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

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MattFl in Jacksonville, Florida

52 months ago

Maybe you can correct me if I am wrong.... If I were to take the two year AS program for PA in Miami Dade and get certified....Then they offer a bachelors specifically for PA ( I am guessing to help supplement the fact that most are at least bachelors level. And then lets say that I go on to get a masters in..Lets say healthcare management... Wouldn't these degrees be looked at the same way by potential employers as having completed a Masters program in PA? This way I could get into the workforce earlier (with the AS) and work on the grad and post grad at that point.

After all as you said, it's really the same program no matter what the awarded degree is, its just a matter of what level of education they want you to have when entering.

Maybe you can clarify some of these points. I currently have an A.A. and I am going to EMT school over the summer. If all goes well, my plan is to get a job with the ambulance service to get some experience and finish up some pre-req's in fall semester. Then I can apply in JAN to Miami Dades program which if accepted will start in May I believe. If I am not accepted I will try to go BSN or Bachelors of Health Care Management and then go for PA as a MAsters option as there are a lot more school options at that point.

What do you think?

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Michael -Surgery PA in Warren, Michigan

52 months ago

Just do a Master's PA program. Skip the other options. If you are young, you can do a 5 year option from high school to a Master's degreed PA. Several universities offer this option. Take the shortest path to this goal.

Remember that we are competing with nurse practitioners, another "mid-level" provider. They argue that they are better than PAs due to their programs being a Masters degree program. The Master's degree is becoming the standard. Don't start a step behind by not having one.

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Michael -Surgery PA in Warren, Michigan

52 months ago

Since you have an associate's degree, you are halfway to a bachelors. Take the pre-reqs and see what else you need to get a BS. Remember, your goal is to get to a Master's degree....

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Michael -Surgery PA in Warren, Michigan

52 months ago

Oh, by the way, the EMT program may count as college credit if you take it at a community college or a facility with a college affiliation. It will also be beneficial for getting patient contact experience, which is looked at by PA programs in their entry criteria. It will also help you decide if health care is really for you. Whether you work as an EMT or not, the clinical rotations for EMT will get you some exposure.

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MattFl in Jacksonville, Florida

52 months ago

I hear what your saying. I'm 31 now and after getting burned out on real estate I am going this route because this is kinda what i always wanted to do. I enjoy helping people and I think that doing so as a career option will give me a sense of worth that I just didn't get in real estate. The problem is that being an single adult with bills its really hard to go to school full time for the next 4 years without really having enough time to generate an income. The PA schools all say that its to rigorous of a program to work while attending.

Thats why I feel that it may be more feasable for me to do the As route. In this way I can live off of loans for two years while completely concentrating on the school. Then when I get certified and I can enter the work field, I will have decent income to pay towards loans and persue the higher level education.

My Emt school will count as college credit but really won't be transferable towards any bachelors programs.

I have been going to school halftime for the past year and I am a bit nervous about trying to go fulltime and still work. I want to make sure I do well and I fear that if I have too much going on that It will be hard to do anything particularly well. Especially since I will be going from a Community College to a University. I am sure it will be a more intensive workload than what I have experienced so far.

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Lady with an ASS in HIT in Miami, Florida

52 months ago

OK what is the fastest way I can get my PA, like I said before I already have an Associates in HIT should I go and take a bachelor in Biology concentrated in PA and than go for the Master in PA? Would that be the fastest way?

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Peds PA Mike in Burke, Virginia

52 months ago

I reiterate what Mike in Michigan has stated. PA is not a collection of classes and credits that you can accumulate anywhere. PAs must graduate from a specifically accredited PA program - essentially an academic-based trade school like medical school or law school.

I also reiterate that achieving a Masters should be expected. Almost 90% of new PA grads have a Masters degree, and will have the upper hand in employment. In addition, some employers require a Masters degree of all their clinical providers - PA, NP, PT, etc.

The "fastest" way to the ultimate goal may not include a PA program immediately. Get your Bachelor's and do well, particularly in prerequisite sciences. (You do not have to major in a science. Though a healthcare relevant subject like HIT, psychology or education may prove useful in the long run). Just do well in whatever you choose. Also, accumulate the required healthcare experience - overrated in my opinion, but still required.

