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scott079

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  1. scott079

    Career Change at 30

    I am currently a volunteer EMT-B for a 911 dispatched ambulance. We are the primary EMS provider for a city of 50k. Since you asked, here are a few notes: -I volunteer with 3-4 former/current dispatcher, they all really enjoy being an EMT. -I make my own schedule and as a volunteer enjoy a fair bit of autonomy. -I would never be an EMT for a none 911 dispatched service, never. -I would highly encourage becoming a volunteer in as big of city as possible, the things you see are crazy. -In NJ, many volunteer places pay for your EMT course.
  2. scott079

    Career Change at 30

    Since you were a dispatcher I would highly recommend being an EMT. I am very confident you will get that public service feeling back right away. Additionally, it will help you narrow your thoughts on the types of patients you do/do not want to work with. Becoming an EMT was a great choice for me, even when I leave EMS I will be so happy I have all the stories.
  3. scott079

    PA vs. PT

    Debt to income ratio is awful. Never meet a PT that did not enjoy their job but there is no way higher ed can justify a 2-1 debt to income ratio. The damage to your ability to buy a house, have a kid, go on vaca is massive. running a practice makes you a business owner, manager and provider, please be sure you want to be all three. Its a great field that helps people but I just don't understand why it requires a graduate degree.
  4. scott079

    PA vs AA

    I think a few other people here have noted the need to shadow and keep your options open. Three years from now a lot will probably change by the time you finish on the undergrad work. Furthermore, while you are getting your healthcare experience you will learn about what types of patients and what types of people you do and do not want to work with. This insight typically does not come from being in a classroom or from shadowing. Shadowing is an incredible tool to give you an idea if something feels right and if it peaks your interest. If you shadow a variety of different roles you be able to compare and contrast them and see what you like and don't like. Don't get me wrong there are plenty of boring or mediocre jobs out there, and there is an ocean of people who would be happy to do them if they paid 200K. Happiness is extremely relative.
  5. scott079

    PA vs AA

    You asked how I switched? I just finished the PA pre-reqs except microbio, now all I need to do is take org chem, physics and calc. There are more pre-reqs to AA than PA if you plan to apply to the bulk of the programs. I just liked anesthesia better than the PA first assist work I saw and the money was better. I already have my HCE, research, letters of rec, etc. You asked what the catch is, no lateral mobility, your in anesthesia probably for good. Also, if there becomes a surplus of providers then yes the AA will be tougher. You asked about boredom. I spoke with a married couple who are both AA's in Ohio, she was bored, he wasn't and they both said its what you make of it. He worked more with trauma surgeries. what LT_Oneal described sounds identical to what I saw. You can see the surgery but most of the CRNA's preferred to sit down and do their work/ shop on their phone. I did not find anesthesia boring, I really enjoyed what I saw and heard. I have called 6 AA schools and asked all of them what the job market was like. All have said the current job market is strong and all programs post 100% employment upon graduation. This matched up with the response from the AA's I have spoken with. When I first considered AA was like 8 years ago and I backed off because I saw all the "doomsday" predictions, not only did they never come to pass, but more states opened up and more schools opened. I suggest shadowing, alot. You will get a much better idea when you spend a couple shifts with a CRNA or AA. If your close to one of the programs I suggest calling and they might help you shadow, case western offered that for me. Its crazy, PA schools are so competitive you have to beg for 10 minutes of guidance. AA schools were more than happy to help an applicant.
  6. scott079

    PA vs AA

    Hello Cemetra, I thought I would share with you my story/ basic knowledge as I switched from pursuing PA school to AA school. I shadowed PA's in outpatient oncology clinic, EM, trauma, in-patient oncology, and about 4 different surgery specialties. I have spoken with PA's in about 3 other areas at length. Then I went on a medical mission and spent a ton of time with an anesthesia provider. I returned and shadowed a couple CRNA's and drove to Vermont to shadow an AA. I will echo that what I saw the AA do seemed virtually identical to what I saw the chief CRNA do at a huge hospital, both working in the ACT model. Both providers were extremely happy with the job. Both are what I would consider very hands on jobs with some downtime (like being a pilot). The AA was semi-retired at 55 and spending plenty of time with his kids. I could go on about what I saw in terms of the work, just let me know? What I found very interesting was how the CRNA's responded to my interest in the AA job. They all said how much more autonomy they have compared to the AA's. Then I asked while sitting in the OR shadowing "isn't this an ACT model your working in right now? Didn't the anesthesiologist just come in for induction and will be back at emergence?" Their response was "yes but if the MDA is busy I can do those things without them, or they said they can work in a rural place solo and make a lot more money". I brought that up because I spoke with CRNA's who when asked about solo work they noted how scary it can be to have no backup, others are up for that challenge and the solo money is sick (300k). It really depends on you. I choose this route because I really like the OR, the one to one patient ratio, the applied physiology, and I felt an AA has more autonomy in the OR than many surgery PA's, just my opinion. Also, I want to get Paid and AA's make good money and I see alot of offers with 6 or more weeks vaca and 1.5x hours over 40. Best of luck with your choice.
  7. scott079

    Going for it.

