What are typical pathology assistant salaries?

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Do some companies pay a lot more for this position than others? What does a top earner make in this field?

What skills should you learn to increase your salary?

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

94 months ago

If they are making that low of a salary, they are most likely not a program-trained or certified Pathologist Assistant. I am a Pathologist Assistant in Michigan and the pay here starts out at 60-65k right out of school. With a few years of experience, one could expect to earn 75-90k. I might add that this is in Michigan where the pay is lower because we have a PA program at Wayne State University.

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Caitlin in Granby, Connecticut

83 months ago

Morgan in North Branford, Connecticut said: I am currently a student in a masters degress pathology program. They told us that we could expect to earn $70K + right out of school. Salaries are about to go up soon too, I expect, because ASCP is about to dis-allow people who have on the job training to get certified as PA's.

Hi Morgan, I imagine that you are attending Quinnipiac's program, no? I would love to hear more about their program from you, maybe you could e-mail me? Let me know and I'll give you my e-mail address. I would really appreciate it.
Caitlin

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M in Syracuse, New York

79 months ago

Caitlin in Granby, Connecticut said: Hi Morgan, I imagine that you are attending Quinnipiac's program, no? I would love to hear more about their program from you, maybe you could e-mail me? Let me know and I'll give you my e-mail address. I would really appreciate it.
Caitlin

Yes, I am. I'd be more than happy to talk to you about the program. Just let me know what Your e-mail is.

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

79 months ago

Morgan in North Branford, Connecticut said: I am currently a student in a masters degress pathology program. They told us that we could expect to earn $70K + right out of school. Salaries are about to go up soon too, I expect, because ASCP is about to dis-allow people who have on the job training to get certified as PA's.

I know several students who went through the Wayne State program and were
also offered 70-80k to start in certain regions of the U.S. Wayne State will be changing its program to a Master's within the next year or two.

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Paul in Valley Stream, New York

78 months ago

Yes, PA's generally do start out ranging from 65-90K. I graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Pathologist's Assistant. HOWEVER, the program wasn't accredited by the NACLS, so I couldn't get AAPA membership, which is really horrible. I've worked at 2 diagnostics labs so far as a PA, where the salary is much lower than in hospitals (around 45K). Not bad, but with my education and current experience, I feel compelled to pursue a Master's in this area. It should be a breeze anyway, being that I already know all about this field ;). It should just be a refresher on the complex hospital specimes for the most part. But what I'm really looking forward to (and what I NEED as a P.A.) is instruction in performing autopsies, which the REAL P.A.'s MUST learn to do by themselves. It's extremely exciting, and I can't wait until next year!

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

78 months ago

At Wayne State University, we were taught how to perform autopsies by hospital Pathologists and how to do forensic autopsies while spending app. 3 months at the Wayne County Medical Examiner. A requirement of graduation was that we completed 50 documented autopsies.

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Catherine

78 months ago

Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan said: If they are making that low of a salary, they are most likely not a program-trained or certified Pathologist Assistant. I am a Pathologist Assistant in Michigan and the pay here starts out at 60-65k right out of school. With a few years of experience, one could expect to earn 75-90k. I might add that this is in Michigan where the pay is lower because we have a PA program at Wayne State University.

Joseph I would like to hear more about your learning experiences at Wayne State.. I am at MCC taking my required classes for this field.

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Kelly in Grand Haven, Michigan

78 months ago

Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan said: At Wayne State University, we were taught how to perform autopsies by hospital Pathologists and how to do forensic autopsies while spending app. 3 months at the Wayne County Medical Examiner. A requirement of graduation was that we completed 50 documented autopsies.

I have been looking into the pathologists assistant program wayne state offers. I am currently a junior at gvsu and will have a bachelors degree in health professions in the spring of 09. I was wondering if you know when they will be changing there pathologists program to a masters degree rather than a bachelors. Also what was the program like at wayne state? Was it extremely stressful?

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

78 months ago

I heard the program might be transitioned to an M.S. degree by as
early as next year. The program was difficult at times, but certainly doable. The second year is definitely harder than the first since you have to study for the big Robbin's exams and you are doing your clinical rotations. The staff at WSU Mortuary Science are great and I felt like I was part of a big family. I would highly recommend the program.

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

78 months ago

Catherine said: Joseph I would like to hear more about your learning experiences at Wayne State.. I am at MCC taking my required classes for this field.