Check out www.arc-pa.org for info on PA programs.

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Jennifer in Los Angeles, California

52 months ago

Hi, I'm Respiratory Therapist that is also thinking about becoming a PA, I currently have an Associate's degree and was thinking about getting my Bachelor's degree from University of Phoenix. Does it matter where you get your Bachelor's degree from when applying to a PA master's program? Thanks

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eaton0001 in Mount Dora, Florida

52 months ago

I have a BA in Political Science, a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology and I'm ABD in a Ph.D. program. I want a career change. I was an certified EMT in the 1986 and held a certification for about 5 years and had clinical experience as a first responder back then. I'm 44 and want to take the next year to obtain the science courses (pre-requisites) to gain admission in a PA program. Any older folks out there who went back to PA school. I'm currently a university administrator and want to go back to being a professional who works directly with patients. Any thoughts from current PA-Cs about how I may be discriminated against in the admission process for being "old" LOL -- I don't feel old but see the avg. age for entering students is 25 yrs. of age. I'm totally cool with being "older" since I currently work with university students of all ages. Thanks! :-)

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Michael in Oak Park, Michigan

52 months ago

-As always, in WARREN, MI (this thing seems to pick my location randomly, and won't let me correct it!)

I was 41 y/o when I quit work in EMS and returned to school full-time to enter the PA program. I had updated my pre-requisites in the few years preceding that. Though I was an older student, I was not the oldest in my program. One thing to keep in mind though was that I attended a "traditional" PA program, one that looked for people with prior health care experience. Many of the newer programs out there seem to be looking for the same candidates as medical schools: bio-chem majors straight from undergrad. The students at our state conference from these schools come to the President's Banquet at our state conference looking like they are fresh from the senior prom -unlike us "oldsters."

I have been a PA since August 1998 and am satisfied with my career choice. I have a Master of Science and amdoing well, working in surgery. Best of luck in your endeavors!

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Peds PA Mike in Annandale, Virginia

52 months ago

eaton0001

I don't think your age and experience will be a problem at all, actually considered more of an asset by most programs. Schools, especially those receiving grants or other outside support to produce PAs, do consider if the graduate will be able to sufficiently return the investment back. Given that PA programs move out students in only two years (as vs 7-8 to get an MD), under age 50 is not considered a problem.

Even in clinical rotations, your age and experience will be a benefit over your younger fellow students. A difficulty I have observed several times was when a 40-50 year old PA student had to report to a 30 year old chief resident. It was the PA student that had the challenge with figuring out being supervised by that "kid." I never saw this become a real problem, but it was entertaining. Also, once a PA, most of your supervising physicians will be younger than you. This can be a problem with those PAs whose first focus is self-autonomy. This is not a problem for those PAs who are patient-focused and value working as a team. Physician supervision is not an over-your-shoulder nag. Rather it is making the poor physician to handle the risk management and utilization management reponsibilities and headaches that are much less fun.

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eaton0001 in Mount Dora, Florida

52 months ago

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. The age difference wouldn't be an ego issue for me at all. I would be comfortable taking direction and learning from a physician who is younger - not an issue for me. The patients come first and my role as a team member, in my view, is to support the team in the capacity I've been trained to serve it. At the end of the day the supervising physician is ultimately responsible and I understand that. I might appropriately ask questions to better understand a treatment decision but get that they are the supervisor. Do you think my understanding is on track? Thanks again for your reply.

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fedup tech

51 months ago

I am interested in the Anesthesiologist Assistant program. I knwo that onyl about 18 states recognize AAs. I want to know if anyone here is an AA and if any PAs (espeically AAs) have had a difficult time finding employment after graduation/certification.
Thank you.

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PA Student in Ossining, New York

50 months ago

tracy in Melbourne Beach, Florida said: 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!

