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  1. Hello all, I'm brand new to this forum. I graduated with a degree in biology and a gpa of 3.52, and was planning to go to medical school the whole way through, while also thinking a lot about PA school. I was ready to apply to med school while I was finishing college, but decided to take some time away from the academic environment to make sure I really wanted to do med school. After almost a year of soul-searching, researching and deliberation (in addition to the last 4 years), I have finally decided that PA is a more appropriate career path for me. I had a great mcat score (93%) and I had all of the volunteer and leadership experience to make me a competitive applicant for med school. Now that I'm looking at PA schools, I need to get my direct patient care hours, take anatomy and physiology (I didn't do the whole series since medical schools don't require it), possibly take statistics, and possibly take the GRE. I have 400 hours of MA experience (not certified). I know the doctor personally and worked there for 4 months, I learned a lot but it was a very disorganized clinic. I have about 200 hours working as an EMT-B. I'm wondering if I should keep working as an EMT for a year and apply for the 2021 cycle once I take anatomy and physiology at my community college. I've looked at a lot of threads on the internet and from what I've found, paramedic is the best prep for being a PA; things like, "they were a head and shoulders above the rest of their class," and "they were very experienced with patient assessments and had great clinical presence." I've also heard that it's unnecessary and a distraction if your end goal is PA. I want to be a paramedic and get real experience doing more advanced patient assessments, but it would push PA school at least 2 years back since I'd want to work for at least a year to make it worth it. Being an EMT entails a lot of driving and sitting around the station, and when I do get patient contacts, I'm not in charge unless it's a stable (BLS) patient. Should I take the time to become a paramedic and get really good experience or should I get as many EMT hours as possible in a year and then apply? Also, do schools look at how many hours I've worked or do they need to know how much time I spent doing patient care, versus driving and sitting around the station, and how do I record that? My other main question is whether I should take the GRE or just rely on my MCAT score and not apply to "GRE required" schools. I live in CA and would like to stay in California, or at least in the west (CA, OR, WA, CO, AZ, NV, NM). This might be a question for a separate thread. I know this is a lot, but it's pretty much everything on my mind right now, please feel free to only answer a portion of it if you want. Thanks so much for the help!
  2. I'll spare the forum my life story and cut right to the chase: Which patient care experience would allow an applicant to be more competitive: EMT-B or CNA/STNA? Or, does it not make a significant difference either way? I'm currently in the process of deciding which direction to go and am looking for some advice! CNA/STNA classes seem to be more affordable and easier to obtain, but most of the available positions are in LTAC facilities. Obtaining an EMT-B certification is more expensive, but it could lead toward higher acuity experience in a hospital setting. I'm having an open mind to either option but am curious if PA schools seem to value on certification over the other. (I'm not as concerned with salary of the position but rather what is going to make me the most competitive applicant). Thank you in advanced for insights and feedback!
  3. I am looking to submit by tonight and would appreciate the help. I would prefer if you are a PA, work at the pa school, admissions, or something of this sort but all help is definitely welcome. Please PM me if you can provide some assistance cMore
  4. Hi everyone. I am planning on applying for my second time this upcoming April 2019. This past cycle i decided to apply in June 2018 and didn’t get my apps in until late July. I just applied to two programs that i already qualified for. I think my main error last cycle was applying so late and to so few schools. I should’ve just waited until this cycle, but it is okay because now i am more prepared and have a bulkier application. If anyone could give me advice on areas to improve on that’d be great! Bachelors in Respiratory Care (2017) cGPA: 3.4 (Caspa 2018 calculation) sGpa:3.4 (Casap 2018 calculation) Since last cycle i have taken or i plan to have completed before this cycle: Bio 2(A),Chem 2(A), Genetics (A), Orgo I (TBD, estimating a B+ to be on the safe side), Stat (TBD, est A). This should bring my GPA up to at least a 3.5 - 3.6ish? 3,300 hrs PCE as a Registered Respiratory Therapist (full time current career) 100 hrs volunteer/HCE medical mission trip to Peru. 25 volunteer hours from various events in college 500 hrs leadership experience for running student run organization in college(dance team) 4 years of being on college dance team. 700 hrs non HCE work as nanny of 3 children including one autistic child 24 hrs PA shadowing (cardiac surgery, critical care/pulmonary, plastic surgery) GRE: scheduled for March 30 (have started studying, hoping for a 300) LOR: 1 PA I shadowed, 1 from my Respiratory Care Manager, and one from my Resporatory peogram director/professor(?). I can probably do another PA if that would look better, but I know some schools require a professor Any criticism would be helpful! My goal is to apply before May 15th this cycle to about 7 schools! Thanks in advance everyone!