Please see my reply below. You can obtain more information on the profession by going to www.pathologistsassistants.org, or if you want to visit the Wayne State web page go to www.mortsci.wayne.edu/index.php.

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Kelly in Grand Haven, Michigan

78 months ago

Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan said: I heard the program might be transitioned to an M.S. degree by as
early as next year. The program was difficult at times, but certainly doable. The second year is definitely harder than the first since you have to study for the big Robbin's exams and you are doing your clinical rotations. The staff at WSU Mortuary Science are great and I felt like I was part of a big family. I would highly recommend the program.

I am curious to know what the interview process was like when you had it. Also, are you required to have hours of observing a pathologists assistant before getting accepted into the program? Do you recall writing tons of papers throughout the courses you had to take in the program... I have heard with some of GVSU's programs (like nursing)... that they focus to much on paper skills rather then clinical skills and some students feel lost when they get into the real world.
What are the clinicals like? Are you basically on your own or is it like a training process? last but not least.... what exactly are the robbins exams?
Sorry for all these questions! thank you very much for the help, I really appreciate it :) I just want to know exactly what I am getting myself into if I decide that this program is for me :) haha thank you!

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

78 months ago

When I interviewed for the program, it consisted of 5 separate interviews conducted by faculty members, one Pathologist, and two practicing PA's. They only interview 20 applicants and accept 8-10 per year, so they look at things like GPA, letters of recommendation, volunteer work, and job shadowing when making the decision. We had to write papers in the program, but I didn't think it was overwhelming. We did have to do a few presentations as well. However, I don't think this took away from our clinical skills as they were done in the first year of the program. Basically, the first year you do all your didactic work and in the second you do your clinicals and have scheduled exams based on Robbins Pathological Basis of Disease. Robbins could be looked at as pretty much the "Bible" for PA's in the second year. We also had scheduled lectures conducted by Pathologists and PA's to reinforce the material learned from Robbins and to teach gross pathology. You are not on your own during the training process; you are taught how to examine specimens and perform autopsies either by Pathologists or PA's. They are always there to provide you with guidance. The program is hard, but if you want it bad enough you will persevere.

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

77 months ago

Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan said: Please see my reply below. You can obtain more information on the profession by going to www.pathologistsassistants.org , or if you want to visit the Wayne State web page go to www.pathologistsassistants.org

Sorry, to visit the Wayne State web page go to www.mortsci.wayne.edu/apa.php. I inadvertantly gave the wrong hyperlink above.

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dianne in Brooklyn, New York

77 months ago

been in this field for ten years, the salary is good...but the burnout is also there....a pa changes jobs often .....or careers.....grossing or dissecting same types of specimens for years gets old

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Justin Wingert in Midland, Michigan

77 months ago

Hi, I am currently a senior at SVSU, and looking in to applying in the PA program at wayne state. I am looking for advice on job shadowing in the field. I would like to job shadow somewhere close to home instead of travling to detroit for that. Anyone have advice on contacting someone to job shadow in the tri city area.

Thanks

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Carole in Trenton, Michigan

77 months ago

Justin Wingert in Midland, Michigan said: Hi, I am currently a senior at SVSU, and looking in to applying in the PA program at wayne state. I am looking for advice on job shadowing in the field. I would like to job shadow somewhere close to home instead of travling to detroit for that. Anyone have advice on contacting someone to job shadow in the tri city area.

Thanks

Check out Hurley in Flint. They have one full time PA who was actually in the first graduating class from Wayne. His name is Randy Bittner and I'm sure he would be willing to talk with you. Not sure about shadowing possibilities because of Privacy laws in health care nowadays.
Back then(early 90's) there were the same number of applicants ( I heard it actually got up to 30 or 40 one year and that's part of the reason they started accepting more people)) for the program, but only five were chosen for the program in the first five years or so. Most were Mortuary Science majors as that was where it all got started. Dr. Williams was the reason it all started and she taught A & P at Mort Sci so those are the students she knew. Ultimately any hospital experience you can get is going to be helpful, especially in aiding your decision to choose this as your career...

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

77 months ago

Hello,

I think now they are getting even more applicants than 30-40. If my memory serves me correctly, there were 80 applicants to fill 9 slots in my class. With the recent explosion of interest in forensics, I have noticed a large increase in the number of students inquiring about the program or wanting to job shadow at my hospital.

Joseph Goff

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

76 months ago

Hello,

Sure, you are more than welcome to ask any questions you may have. Perhaps it would be better to ask them via this forum so that others with similar questions might benefit. Thanks.