Yes....though not in Fla. I am currently in my first year at Mercy College in Bronx, NY. They offer a dual degree program...as long as you meet the requirements, have done your pre-req's, have a min. of 90 credits, you may achieve your BS while working toward the MS which is awarded in the program.

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Stevenax in White Plains, New York

50 months ago

Hey, I am going into my senior year and I wanted to study Pa. I wanted to know what classes I should take and how the whole program works. I am REALLY confused. =(

E-mail me at: Junior0612@msn.com

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katieimeankaty in Honesdale, Pennsylvania

50 months ago

I am interested in entering one of the few PA programs left in the country that offer a B.S. After completing my B.S. in the PA program I desire to get continue on with a Masters in Epidemiology. Will I be able to be a practicing PA while in graduate school? Will it be harder for me to get hired because I only have a PA? Will it be easier to get hired as a PA after I receive my Master's, or would it be most advantageous to just get a Master's PA?
Are there any labor statistics that can shed light on any other PA's in my situation?
Help!!!

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PedsPAMike in Burke, Virginia

50 months ago

kaiteimeankaty (Kate?)
There are no real labor statistics that can help you, and we lack employment application data from new PA grads. I am also not sure of your current academic status.
General facts: Most applicants to PA schools offering only a B.S. already have a BA/BS. The B.S. programs are just as competitive for applicants. You can get a job with only the B.S. and the PA-C. The Masters PA programs are typically the better established programs, with the wide variety of clinical training opportunities that can give those grads a leg up. A small, but growing, number of PA employers require a Master's degree.

The degree issue may be less of a problem than planning on immediately(?)continuing with a Masters in Epidemiology while working as a PA. Yes, many PAs complete Masters programs while working, though they are typically settled into a particular job during that time. What are the time requirements for the Masters in Epidemiology? The class schedules for a Masters in Epidemiology may restrict your job options as a new PA. The more flexibility in your work availability as a new grad, the more job opportunities. I completed an MBA while working 12 and 24 hour hospital shifts with regular weekends. But, I would have had much more difficulty completing the program if I had been working a 5-day a week clinic job.

There are several PA programs with the combined PA and MPH, and run about 3 years of school. But, you finish with all of your training goals. Have you given those a thought?

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katieimeankaty in Honesdale, Pennsylvania

50 months ago

Right now I am halfway through my BS in Biology and I'm planning on switching to PA program next year (having most of the pre-reqs completed because of my major). I do want to go straight into a Master's program after completeing my BS, but from what I think you're saying- I'll have a hard time being able to find a job that accomodates me grad school schedule? Is there a minimum amount of clinical hours a PA must have per year to keep their license? Could I work that minimum amount per week in grad school?

No I have not researched PA and MPH programs, but that definitely sounds like a good possibility. Do you recommend any programs?

Thank you for your help, much appreciated,
kate

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PedsPAMike in Burke, Virginia

50 months ago

Competency of a PA to be a fully functioning, autonomous (within the team) healthcare provider takes about 2-3 years of practice after completing PA school and getting certified. This is true of PAs as well as for other healthcare professionals. Healthcare is a trade, and takes time doing it to gain the necessary skills. First year in practice - hope you don't kill someone. 2nd year - hope you do the right thing most of the time. 3rd year - finally getting confident in your skills. 4th year and on becoming a team leader and resource for others.

How is this relevant? For someone to graduate from PA school and go to work immediately in a part-time role is very rare and difficult. Very few employers are willing to take on a part-time PA (<32 hrs per week) with less than 2 years of experience. Many are willing to take on new grads to full-time positions, knowing that these new PAs will be working regularly, in supervised positions, and be gaining experience. Also, any new grad (PA, MD, RN) is inefficient, not justifying the greater per hour employment expense (additional costs beyond your pay) for a part-time person.

PAs entering the clinical workforce for the first time should expect to work at least 35-42 hours a week for the first 2-3 years. Many PAs work part-time / per diem. But, this typically comes after the first 2-3 years and becoming a fully capable PA.

It is possible to find full-time PA jobs with gaps in the schedule that permit part-time grad school. A large number of jobs offer 10-12 hours shifts working only ~3 days a week. But, remember, PAs are most often exempt employees. If something is still going on or you haven't finished your scheduled patients, you stay until done.

