's not true that many of the courses in a PA program are humanities courses. Medical ethics and leadership skills only account for 4 out of the 90 credits in my program. This isn't like medical school where non-science majors are considered. You actually need specific, required science courses to get in. A criminal justice degree by itself won't cut it. Forensic science master's sure, but not PA.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

jlgotera in West Islip, New York

28 months ago

ok, well you might have answered my question. But did not tell me what i should look into first?! i know i need specific required science courses to get in, that is what this whole forum is about to get information..
Sooo what would be the name of the degree in which i can obtain all of the prerequistes to be considered into the Pathology Assistant program?! i have looked everywhere, called everywhere; i just need someone who knows something!!!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

E.R in Manchester, Connecticut

28 months ago

I'm in the process of applying to PA school, so I'm not sure how much my input can help. But from my experience, the programs are looking for someone with a strong health sciences background and shadowing experience. I suppose you could go back to school and get a second bachelor's degree that would satisfy the prerequisites (and I would look into what all of the programs want because it might vary a bit). A med tech degree would be great because it would allow for you to work in a hospital diagnostic lab. That being said, I would suggest taking the prerequisites, such an Anatomy and Physiology 1 and 2, as a non-degree student and focus more energy on shadowing a few pathologists' assistants. Not only does it serve as a great educational tool, but you learn a lot about what the job actually entails. You can also try to get a job in a hospital lab as an assistant or in central accessioning. Most hospitals require just as high school diploma or a GED for those positions. While they don’t pay well, it would expose you to medical terminology. You could do that while you go back to school to finish your prerequisites.

You also asked what the difference between a Physician Assistant and a Pathologists' Assistant. They are two separate programs. I would suggest you shadow or at least contact a representative in both fields to get a better understanding of what they do to see which one appeals to you more. As far as a path assistant goes, you are primarily grossing surgical specimens and performing autopsies in a laboratory setting. A physician assistant has patient care duties. Any major hospital in New York will employ both. Through the power of google, e-mail and the telephone, you should be able to contact someone.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

jlgotera in West Islip, New York

28 months ago

yeah hey, of course you are a lot of help. you are already ahead of what i'm trying to accomplish. Anyways, I am going by what the PA accredited college require for admissions and they vary by 2.5 minimum or 3.0 mimimum gpa, which the 2.5 minimum is great, that is what i have. Plus there is this college rosaland franklin in north chicago which is 23,000 something with the mimimum 2.5 gpa and requires the prerequistes of Human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, general chem, organic/biochem, mathmatics, statistics)
So my question is, since there are varying pre requistes, what would be the name of the degree that would fulfill a biological science that would have those miminum prerequistes? would there be a program with those online?
I also did not see the GRE for this school, but it is required for all of the other ones, so i will have to take that. Plus, i see for an associates a forensics science tech with all of those prerequistes that are listed, or that would be a total misdirection towards the PA program???!
thanks a lot for you help,
jessica

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

E.R in Manchester, Connecticut

28 months ago

The problem is that every college program will vary a little. I would recommend a basic biology degree, but I can't tell you that it will cover everything. I have a degree in Pathobiology. I did not need to take statistics to fulfill my degree requirement, but I took it as an elective because I knew it would help for grad school. You would have to look into the undergraduate schools you want to attend and see what degrees programs they have. I highly doubt you will be able to accomplish this online because anatomy and physiology, microbiology, general chem, organic chem and biochem all have a lab component. I would also make sure you get your GPA up. While 2.5 is the minimum at some schools, most of the students accepted have around a 3.5 with shadowing experience/health care background.

You only have to take the GRE test if you are applying to schools that require it. I didn't have to take it because I only applied to Quinnipiac. It all depends on where you want to apply.

My gut instinct tells me that an associates in forensics would be a misdirection. The path assistant program is not a forensics program. Yes, you do autopsies. But for the most part, anything crime related will go to the medical examiner’s office. The only autopsies you will be doing (unless you have some outlier job) are going to be on patients that die in the hospital. Thus, having a background in health sciences would be more beneficial. And if I’m not mistaken, a lot of the forensic work is molecular based (PCR techniques) anyway. Not sure how related it will be to the pathology field. That being said, I did meet a current PA student that had a forensic science background. But she also worked in a hospital doing phlebotomy and was able to network with the pathology department for recommendations. Her hospital experience made up for her non-health science background.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Eva in San Diego, California

28 months ago

Jessica,

You don't need to get another degree. You could just take those individual classes. But if you wanted to get a science degree I would say the degree I had covered practically all those classes (Cellular and Molecular Biology or in a sense Pre-Med). And I would say no you can't really do those courses online unless they offer in-class labs.

Rosalind Franklin, Quinnipiac (min 2.75 GPA), and West Virginia (min 3.0 GPA) don't require a GRE. All the other schools do. Here's a link to all the accredited schools:
www.pathassist.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=79

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

E.R in Manchester, Connecticut

28 months ago

I agree with Eva. It is way more cost efficient to just take the individual classes as a non-degree student. And as an added bonus, it gives you more free time to do some PA shadowing.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

jlgotera in West Islip, New York

28 months ago

ok. you guys helped out more than anybody I may have talked to at the colleges that have the basic science pre-requistes.. Anyways, so yeah a non-degree seeking program would be good.. But how does that work? What classes should I tell them that i need? I saw at my school where graduated with my bachelor's that you can do a non-seeking degree program. what about after that, i take a post baccuralete pre-med program? that would for sure get me ready for any direction i want, if i did end up going into med school, or just a different of type of medicine i would want to study..
Shadowing for the PA is definietly what i am looking to do first, any suggestions??
Then, if i did want to take the classes online, which would i need? of course, except for the lab ones.
in the meantime, what subject or book should i maybe look at?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Annoy

28 months ago

All of the programs have their pre req listed on their websites. But typically it's human anatomy, med term, physiology, microbiology etc. and your cheapest option is to take the courses at your local tech school, cheaper and they offer online except for when you have to go in for labs. Then contact local hospital about shadowing a pa and possibly the medical examiner in the interviews I had all the colleges asked if I had done this not a requirement but they like it

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

» Sign in or create an account to comment on this topic.