Joseph Goff

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fairyrose huang in Winston Salem, North Carolina

76 months ago

Hi, Joseph,

Thank you very much for your response !

Well, I am not American. So, there are more requirements for me to enroll this program. The only program, which is relatively easier for me, is in Rosalind Franklin University in Chicago. Do you have any comment about that University? I am trying to find the rank of this university, but I can not. I am afraid this is not as good as others.

Since I am a foreigner,I am not familar with America. I am concerned lots of things, such as job market, salary,policy of loan? How many chances that I find the job if I did not graduate from top school?

And the people over they are friendly to the foreigners?

Thanks!

Huang

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

76 months ago

Hi,

There are only 8 universities in the U.S. that have accredited programs, so finding a job after graduating from any of these schools should be easy. According to the American Association of Pathologists' Assistants, entry-level salaries range from 60-90k depending on cost of living, workload, and setting. The pay tends to be higher in the southern/western states, and lower in states where they have a PA program. Due to the demand for Pathologists' Assistant nationwide, the pay should be relatively similar regardless of what school you attend and what level of degree they offer (Bachelor's vs. Master's).

As far as student loans are concerned, you would need to contact the financial aid office of the respective university to get more information regarding their policies.

As a graduate of Wayne State University and previous Site Instructor for the PA program, I would highly recommend it and suggest that you visit
their website at www.mortsci.wayne.edu/apa.php. Also, here's a link for Future Students at Wayne State that you might find valuable:
wayne.edu/future/index.php.

In response to your question regarding U.S. citizens being friendly toward foreigners - absolutely! We are a country with many diverse ethnic backgrounds and pride ourselves as being friendly and tolerant of others with varied backgrounds. In particular, Wayne State has the highest number of international students in Michigan with over 3,000 students and 700 scholars from over 100 countries. You will feel welcome here!

Regards,

Joseph Goff

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fairyrose huang in Winston Salem, North Carolina

76 months ago

HI Joseph,

Thanks!!

Actually I have already visited the individual website about the eight PA programs. It seems the PA program in Wayne State Univ. is very good. I am really interested in this University.
But maybe it is the only BS program,its pre-requisite courses are different from the others' (MS program). Please forgive my innocent, I don't even know what the courses mean, such as BIO 2200, BIO 2870,etc. Also, WSU requisites Accounting 3010, which the other Univ. never mentions. That means I have to take more pre-requisite courses.

And I did not find the requirement for the foreigner? Do I need extra English test?

The pre-requisite courses in the University that I mention in Chicago and requirement for the foreigner are simple or less. I may don't need take any courses since I finished them in college.

I appreciate your suggestion. I am going to read the Admission information in WSU carefully and I may contact the university?

Anyway,thank you very much for your kind help!!!

Huang

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Mary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

76 months ago

Does anyone know anything about the program at West Virginia University. They have completed the first part of their NAACLS accredidation process and feel confident that they will be fully accredited soon. Has anybody reading this worked in PA? I would like to know what the starting salaries are for P.A.'s right out of school in the Pittsburgh area.

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Meg in Georgia

76 months ago

There are not any schools in Georgia that offer PA programs. I was thinking about applying to the program at Duke University because it is the closest to my home. Does anyone know anything or have any suggestions about this school? Also, does anyone know of the job outlook/salary for a PA in south Georgia?

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Ashley in Harrison Township, Michigan

76 months ago

Im taking my pre courses at MCC I will be putting my application in for WSU PA program for next year and I did want to do some job shadowing and see if I can get some experience or stuff that will help me out, got any ideas?

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Mary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

76 months ago

Ashley in Harrison Township, Michigan said: Im taking my pre courses at MCC I will be putting my application in for WSU PA program for next year and I did want to do some job shadowing and see if I can get some experience or stuff that will help me out, got any ideas?

Ashley,
The best thing you can do is shadow a P.A. The program at Duke recommends this strongly before a person applies. This will show you what the job is really like, and whether or not it is a good fit for you. I just wish I had shadowed a Cytotech before I went through the program. I am sure now I never would have done it if I had known what the job was really like.

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PA Bob in Ann Arbor, Michigan

76 months ago

I just wanted to chime in. I have read the posts in this forum for around a year now but, just now signed up to add replies.

Joe Goff is the Man!