Summary working as a new PA should be considered full-time. That must be balanced with the class and studying expectations of any grad school program. I would not suggest anything more than 9 credit hours - in person or online - while working as a new PA.

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PedsPAMike in Burke, Virginia

50 months ago

Different issue - combining education and training as a PA with MS in Epidemiology. I feel there is much overlap and very little added value of adding the two. An epidemiology degree will not help (in terms of pay or career opportunities) a PA much other than in a research setting. Then, in that research or public health setting, the PA will not offer the epidemiologist much in terms of qualifications.

You are far too early in your career preparation to make choices with an assumption of balancing both. You run a significant chance of limiting both options. Just because you like something as a undergrad does not mean it is an appropriate or valuable match at the grad level. Graduate school is career training and development. You need to complete one step and see where that takes you. Academia and undergrad offer very little picture of what is really out there.

I assumed I would be working in genetics and clinical research. PA was an interesting way to get the required graduate degree. Since the PA, I have not gone back to clinical research other than as part of my job. I have followed the PA to health IT and performance improvement (neither of which has a specific undergrad track nor tenure track faculty).

I think your best option will be to always pick what you like best and give it your all. Do not close off options. But, do not intentionally limit yourself by hedging your options.

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katieimeankaty in Honesdale, Pennsylvania

50 months ago

THANK YOU FOR THE SOUND ADVICE!

I just have one more question. Do you think completing just a BS in a PA program is unwise? Will it greatly decrease job oppurtunities post-grad?

Again, thank you for the much appreciated advice.
Katy

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PedsPAMike in Burke, Virginia

50 months ago

Common and complicated question.

The greatest determiner for PA job opportunities is you - your PA competencies, your skills and your personality.

A Master's degree for PAs has been recommended as the standard since 1999. About 90% of PA grads come out with a Masters. The few programs with BS remain such due to 1) insitutional restrictions on the PA program and/or 2) lack of faculty commitment to obtaining the requesite qualifications for themselves and the programs to be a grad program. The resulting lack of insitutional and/or faculty commitment means the few BS programs are variable in the quality of education. It can be good, it can be bad. You really need to do your homework on the program and the success of its recent matriculants and grads.

Whether a Masters makes you a better PA is another questions and is not relevant as the larger marketplace is determining the standard. Only a few employers require a Masters, though those are mostly hospitals and large systems. Most PAs do not have a Masters, are great PAs, and are highly sought after for employment. Some areas of the country with a long history of PAs and PA programs (e.g. Pennsylvania, NY) have a lower percentage of PAs with grad degrees. The lack of a Masters is not as important. However, there is some feeling that those areas are saturated with PAs in some markets / specialties. If you move into areas with greater PA demand (e.g. southeast and midwest) the percentage of PAs with a Masters doubles. Also realize that in many situations you are also competing with NPs, whose MSN may be the only thing attractive to an employer.

Lack of a Masters upon graduation in a few years will not put you at a significant disadvantage if you have good healthcare aptitudes and good training. You should expect to get a Masters in a healthcare-related field eventually. There are many that can be value-added to provide a long and interesting career as a PA.

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PA in training in Brooklyn, New York

49 months ago

I am currently a student at CUNY Brooklyn College and finishing the last of the prereqs and am wondering how good is the York program. Is it as competitive?

