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  1. Hello everyone, I'm new to the forums here and have found them helpful, thank you all. I've done quite a bit of research on being a PA (course work, specialties, applying, shadowing, etc), however, I haven't had luck finding many posts on the experiences of people who were over 40 years old and decided to go back to school to become a PA. Can those in this situation please share their experiences and challenges in PA school and afterwards in a job as a PA, please? I would like to hear about your experience overall and any specifics or thoughts you'd like to share that you think are important - if you've become a PA after 40 would you do it again, why or why not? If you want more context here's my situation: I’m 41 years old and am very seriously considering a career as a PA. My reasons being I love to work with and help people and truly enjoy medicine, health and science. I was previously in IT and then I became an elementary and middle school teacher, because I really love working with people and children. I then worked as a nutrition consultant for about 5 years (not a registered dietician or nutritionist). I have a BS in Education (double major in math/science, and cumulative of GPA 3.95). I want to pursue more with my life in a career that provides more opportunities while doing something I really enjoy but while avoiding high levels of stress, pressure and excessive work. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to work hard and keep busy, but I don't want to be stressed out all the time like you see with so many doctors and nurses. Also, I don’t have any big commitments (not married, no house payment, etc), so I’d be free to focus on school and relocate if necessary, so that's a big plus. Some things I'm wondering about: 1. Stress...Are stress levels high for PA's? I can't seem to get a consensus on this and yes, I know it depends on your specialty and who you work with. I don’t typically like high pressure/stress situations. I’m naturally more of a methodical, step-by-step, structure-liking, analytical, detail oriented creature. Fast paced/stressful situations tend to cause a fair amount of anxiety for me and although I can deal with this, I still feel stressed from it and no that's not a good long term plan for health. For example, I wouldn't want to be an EMT or paramedic,but have the up most respect for those who do that work. 2. Perfectionism…While I’ve done very well in school (GPA=3.95) i admit that I’m a perfectionist. So, I take longer to do things (get caught up in the details) and I don’t manage my time as well as I'd like, though I try REALLY hard! Given the rigor and demands of PA school, I’m guessing this will make PA school VERY hard. I’m trying to be realistic here because I know personality traits don't change much, yet you can learn to manage things better to a degree. Thoughts? Is the PA profession a good choice for someone like this? 3. Settling into work....I’m guessing it would take me 2 to 3 years to “settle” into my new career as a PA (meaning extra time and work those years) after I graduated from PA school. Is that a far assessment? 4. Real world PA....What would you say are the best 3 ways to get a “big, fat dose of reality” in terms of experiencing what it is REALLY LIKE to work as a PA? I’ve shadowed different PA’s, doctors, NP’s and PT’s, but have not held an official health care job, such as a C.N.A., EMT-B, etc. Watching a PA is clearly not the same as being one with all the responsibility, stress, demands, etc. I've been told becoming an EMT-B is probably the best way to get a feel for what it's like being a PA. Is that accurate? Thank you so much in advance for any help/advice you can provide!
  2. Hello everyone - I'm posting on here for the first time in hopes of getting advice from anyone about my pre-PA situation. I'll try to be brief: I was your traditional pre-med in undergrad, bio major, always jumping back and forth between going for PA or applying to med school. My first 2 years of undergrad were, irresponsible, and I paid for it with my gpa. Senior year I decided on going the MD/DO route and a mentor encouraged me to apply for a special master's program (aka postbac) to boost up my chances of admission. Didn't take the MCAT (wasn't needed) and got into a postbac. During 1st year of postbac, we were thrown into the fire taking the EXACT SAME courses as the first year med students. I was in over my head and did not do well due to some anxiety issues. The school allowed to take the spring semester off to return the following year to re-do and hopefully finish the program. 2nd year, didn't do so hot either but was able to pass 7 out of 9 med school classes. If you don't pass 2 or more classes you get dismissed from the program - I decided to withdraw before finding out if that would be my fate. After a few years of therapy from the depression of thinking my dreams were over and taking up a job in an entirely new field, I now find myself re-energized and wanting to make this happen. The more I've research the PA route, the more I realize how in line it is with what I now value. I truly miss being in healthcare and PA would allow me to also have a life outside of that. I'm almost 30 now and have taken A&P 1 and 2 at a local CC just to get my feet wet but wondering what my chances are of getting into PA school? A few details: 3.36 non-science cumulative gpa (undergrad) 3.33 science gpa (undergrad) 2.49 cumulative/science gpa (graduate postbac) HCE - 6 months FT work as PT aide, and numerous public health experiences that may or may not count towards hours as well. GRE - 152 verbal, 148 math, 4.0; willing to retake this as I studied very little to get into postbac. To give you some background on me, first in my family to graduate college so I've faced many hurdles to get where I am today. Not expecting any free passes from this, just thought it was worth mentioning as I'm a pretty resilient person. HIT ME with your thoughts, looking for cold hard truths here. Also should mention that I briefly entertained going the accelerated BSN and later NP route, currently have an acceptance to an accelerated BSN which I could start this spring but in truth, not interested in the nursing model.