  5. Hello! I graduated from MSU with a Human Biology Major in Winter 2015. It has been about 3 years since i have graduated. I studied the MCAT and took the test once and did not apply to any med school because of my MCAT score and GPA. i have a GPA 3.0 and not sure about my science gpa about 2.7-2.9 I just got married this summer and have been rethinking about med school and wanted to go to PA school instead It seems as competitive as med school but it is only 2 years of school. I don't have ANY direct paid health care experience only volunteering and haven't taken the GRE yet I am 25 years old and just need some help/guidance on the path. so my questions are: 1.) Should i go to graduate school for 2 years and get good grades to make up for my low GPA 2.) Should i just get as much PCE as i can? and then apply ? if so, which is better? CNA, MA, paramedic, EMT ? 3.) Lastly, should get certified to work as a CNA, MA, paramedic or EMT first, and then work while i go to grad school so i can get PCE and boost my GPA? i don't know where to start because I'm trying to find the most affordable and less time consuming way to be competitive to get into PA school Thank you
  6. Hi everyone, Wondering if any of you have any insight into the validity of being a Clinical Research Assistant. I started working at a diabetes research clinic this summer and was offered the chance to continue working there this school year. My question is, should I be looking for something more hands on for HCE later? I know it depends of the school and how you sell your job description. In general I help out with in-clinics that have human subjects. I can do intake, vitals, medial history, lab tests, non-venous boood draws, device insertion/removal, and I work closely with NPs and PAs. It might not be life or death, but I am in a position where I am responsible for looking out for adverse hypo/hyperglycemic reactions and other study-related risks. Any thoughts?
  7. I graduated with a bachelor's in bio and chem in 2012, then got a masters in chemistry in 2015 and went on to work as a clinical research coordinator for 2.5 years where I had direct contact with patients. I left my job this past June to look for other opportunities in which I can earn more money since I need to pay for a couple of pre-reqs classes I am missing, application expenses, living expenses I currently have, and school loans. Anyways, the job perspectives I currently have are not in the healthcare field so I wont have any patient contact. Would this be okay since I already have tons of PCE hours? I really need a better paying job so I can afford those pre-req classes. I am planning to apply on 2019 for 2020 entrance.
  8. Hi everybody, I am a current Pre-PA student and I have a couple of questions about online medical assistant courses. The course I am talking about in particular is U.S. Career Institute's Medical Assistant program. I came across this course and I was wondering if anybody has had any experience with this company, and if you have, how did you like it? This course is a lot cheaper than other courses in the area I live in (Bay Area), and seems like a good deal for the price. (My local CC is teaching a medical assistant course for over $2500 while this website charges about $1240 for the whole course plus textbooks) This program also has a 9.3 out of 10 star rating on Trustpilot, and everybody seems to be raving about it online. Another reason why I am interested in this program is because it has very flexible coursework which is great for my busy schedule. I would really appreciate it if somebody can advise me regarding this website, as I am still very new to the PA and medical world. Thank you in advance! ? Sameena
  9. I'm considering completing an online medical assisting certification course in order to start gaining more varied PCE as an MA. After reviewing posts here I found https://www.uscareerinstitute.edu/certificates/health-care-programs/medical-assistant which would essentially allow me to complete the certification course as quickly as time allows and prepare me for the CCMA exam. Does anyone have experience taking an online certification course to become an MA and have advice or input? I'm in California and have reviewed the state-specific requirements. I was also wondering whether anyone has been able to transfer their online course credits to count towards their cumulative GPA? My cGPA is on the lower end and this would be an amazing opportunity to improve it.
  10. Hi everyone! I am currently entering in my experiences on CASPA and I was wondering what to do about my shadowing hours. I have shadowed a physician at a hospital for about 60 hours now and certain days I would get to help with checking reflexes, eye or nose examinations and helping patients get adjusted in bed or before procedures. I was wondering if I would be able to count these as healthcare or patient care experiences even though they were done while shadowing a doctor? Should I split the time up between the two? Thanks so much!
  11. I just got a job at a big city hospital as a patient care assistant. I start full time on May 14th. I have my EMT cert but practically no experience working hands on with patients. I would love to hear any tips or advice for newbies in patient care! Also- I have about 2,600 hours of HCE from working as a Med Tech, and will just be starting to gain PCE. The plan is to apply to a few schools with late fall/winter deadlines this cycle, and then apply to more in the next cycle starting spring 2019. Does this sound reasonable? Stats: 3.9 GPA 153Q 160V GRE 40+ shadowing hours from 3 different PAs
  12. I'm looking for some feedback on the quality of my direct patient-care hours. I work as a phlebotomist/medical screener at a blood donation center. I check-in donors, take their vitals (temp, bp, pulse), do dermal punctures, and set them up at the plasmapheresis machine and monitor their well-being during the donation. I am worried that this kind of patient care ranks pretty low because I am not in a hospital setting and donors have to be inherently healthy for the procedure. Do you guys think this is good enough to apply next year or should I look for a different job? I will have plenty of volunteer hours in hospitals, shadowing, medical mission and a good GPA (3.8).