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Julie in Ramat Gan, Israel

49 months ago

Hello. I am 30 and I have Bsc in Kinesiology(Pre-PT) and a Bsc in Environmental Sciences. After I graduated I worked for 3.5 years in an environmental lab. I thought about grad school, but wasn't quite sure so I never did it. After the lab job I moved to Israel where I have been living for the last 4 years. I never found a fulfilling career in Israel, and have been researching a lot about PA School. I am now really interested. I love health and am great working with people. I think this could be a great fit for me. I am worried because it has been so longsince I graduated and I haven't worked in health care. My grades were good in college, around a 3.4 from a good school. I may be missing a few of the pre-reqs and the truth is a may want to retake some anyways as a refresher. Also, I couldn't move back to the US for at least a year because my husband is finishing a degree here in Israel. I consider myself motivated, smart, and a good student, but am worried about making this work. I have several questions.
1. I graduated from my University in 2003, I am worried that this was too long ago and that in some programs my pre-reqs won't count and in others it will lower my chances of acceptance. Do you think this will be a problem?
2. I have no health care experience. I was thinking about doing a CNA since it's a short program and then working in that while brushing up my pre-reqs. Is this a good option?
All of this won't even start for another year, so it's only getting pushed further and further. Is this a realistic goal for me. I do plan to study for and take the GRE now, since I can study with a book and there is a GRE testing location in Israel.
Please let me know if you think that i can make this work given my age and the amount of time since I graduated.
Thank you so much for your advice.

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Ghost in Miami, Florida

49 months ago

Hi Julie,

I am going to be 40 this year; I already have a bachelor in managent with no health care experience. I had to re-take several pre-reqs for the PA program. Trust me, I have two more classes to take before I can start. I say, go find what your pre-reqs are and proceed with your goal. Don't let 30 years of age fool you. In fact I know several people on their 50's going for the PA program. Good Luck!

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Julie in Tel Aviv, Israel

49 months ago

Hi Ghost. Thanks for the response and for the vote of confidence. I guess one of my main concerns with having been so long since I was in school is the pre-reqs. I took most of them in my undergrad years, but I worry that it has been to long and they will no longer be good.

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Ghost

49 months ago

Julie,

I have Been there an I know how this feels to be on that position. After 7 years, I had to re-take all my science courses for the PA program. You may need to check with the institution that you are planning to do the program to see what courses that you may need or repeat.

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jimmy in Houston, Texas

49 months ago

What is the benefit of having a MBA with a Physician Assistant degree?
Is it worth it to get an MBA after having a MS, PA-C?
there is a combined MBA/MHA (health administration) degree program that I was looking in to (3 years-77 hours)

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PedsPAMike in Burke, Virginia

49 months ago

There is some of overlap in the MBAs and MHAs. In my opinion, MHA and MPA are almost identical other than the industry of focus. I am not sure of the benefit of having both as both are seen as sufficient for administrative roles.

My MBA advisor use to say, "MHA teaches you about the ship, MBA teaches you how to steer the ship." MHA focuses almost solely within healthcare. Much of the content is in the managerial ares - managerial analysis, controls, and organizational leadership. MBA has more substance in accounting, operations, finance, and marketing.

The key to the differences is only when the MBA is not a health care-focused MBA. A general, traditional MBA program, with students from a variety of industries will offer content from outside of healthcare. Leading healthcare improvement experts generally agree that the tools we need to improve healthcare will come from outside health care. These include six sigma, LEAN, project management, highly reliable organizations, simulation, new inventory and scheduling strategies, customer-centric organizations, etc. Many people in health care insist that business strategies from other industries cannot apply to health care. Some approaches and stratagies need modification. But, you would be surprised (or maybe not) how many tools from other industries can be easily and effectively applied to health care.

I think the key for you is the specific content of the programs, and not necessarily the degree names. Good luck.

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shan.aubrey in Saint Petersburg, Florida

48 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!

Hi Owen - I'm in a very similar situation. Do you mind me asking what you are getting your bachelors in? Thanks!!

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Peds PA Mike in Springfield, Virginia

48 months ago

I can say that my wife, the NP, says she would have gone the PA route if she had known about it. I think at the time (early 90's)she was evaluating her options for a graduate program in healthcare, physician assistant did not come up as the very first Masters PA classes were being announced.