I like many of you were searching for many answers to questions I had about Pathology Assisting. Then one day I came across a posting from Joe and sent him an email. Fast forward to today and I am a few weeks out from starting the PA program at Wayne State class of 2010.

Joe has been great. I started job shadowing Joe around this time last year. He has been a tremendous help in guiding me to getting accepted into the program. If you live anywhere close to Joe contact him and go spend sometime with him. He is truly a special person with the patients and knowledge to help others learn about this great field.

Being that I have just went through the entire process if there are any questions you might have about gaining experience, applying to the program please feel free to also contact me.

If there is one thing I picked up from Joe is that if someone helps you out, the best thing you can do to repay them is to help someone else out who was once in your shoes.

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

76 months ago

Wow! Thanks for the kudos, Bob! I appreciate the kind words.

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Ashley in Harrison Township, Michigan

76 months ago

Joe I can see that you have really helped people out. Well I left a comment asking where I could do some job shadowing and I'm in Macomb MI as well if its not too much to ask maybe I could job shadow you or if you have any other PA's that you would suggest that I could possibly get in with to see the world of a PA that would be great please let me know. You can contact me at abelfore@yahoo.com or on this page doesn't matter!

Thanks Ashley

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

76 months ago

Sorry I missed your message before. I will e-mail you with my contact info. right away. Thanks.

Joseph Goff

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Surstarky in London, Kentucky

76 months ago

Im currently a Pathologist assistant, but not a certified one. I work 3 hours a day with the pathologist. I get the paperwork together and do the gross for small biopsies (ex: Gastric, polyps) The pathologist comes in and does the larger gross.

I was curious to know if there was any benefits later on for me if I continue doing this small part time job. I don't have a degree currently for my own financial situations, but i would enjoy going into this field of work.

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Krissy in Ambler, Pennsylvania

75 months ago

Hi all, I am a second year graduate student at Drexel University's Pathologist Assistant program. I am currently on rotations and will be graduating in May. If anyone would like to chat with me about the profession or program, I'd be more than happy to talk with you!!

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Kathleen in Fredericksburg, Virginia

75 months ago

Krissy in Ambler, Pennsylvania said: Hi all, I am a second year graduate student at Drexel University's Pathologist Assistant program. I am currently on rotations and will be graduating in May. If anyone would like to chat with me about the profession or program, I'd be more than happy to talk with you!!

Hi Krissy,
I would love to get more information from you. I am looking to apply soon for school next year. I live in VA and I am senior at Mary Washington. What kind of work did you have before you got into Drexel? Do you like it there? Anything you can share with me would be great!
Thanks,
Kathleen!

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Krissy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

75 months ago

Hi Kathleen! I worked in an emergency room for 6 years before getting into Drexel. I really like the program and the teachers are wonderful. They are always available and willing to work with the students. If you can, I'd recommend shadowing a PA for a day or two to get a sense of what it is they really do. You can do that by calling up your local hospital's Pathology department and asking if that would be a possibility. The first year of the program is didactic and the second year consists of all clinical rotations varying between autopsy and surgical pathology. I just finished a rotation at the medical examiner's office and loved it! If you have any more questions or want to chat, feel free to email me. Good luck!

Krissy

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Kelly in Allendale, Michigan

75 months ago

Krissy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said: Hi Kathleen! I worked in an emergency room for 6 years before getting into Drexel. I really like the program and the teachers are wonderful. They are always available and willing to work with the students. If you can, I'd recommend shadowing a PA for a day or two to get a sense of what it is they really do. You can do that by calling up your local hospital's Pathology department and asking if that would be a possibility. The first year of the program is didactic and the second year consists of all clinical rotations varying between autopsy and surgical pathology. I just finished a rotation at the medical examiner's office and loved it! If you have any more questions or want to chat, feel free to email me. Good luck!

Krissy

Hello Krissy!
I was wondering how difficult it is to actually get into the PA program at Drexel? What was the admission process like? Also how many people do they accept into the program? Thanks! :)

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Krissy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

75 months ago

After sending in your application, someone from Drexel will contact you to set up an interview with the program directors. Its really no different than interviewing for college admission. I think the most stressful part is waiting to hear back from them after the interview!!!
My class has 10 people in it which is very nice!!!
Good luck!

Krissy

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Paul in Lynbrook, New York

75 months ago

Well, I guess I lucked out for once. I'm a P.A. with a Bachelor's Degree from St. John's University (graduated in 2006). The only problem I'm having is achieving ASCP certification. Although the St. John's program is non-accredited by the NAACLS, it's a very intensive program.

