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About brooks23

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    Physician Assistant

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  1. Agree with the "two schools of thought," comment. Ultimately, you should pick the school that is the best fit for you. You don't want to have regrets down the road when you aren't meshing well with your cohort, policies, and/or faculty. Of course you can argue that you should just save money and go to the cheaper school. This does carry some weight because once you graduate, as long as you have the PA-C, few will ever care what program you attended in terms of job seeking. Still, you want to be happy where you study. School is stressful enough in an ideal educational setting. You don't want to make any additional sacrifices that are unnecessary. Just my two cents. Good luck.
  2. EMT work is very good experience for PA school. I worked as an EMT and then went on to become a paramedic prior to PA school. Paramedic is of course better experience, but EMT is also very helpful. I think EMS work is among the best preparatory experience that one can obtain before PA school. Direct patient care, critical thinking, treatment plan development/execution, and learning valuable life-saving skills will translate well to PA school. I would avoid medical tattooist. I'm not familiar with that line of work, so I can't speak much to it, but I'm not convinced that admission committees would accept it is direct patient contact hours. Maybe they would. Surgical tech is also a good way to go. Great experience in the OR and exposure to good medical conditions. My personal opinion is that EMS is the best way to go though. I'm not sure what you mean by specialty in treating burns. EMTs/Paramedics don't specialize. They see anything/everything and need to be well versed in all aspects of prehospital emergency medicine.
  3. Chemistry would be a fine undergraduate degree for any specialty as a PA-C. There aren't any BS degrees that cater towards dermatology (to my knowledge). Also, the title of your thread is what caught my eye. Understand that if you become a PA in dermatology, you are NOT a dermatologist assistant. You are a PA specializing in dermatology. This is the same with any specialty. Just something to keep in mind for future reference. Let me know if you have other questions. Good luck!
  4. If you're willing to relocate to "less desirable" areas, your odds will go way up. I've seen several postings (I think one in Idaho recently) that have stated they're willing to train. Have you tried networking with the place you rotated at? If they're not hiring, they might be willing to give you the names of some other surrounding offices that might be interested. One thing to be careful of: If you do get a job offer, run through it over and over again. I've seen a lot of instances where a new candidate is taken advantage of. My first derm offer (right out of school) involved a physician offering a low ball salary, no benefits, and no bonus for 1.5 years. His rationale was that I would be training with one of the best dermatologists in the world and that that was more than fair for the offer. No thanks. Just be cautious.
  5. A long time ago I shadowed a gentleman who graduated at 72. He was a pharmacist by trade and followed his dream to practice medicine. Don't let your age deter you from following your passions! Good luck!
  6. https://www.aapa.org/news-central/2015/09/the-blessing-and-burden-of-flexibility-a-guide-in-choosing-your-specialty-as-a-new-graduate/ This is a short article that a friend and colleague wrote for AAPA regarding your question. I agree with the advice you've been given above. If you truly feel like derm is where your passion is, pursue it. It's extremely competitive to break into (I'm in derm as well), and a good opportunity might be tough to come by in the future. I grew up in a big city and have lived all over the country since then and can now say that I prefer a more rural setting. You might find that you get the best of both worlds if you live within a reasonable distance to a more metropolitan area.
  7. The research I've done on this was a long time ago, so please, others, correct me if I'm wrong. I seem to remember that before you can even take the exam, you have to qualify by having a certain number of clinical hours in that specialty (among other requirements).
  8. I'll echo what pretty much everyone else here has said. In the moment, it's awful, and seems like it will never end. When you get out and start practicing, you'll look back and think, "Three semesters of didactic year was NOTHING in the grand scheme of time." I loved and hated didactic year for so many reasons. Take advantage of your friendships, faculty, and resources for unwinding. Keep your eye on the end goal and you'll do great. Soon, you'll be a practicing PA-C. Hang in there.
  9. As long as you'll have all of the prereqs completed by the time of matriculation (or sooner depending on some schools' requirements, then yes, you have a chance.
  10. Grades look good. Just beef up your HCE to set you apart and make you a better student and PA down the road, but otherwise, your grades and variety of experience are pretty good.
  11. My advice would be to avoid going straight into derm right out of school. That aside, finding a derm job as a new grad in California would be extremely difficult. Pretty much all the jobs I've seen have required prior experience (1-2 years). Not saying impossible, just difficult. The numbers you've read about DO have merit, but mind you, every practice is different. This includes pay structures. I am base salary + % of net collections. Best of luck.
  12. I can only speak for myself here, but I did not pursue PSLF, and am trying to aggressively pay off debt as best I can. I had a similar amount of debt as you, as well as a wife and 2 children. On a single income, we are aiming to have loans paid off in 5-7 years (currently on a 10 year loan repayment plan). My personal opinion is that banking on the loan forgiveness after 10 years is a huge gamble and one that might cause a lot of heartache and grief down the road. I prefer to do things in a manner where I have control over my finances. Becoming debt free as quickly as possible is my goal. While sure, it's difficult to buy that big nice house or newer cars, living frugally (yet still comfortably) has been very achievable for my family.
  13. This topic has been covered numerous times on this forum. Do a little search and I'm sure you'll find what you're looking for. Best of luck!
  14. I'm about 2 years into my career as a PA, and I have no regrets. Of course, there are downsides to our profession, but every profession has those. I work in a place where I am respected, my opinion is respected, and I have almost complete autonomy with access to SP whenever I need it. I also received lots of pressure to pursue med school, but declined for a number of reasons. The one that tipped the scale was that I wanted the freedom to switch specialties. My personality is such that if I know I am stuck in something, I automatically hate it. You could argue that docs can switch specialties (FP practicing EM, or internists practicing dermatology), but we have freedom to move laterally in any direction. That freedom was extremely appealing to me when deciding my career path. The debt is a pain, but if you're wise with your decision making, money, and job selection, you can knock it out pretty quickly.
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