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PA IN TRAINING in New York, New York

48 months ago

IM MAJORING IN JOURNALISM AND WILL GRADUATE WITH A BA. THEN I WAS THINKING ABOUT GETTING MY BS IN PA OR SHOULD I JUST GO STRAIGHT INTO A MS PROGRAM? WOULD IT BE HARDER TO DO FOR THE SIMPLE FACT MY MAJOR ISNT A SCIENCE

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Desiring PA in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

48 months ago

Hello, I'm currently a student at a small community college in Florida. I'll be graduating with my associate's degree in May and plan on transferring to a larger university afterwards to get my bachelors. I would like to know what I should look into majoring, and whether or not I have to graduate with my bachelors, work two years in a health field, and then apply to a PA or program? I'm so confused on the process and any help would be greatly appreciated. If anyone could give me a to do list after I receive my associates, I would forever be thankful.

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Resident in Cleveland, Ohio

48 months ago

Hi,

Can you comment on how much PA school rankings matter when ultimately applying to jobs? I understand that GPA and PANCE score, as well as connections, matter much more than the particular rank of the PA program. Thank you!

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Nick412 in Evanston, Illinois

48 months ago

So glad I found this forum, all the comments that I have read through have been very helpful. I've been a phlebotomist and specimen processor in an inpatient/outpatient hospital in Chicago area for 3 years now. I'm sick of the laboratory and want to get into more patient care. The patient care/interaction is what I like most about my job. I've started to look into the PA career. But I have a question for anyone willing to answer:

I've looked at the PA schools I want to eventually apply to (Northwestern, Rush, and Rosalind Franklin) and read up on what their pre-reqs are. Despite never having graduated with a bachelors or associates degree I have about 70-80 semester credit hours across various subjects because I was a classic indecisive college student before I got my phleb certification to get exposed to healthcare. I've got credit in subjects like History, Sociology, Political Science, Math, and Science. I only need to take a few more science classes to get all the pre-reqs for the PA programs I plan to apply to (I promise I am getting to my question very soon). Unfortunately even though I will have the pre-reqs completed I won't have a Bachelor's degree. I've been researching Biology Bachelors degrees at schools near me and all the extra classes needed for a Biology degree will tack on at least one but more likely two years of school for me. I thought getting a Biology degree would be better when applying to PA school but I don't want to spend another 2 1/2 years (including the remaining pre-reqs) in school just for a Biology degree that I only plan to use to get into PA school. So here is my question, does it really matter what type of Bachelors degree you have when applying to PA school as long as you have the clinical experience, pre-reqs, and good GPA/pre-req grades? I would much rather earn a BA in something with a minor in science because it would take me a year less than a traditional science degree. Does the type of Bachelors degree not really matter?

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Charles Berry in Revere, Massachusetts

47 months ago

To Mike in Springfield, VA Peds PA. You seem to have many similar interests as I do and, in addition, I am interested in a career as pediatrics as well. Currently, I am a PEDS RN with a little more than 6 months of experience in acute care peds and med surg peds. I have my BSN RN. My GPA is approximately a 3.0 but when recalulating for retaken classes I have approximately a 2.8 with approx. a 3.1 or so in my sciences. I have pass rate, failure rate, and a master's degree are all important in choosing a program but what other criteria are important? Are school rankings important? What are my chances of getting into a program and if they are not good, what do I have to do to be accepted into one of these programs? Is subscribing to the Physician's Assists Association website valuable for someone looking into schools? Also, for my CASPA, do you suggest my references be from nursing, advanced practice nursing, PAs, or MDs or a mix? Thank you for your time. My e-mail is murse1987@gmail.com if it is needed. Thank you, again.

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PA Prospect in Flushing, New York

45 months ago

I have an engineering degree but considering going back to school for a PA Degree. I have most of the math/chemistry prerequisites covered. On a scale of 1 to 10 or in comparison to an Engineering undergraduate degree, How hard is it to obtain a PA degree.? Is it easy to find job once you complete your degree? What is the average starting salary?

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Lauren in Arlington, Virginia

44 months ago

Peds PA Mike,

I am in the healthcare IT consulting industry and have made the decision that I want to go to PA school. I have had a lot of trouble finding PAs to shadow (outside general practice and ER). Do you have any recommendations? I already know their role in ER medicine but I wanted to explore other possibilities!