The ASCP requirement for eligibility include a B.S. degree from an NAACLS accredited school within the last 5 years. I don't meet the accreditation requirement, but given my experience in the field, do I have a chance at appealing if I get denied??? I don't know if I should take that chance and risk $500 for licensing fees. OR should I wait until I pass the 5 years requirement and then apply??? I don't know how this will work.

As of right now, I'm in a VERY fortunate situation. I was hired by a hospital in New Jersey as a full-time P.A. They weren't looking for ASCP certification AND my salary is $72,300 a year, and that's not including overtime. Maybe I should just gain plenty of experience at this hospital and use my experience as an advantage? That just may bypass any future job requirements that specify ASCP certification. I plan on getting a job in NYC in 3 to 5 years.

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Ashley in Harrison Township, Michigan

75 months ago

Hey Joe I've been sending you e-mails just wondering if your getting them because I have not had any replies. Don't worry if your too busy just wondering about the job shadow still and if I can schedule a time with you. Let me know whenever you get a chance. Thanks

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

75 months ago

Hi,

Sorry, I just came back from Long Beach, CA tonight from the AAPA conference. Feel free to drop me an EM with a good day/time for you. Thanks.

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Bern in Oaklyn, New Jersey

75 months ago

Krissy in Ambler, Pennsylvania said: Hi all, I am a second year graduate student at Drexel University's Pathologist Assistant program. I am currently on rotations and will be graduating in May. If anyone would like to chat with me about the profession or program, I'd be more than happy to talk with you!!

Hi Krissy,
I am thinking about applying to Drexel's program. I currently work up the street (36th and Market) at Penn coordinating a psychiatry study. I need to make up the pre-reqs, would you recommend taking them at a 4 year school, or would a 2 year school suffice?
Thanks,
Bernadette

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Krissy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

75 months ago

Hi Bernadette!

I took some of the prerequisite courses such as Micro, Chemistry and Genetics at community college first and had them transferred over towards my college degree. I personally do not think it matters if you take them at a 4 year institution versus a 2 year institution, but you may want to call up the program directors and ask them what is preferred. Good luck!!!!

Krissy

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Kyle in Jacksonville, Florida

75 months ago

Hey Joe,

Where are you working these days? I remember you from the Open House in '04 or '05. I graduated from the program in '06. I believe you were working at Grace for a while, were you not? When I rotated through it was just Michelle so we were not able to work together, but just thought I'd say hi.

I wanted to comment on the conversion to an MS program at Wayne. I just spoke with Dr. Frade a few weeks ago and its looking like next year should be the first year of and MS program - if not almost for sure the next year. What are you hearing about getting those of us who are alumni the MS title? Last "rumor" I heard was we'd need to submit a master's thesis OR a paper which was published already. We'll have to wait and see.

I'm not working in the field anymore, but my education helped me to get into medical device sales so I can't complain. Anyhow just wanted to say hi and see how you're doing. Take care!

~Kyle

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

75 months ago

Hi Kyle,

Yes, I worked at the Detroit Medical Center's Sinai-Grace Hospital when I first graduated and now work for St. John Hospital & Medical Center. Definitely a lot closer since I commute from Macomb Township.

I'm not sure what upgrade path there will be for alumni to upgrade to the MS. I also have heard that we will need to do a directed-study or a Master's thesis, but I don't know if all the details have been worked out yet.

Hope all is going well in your new career. Just curious, why did you decide to get out of the field?

Joe

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Kyle in Jacksonville, Florida

75 months ago

Hi Joe,

I bet you are very happy you cut your commute seeing as how gas prices are killer these days!

After graduation I went out to Phoenix to work in medical research doing autopsies for a group that was interested in tissue banking and studying Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease. My reason for choosing this route was they agreed to allow me to continue my education - I was hoping to go to medical school. After seeing the major problems there had going at this place and seeing them lose half their staff I figured it was time to make a change.

The main problem for me was the way we were "used" during the program. Dr. Frade appointed me as being a "Class Representative" to act as a liason between the students and the staff. Basically during the 2nd year rotations we were finding that certain PAs on site were using us as workers rather than teaching us and working along with us. No names need to be mentioned, but there were times in which we were working on complex specimens with a load of specimens left to do, nearing the end of the day, and certain PAs were sitting around checking e-mail or talking to others while we were left to do EVERYTHING alone. Also the Robbin's lectures at that time were not always being delivered to us and I'm sorry but we were paying for someone to teach us the info not for someone to hand us a book tell us "learn everything". Sometimes lectures were never even given. I felt that area of the program needed the most work.