    Seriously think you'll do great, I wish you all the best on your adventure. It seems like you are ready for the next part of your life.
  8. scott079

    Student loan repayment

    Hello, I paid off 100k in loans already and I can say that there are numerous ways to approach it. Employer loan repayment, military reserve, 10 years of nonprofit work, higher salaried positions, 2nd job, lowering lifestyle choices, etc. Basically it all boils down to the same question, what are you most comfortable with? You want the fastest solution- work 60-70 hours per week and reduce spending to the basics for two years. Even its not 100% paid off you, you'll address the feeling of burden. Also, you might learn something about your self along he way.
  9. Hello, I have been a part time Emt for about a year, currently doing my pre-reqs and could use some guidance in terms of PA specialty. I'm 34. So far I have done about 80 hours of shadowing. Outpatient Oncology (clinic), In patient Oncology Gyn, Robotic surgery, Reconstructive plastics surgery, ER Fast track, Cardiothoracic surgery, plus conversations with at least 3 other types of PA. What I like about being an EMT is the variety, the autonomy, the patient interaction and the ability to help at least one person a shift who really needs it. Dislike the crack heads, non-compliant/combative people, and psych patients- I view all three as hard to treat, its just draining to be honest. I can honestly see why police are emotionally shot, dealing with this all day or night. But when I treat a trauma victim or acutely ill person stuck at home or an incredibly kind senior I feel happy. Full disclosure I have never been happy at work, hence the career change. Of the fields I shadowed, I liked the variety of the ER fast track. The PA ran that room and helped some nice people who were just having a bad day- Kinda like an EMT. Also saw some not so pleasant pysch patients. The reconstructive plastics PA's did quite a bit in the OR (breast reconstruction), they also said they did clinic. I feel like they see alot of different cases in oncology. The Gyn PA at the hospital had nearly complete autonomy managing his patients and took good care of them, but I think I might get bored just managing patients after surgery but before discharge. The cardiothoracic PA did a double Bypass, holy cow was that impressive what she could do. I really enjoyed the autonomy she had in the OR and in the CVICU. I really disliked the outpatient clinic, basically the PA just did H/P, then the doc came in and made all the choices, then the PA would finish the note on the visit and call patients. Sorry but it felt like she was an admin aide and I am done with that work. So the question is- what specialty would you suggest to a talkative extrovert who enjoys procedures and dislikes micromanagement? I just know I would detest doing the paperwork only to have an MD come in and do the procedure and make all the patient care decisions. Open to suggestions, questions, and appreciative of advice.
  10. Hi, I am a pre-PA student with a big interest in CT surg, so please don't consider me as an expert or my opinion as knowledge. I spoke with a recruiter after shadowing a CT surg PA, this recruiter specializes in CT PA jobs. He attended the last conference for apacvs. He claimed that at the conference he was told there are only 800 "proficient" EVH PA's in the country. His words, not mine. If this is true, your learning a valuable skill set, so maybe this is a starter job. Either way, best of luck with your first job, I am sure its an exciting time for you.
  11. Hello, First and foremost I think at your age (young) and with a family what your trying to do is very admirable. I am taking my pre-reqs now and am also interested in the reserves (Not AD, too much). But I recall reading on the guard's website that 41 is the cutoff but you might be eligible for a waiver on that. They pay 75k for three years. And they talk about combining a national guard service with VA careers. Just saying if tuition is the threat maybe this is an option? Either way I wish you all the best.
  12. scott079

    Looking for a career advice

    I feel like I have some things in common with you so I will take a stab at this. From a money perspective, it appears that right now you could secure a safe and predictable future. Assuming the tutoring and gradual increases to 92k, you could be looking at 112kish topping out for the 2nd half of your career (working 52 hours a week, 40+12). As a PA, income could vary alot as could hours, very dependent on your choices. I will allow you to speculate on those debt/income ratios, retirement calculations, and amounts of time off. I will ask two quick questions and then finish with a short and similar story. 1- Have you shadowed a variety of PA's, if yes how did you FEEL about the work and the patients being served? 2- How do you FEEL when you are at work now and when you come home? The top two ranked items in job satisfaction are the quality of the relationships with your co-workers and the respect/gratitude of the people you serve. Money and prestige rank around 7 and 8. (how to find fulfilling work by roman krznaric) During my journey I spoke with a former chemistry teacher who became an Ortho PA. Like you neither loved nor hated work, it was blah. Like you was only a few years in when he made the switch. When we spoke he was 1 year out of PA school, recently married to an NP and has a baby boy. He is leaving Ortho because the hand specialist surgeon was micromanaging him, plus his wife got a good offer in Florida. Does he have debt, yes alot, does he work more hours than he would like currently, yes. BUT, he said he loves his job on the days when the doc is gone (he never loved teaching), he is excited to try out peds or another specialty, and as a PA he can just "go to Florida" whereas as a teacher that would be a massive issue. Overall he is happy and when asked said he does not regret his choice at all.
  13. I am curious if the decrease in CABG surgeries over the years will have an impact of PA's either in or going into this field? I put a link to an article discussing the decline below. Anyone have an opinion on the direction of this field and the PA's working in it? Just curios as its the specialty I have alot of interest going into. https://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb171-Operating-Room-Procedure-Trends.pdf
  14. Hello Everyone, Thank you for the insights on the salary. South- I am extremely grateful, your description covered a hell of alot and I liked nearly all of it. More of what I was hoping to hear, I think I am heading in the right direction.
  15. Hello, I have been looking into CT surg and spoken with a two PA's who work in that field, briefly shadowed one in the CICU. Currently trying to do more shadowing/ research opportunity in structural heart disease program. I am leaning in the direction that this is the specialty I think I want to pursue. 55-60 hours per week is totally fine, find cardiology interesting, the EVH seems like a really incredible procedure, and overall interested. I am old enough to know that I might change my mind, and that I need to pursue the area I connect with the most, so take the next part with a grain of salt. I looked online, on Indeed.com, I am seeing CT surg full time jobs starting at 140k going to 200k. Various parts of the country. I also heard that the CT surg chief PA at the hospital I shadowed made over 200k, closer to 250 (heard, not confirmed). Is this for real? I feel like there is a catch or I am missing something? Can anyone share their thoughts or experiences. thank you and I apologize in advance if I come across as money blinded. Also not sure if this topic belongs here, I hope it can help others in their job search.
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