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PedsPAMike in Burke, Virginia

44 months ago

A source for contacts for shadowing of PAs can be the state PA organization, or local networking component. VAAPA is divided into regions. The NoVa region can be reached at northernvapa@yahoo.com. Most PAs in NoVa work outside the typical ED and general practice, so there may be many options that meet your interests and schedule.

A difficulty in shadowing PAs in specialty and hospital practice are the regulations of the hospital or other institution. It may be very challenging to get permission to have a uncredentialed, non-formal student shadow them. You may want to use you HIT role "to view and better understand the clinical care processes in the setting."

The PA role in ED is actually more complicated than many think. PAs in the ED may function as core ED providers, work only in the fast track, be part of the trauma team, and other roles. An increasing number of PAs work as "scribes," something I personally believe does not utilize the PA appropriately and is an unsatisfying role.

Good luck.

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chrj in Elmont, New York

44 months ago

Peds PA Mike,

I'm currently an undergrad junior looking for PA schools to apply to in the upcoming fall. My I have no work experience right now but I am a NYS certified EMT and will start volunteering/working by the month's end. I wanted to know if you think I have a good chance getting into a decent PA school, assuming a good GPA and the other pre-requisites. Also, I read your previous posts recommending that PA schools be chosen based on the PANCE results and their clinical rotations. But how do I go about evaluating whether a particular programs clinical rotation is good or not.

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Peds PA Mike in Alexandria, Virginia

44 months ago

To evaluate clinical rotations: You will need to contact the individual program to see if they will share their list of clinical rotation sites. Most will. Clinical rotations are physicians and PAs at outpatient practices and hospitals who have an agreement with the program to accept one or more PA students throughout the year. The core rotations all students must take are some variation of internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, ObGyn, surgery and emergency medicine. Ask about rotation sites relevant to your interests. If you are interested in orthopedics - do they have elective opportunities with ortho, surgery rotations with large hospitals. If you are interested in cardiology, do they have rotations with exposure to both inpatient and outpatient cardiology. Look for a mix of inpatient and outpatient sites. What are options for electives? How many rotations will you be expected to find yourself? A common weakness is often ObGyn - is there a specific Ob/Gyn site? Weak programs try to pass off time in Fam Med and ED as meeting the ObGyn requirement.

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Alice in Spring, Texas

44 months ago

I am considering PACE University in NYC... does anyone have direct knowledge of the school, attended this school's PA programs, knowledge of school's of courses, reputation to obtain employment after graduation?

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Kimmy T in New York, New York

43 months ago

Hey I am currently at touro College in Bayshore L I and work as a PCA at Beth Israel hospital in nyc. Touro is very expensive and I am just starting out and doing my undergrad and pre reqs for their PA program which is 5 years and u get a BA of Science and a MA in PA should i stay? cause it takes 90 credits to enter their program opposed to york college which is closer cheaper and you need 73 credits to enter their program???

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Vicki in Helena, Montana

43 months ago

Hi, my daughter is thinking of transfering into a PA program....did you get a bachelors degree or masters from York? I have having a hard time finding a program with a BA that qualifies you to take the PANCE.

Thanks so much!

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BP716 in Panama City, Florida

42 months ago

Hello all,

I am a 2009 FSU Graduate with a B.S. in Psychology/Criminology...I am currently working in the mental health field, in a non-profit mental health center. Although my job is not bad, I am looking forward to a more career oriented Master's degree than something in Social Work, Psych, etc...and a bigger paycheck too. My wife is a R.N. and works with many PA's. I live in North Florida still and am looking to take my pre-reqs at our local college and then move on to either USA, NOVA SouthEastern or was even looking at Miami-Dade. Now that I have read this forum, I do not think I will be spending any time looking for a program that isn't Master's level. I have about a year and a half of clinical (hopefully) experience but would like any PA to chim in whenever they can about what truly counts as clinical experience. I do research for the NIMH on schizophrenia which has many complicated roles (such as taking BPs, following medication algorithms, etc.) and I am also working as a case manager, despite me not having a single client on my caseload, but do more hospital discharge follow ups and Tx Plans than I do any "case mgmt". I do work with clients/organizations/institutions to find them a good continuity of care throughout our entire community. Sorry for being long winded but I am sooooo excited that I have found something that gets me into a patient oriented career while still making good money and not being tied to my life as a MD. I am only 25 (not even yet actually) and am willing to make sacrifices to find the best program for myself and my wife. We are planning on her being a traveling RN while I am in PA school, if at all possible after I finish the Pre-Reqs. Any info that anyone can give me would be great, I have been researching this career (heavily) for about 6 months now and find the Cost/Benefit of this career to be one of the best available. Let me know what you PA's think about my chances please!!! Thnx!
PS-Email me bpage716@gmail.com