Anyhow after the program I was so burned out from being used in a clinical setting I wanted nothing to do with that PA setting ever again. I loved doing autopsies so the research job was great. I was hoping to do Forensics, but only had on call which was in Oklahoma City and I wasn't to thrilled to head there. Now Milli has left Wayne County and is over at U of M and I'm not sure they are filling her position - nor would I want to work there OR move back to Michigan.

~Kyle

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

75 months ago

Egads, sounds like you had a bad experience there! Sorry to hear that. When I was a Site Instructor at Sinai-Grace, I made it a point to work with the students at all times or have them observe me doing the work. I am not the type of person to just sit back and watch others do the work. However, I heard a few stories about the students getting stuck doing all the work while the Site Instructor was sitting on their butt playing on the computer or otherwise. This is totally unacceptable, and I certainly hope that you and everyone else who had these terrible experiences brought them to the attention of Dr. Frade. If not, it's never too late to drop him an e-mail with your comments/suggestions.

Joe

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Sara Schultz in Waterford, Michigan

74 months ago

Hi Joe,

First time I have been on this website, and it has been so helpful! I am a student applying for the PA program in April. Like everyone else, I am wondering if you could give me your information so I could shadow you? I could use any and all advice you have to give. Just drop me an email when you get a chance at saraschultz123@yahoo.com

Thanks!
Sara

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khalaf khalifeh in Cicero, Illinois

74 months ago

Kelly in Grand Haven, Michigan said: I have been looking into the pathologists assistant program wayne state offers. I am currently a junior at gvsu and will have a bachelors degree in health professions in the spring of 09. I was wondering if you know when they will be changing there pathologists program to a masters degree rather than a bachelors. Also what was the program like at wayne state? Was it extremely stressful?

Indiana university school of medicine offers an excellent PA master program. all they require is a bachelor degree in science biology, chemistry,......etc. and a GPA of at least 3.0 .it is a two-year program 90 credit hours and you will be a certified PA with a master degree at the same time.i am currently a biology student at chicago state university. i will graduate next year and will apply for that program. they might also require GRE exam or MCAT scores for admission.or might be optional i don't know!!

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Brian in Castro Valley, California

74 months ago

It seems there are so many more OJT PA's working than Licensed PA's. Do you really think there will be a day in the near future when OJT PA's will no longer be allowed to gross? I think it would devistate so many pathology labs. Especially ones like ours where we're grossing 230 to 270 cases a day with just 2.5 PA's. What are your thought?

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Joseph Goff in Macomb, Michigan

74 months ago

Hi,

I'm not sure about the numbers, but I would think there are actually more certified PA's that are able to gross all specimen types
than non-certified. Most of the labs that I know that hire OJT PA's (I'm assuming you are referring to OJT PA's that are NOT
certfied by the AAPA/ASCP, because that changes things entirely) have them doing smaller specimen types such as biopsies,
gallbladders, placentas, etc. Of course, some labs will allow non-certified OJT PA's to gross any specimen type provided they
have received the appropriate training, qualify under CLIA '88 guidelines for performing high-complexity testing, and have a
Pathologist willing to sign-off on their competency.

Personally, I don't think things will change until CLIA '88 is modified or individual state licensure sets forth requirements to
perform grossing. With the advent of national certification, this is certainly a possibility in the future. However, as things stand
now, labs/hospitals are not required to hire certified PA's and they probably won't do so until they are legally required. I suppose
what could happen is that it could be mandated that in order to perform the more complex cases you need to be a certified PA and
still allow the less complex cases to be grossed by non-certified individuals. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Joseph Goff

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Brian in Castro Valley, California

74 months ago

Hi,
Thanks much for the response. I guess we may be a rare breed here, cause we are CLIA '88 qualified and we do virtually all the gross dissection, under a pathologists position. We are just concerned, for our careers as well as our very busy pathology lab, that we would loose ability to gross. I've been grossing since the mid '80's and have been trained by our team of pathologists. It would be a real bummer to have my career derailed, and devistating to our Path Lab, especially at 270 cases a day. Could you venture a guess at when CLIA '88 or state licensure might be changed? Do you feel the folks at AAPA are pushing to see that happen? Thanks again for your response.

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