  3. Hi all, I did a search on this forum, but I am seeking advice specific to my situation, so apologies if you have already answered some similar questions. I am truly non-traditional in that I have taken zero pre-reqs. I currently work in finance (26yrs old - have been working in finance for 4yrs) and am looking to make the switch to pre-PA and (try) to get into a PA program. I am thinking about quitting my finance job soon to go full force into my pre-PA endeavors. The big question is - when should I quit, and if I quit now, what are my chances of getting in the next cycle? If I quit in September I think the chances would be slim to get in the next cycle... (but I think there's a small chance!) I would take: Gen Bio and Gen Chem in Fall 2017 Gen Bio 2, Gen Chem 2, Phys and Anat 1 in Spring 2018 Phys and Anat II and BioChem or Microbiology in Summer 2018 and then mark "In Progress" for the other class and perhaps one other class in Fall 2018 (i.e. Genetics or Org Chem.. I've already taken Psych 101 and AP Calc/Statistics in college) I would get a certification as either EKG tech or CNA in the fall as well and hope to begin working per diem in the winter ASAP - I could maybe gain 500+ paid HCE hours My undergrad GPA was a 3.8 and I'm generally a good student so think I could keep my GPA up there. The other option would be to completely opt out of trying to get in the next cycle and quit late December and start taking classes in Spring 2018. My current finance job pays well so I would try and save up as much as possible. I know this is probably the smarter option but I'm pretty over my current job and so excited about getting on the pre-PA track! Does anyone think I would have a chance of getting in the next cycle if I quit my current finance job in September? Thank you so much!
  4. Hi everybody! So, I have been on the road to PA school for the past 7(!) years. I honestly didn't think it would take this long but life gets in the way sometimes. I am applying to programs this spring and I've turned out to be quite the non-traditional applicant, as I'll detail below: -Massage therapist for the past 11 years, mostly working independently for more money but also in chiropractic and acupuncture offices as I do now -Life science major at community college (mostly just knowing out PA pre-reqs, before the state of CA decides to get rid of all PA certificate programs at CC's). Did pretty well there. -Transferred and got a BS in anthropology (GPA: 3.7), since I already had my pre-reqs done and just needed a bachelors, I decided to study something I felt would make me more well-rounded in my understanding of people (and boy did it ever!) without having to risk possibly not getting accepted right away due to impacted life science majors at my college -Clinical care volunteer at a large hospital since May '16 -Quit a slave-like scribe job after 5 weeks in the ER to accept a job as a behavioral therapist doing applied behavioral analysis (ABA) with autistic kids. I wanted to be more "hands on", work with staff who bother to know my name, and a huge boost in pay didn't hut either. I had applied for physical therapy aide jobs as well but many of them seem to want people who are on the road to PT and have an exercise background, despite often wanting PT aides to do some massage therapy. Maybe I'm just getting cold feet but I worry that my background will be too off the beaten path. I'd like to hear of any success stories from those who had non-traditional backgrounds yet still got accepted into PA progams, if there are any. Thanks in advance!
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