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Pre-PA in Hawaii

42 months ago

What factors are most important in deciding which PA school to attend:

* Rank

* Location (ie, where you would like to live after school)

* Cost

* Rotations

or any other factors?

I'd really appreciate your opinions and comments!

Thanks, Lily

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dg in Miami, Florida

42 months ago

Yes

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mc in El Paso, Texas

42 months ago

My concern is that I have been accepted into what i believe to be a good school into a Masters PA program but now I literatly have no money to pay for school my credit is not all that great because of course I have unpaid medical bills due to no health insurance and because the way the program is set up I can not apply tot he grad plus loans program until the last year which is when i do my rotations. Can any one offer advice as to where i may find money for school. I have my undergrad degree and and I am about to get my first masters in research, thus, i have been living off financial aid. some one please help. I don not want to give up my seat.
thanks

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IreneK in Bedford, Massachusetts

42 months ago

Hello,

This question is for practicing PAs on this forum - many have been so helpful, especially "Peds Mike in Annandale, Virginia", thanks to all so very much.

My name is Irene and we live in Bedford, MA. My daughter Nicole is currently a high school senior who has been accepted to several PA programs, as well as a few in Nursing. She is pretty sure that she would love to pursue a career as a PA, and everything we have researched has been encouraging. She is a little concerned about a couple of things. First, the difficulty of getting through the PA school, especially if she is going into a combined BS/MS program straight from HS. She is considering King's College, Springfield, and Daemen. But the drop-out rates are really scary, even in pre-professional phase, and even though she is a strong math and science student, we know it's very intense. If you are willing to work very hard, of course, is it still doable even for a 20 year old? How many hours of homework/self-study is expected per week?
Or is she better off getting a BS in nursing first, and then applying for PA MS? Will having Nursing for BS be more helpful than in general sciences with pre-reqs? Plus, we found it's much more difficult/risky to get accepted with an existing BS into an MS program than straight from HS into a combined program.

Second, how hard is it to have to take the time out of your life to study for the PANRE every 6 years, once you already have a full time job and a family? We know the passing rate is 90%, but what does it take - a one week prep course alone, or months of study on top of that? Are we talking 100, 200, 300 hrs or more? Seems pretty intense to have to retake an exam on everything you learned in school years after graduation, especially if you work in ortho or some other speciality, and the exam is mostly on primary care.
Any advice you could provide would be much appreciated. Nicole has to make her final decision within the next week.

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Peds Mike in Burke, Virginia

42 months ago

Irene:

I generally do not like PA programs that take people from high school. This is a marketing/business benefit for the school and not for the student. It is not until college that many people find their strengths/weaknesses, likes/dislikes, etc. Though these are 5-6 year programs, the PA "part" does not really start until year 4. Any attrition prior to that is more due to student preferences, not having any real science aptitude, etc. The numbers are too little too soon, but I would posit that the grads of these straight from high school programs will have a higher rate of job dissatisfaction and career change within the first 5-6 years after graduation. This would be similar to career satisfaction and change rates found in nursing and many other fields. The historically very high career satisfaction rates for PAs are from PAs who mostly came to the profession as students in their late 20's up to 40. At this age, the person better knew what they wanted, knew their strengths/weaknesses, and found a career that fit them. My suggestion is to pick the school based solely on the undergrad experience and education. If it flows into a PA or other graduate program, then that is an extra benefit. If it does not, then you will no be disappointed.

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