  13. I am volunteering at a hippotherapy/physical therapy place. Basically it serves as therapy for special needs kids/teens. A physical therapist gets them on a horse and works with them while they are riding. My role is to walk on the other side and physically hold the rider in place on the horse. I also assist with some hands on treatment such as moving arms/legs under the supervision of a PT. This is not a paid position but I did go through an extensive training. I know it can count as HCE, but it’s very hands on so I was thinking it could count as PCE. What do you think? Trying to get others opinions before emailing schools.
  14. I currently work as a front office assistant in an emergency care clinic. It sees all types of patients but mainly the economically disadvantaged and the elderly. Although I do not treat patients ( as far as injections, vitals, and diagnoses go), I do handle triage, admitting, insurance, medication dispensing, and discharging. Would this work count as HCE? Is there a preference of PCE over HCE? Would I do well as an applicant with over 500+ hours of clerical work? It’s difficult to find direct patient care work in my area without a certification. I do have an MA cert from NHA but no one will hire an MA without several years of experience. I also don’t feel like my program adequately prepared me for work as an MA as far as injections go.
  15. Hi everyone, I wanted to ask the opinions of current PA students or practicing PAs as to what I should do once I graduate in May. I am a senior in college applying to PA schools this cycles and I don't know what to do during the time between applying and potentially entering school. This time period would be anywhere from 6-18 months depending on which school I go to if I get in anywhere. My options are: Move back home with my parents (suburban Massachusetts) and try to work at the community hospital that I worked at last summer and save money until I (hopefully) start PA school. Stay in my college town (urban Pennsylvania) and work here where I already have a job offer at a dermatology office and other interviews lined up. Pros of choice 1: No rent/utilities which means I can save so much more money and pay off my undergrad loans ($17K) while trying to save up for PA school Work in the same environment I worked before Support of my parents during the application/interview process In the same state as some of the schools I am applying to (Tufts, Northeastern, MGH) Being close to the beach Cons of choice 1: Less job opportunities in general in my hometown Not guaranteed the same position I had last year (it was a summer position) Lack of social life Long distance relationship with my boyfriend of 3+ years Pros of choice 2: more job opportunities and higher paying roles (clinical research jobs at major hospitals and universities) Proximity to several PA schools I am applying to (Jefferson, Drexel, Arcadia, PCOM, Salus) Several friends in the area Connection to my university resources and events Close to my boyfriend Cons of choice 2: I would be responsible for my rent, utilities, car insurance, food, misc. purchases on top of trying to save money and pay off student loans Distance from family support I don't like the area as much I would really appreciate any insight anyone has on this issue. I know that each option has different benefits and challenges. Thank you for reading please ask about any information I might have forgotten to add!
  16. Hi guys. I just found this page and I'm hoping someone can give me some advice. I'm eager to start getting PCE but every position requires further schooling. Has anyone been able to obtain an entry level position that trained you on the job? I don't have any sort of personal connections with anyone in the health care field so I'm finding this portion of undergrad a little difficult. Should I just bite the bullet and register for more schooling to be a medical assistant or phlebotomist? Please Help.
  17. I just got hired on a medical assistant in the OR, and I've immediately noticed that I struggle with small talk like the rest of the staff seems to excel at. I've been so stressed keeping up with the pace of all of the tasks and skills I'm expected to learn in a short amount of time in order to function in the role they've assigned to me that I'm starting to become aware that I'm being very stand-offish during their conversations. Is this a big issue in healthcare? I'm more focused on what I need to do next for the patient or the physician that I can't process chit chatting while doing that. I've just started to become concerned about it and wanted to see what this forum thought.
  18. I am currently a stressed out pre-pa sophomore in college. I have just started acquiring hours these past few months and I should have about 50 by the end of the year. I know that's not a lot at all, but I am very busy with school. I am going to be taking 18 credit hours next spring and then more classes next summer. I've completed almost half of the pre-reqs for pa school and I have a 4.0 gpa so far. Will my grades make up for my lack of experience? I know that I have more time to work on getting hce/pce but I can only volunteer for a limited number of hours each week and the volunteer jobs count for hce but not for pce. I know that getting a job is the best way to acquire hours but I just don't have the time. I think I may have 500-700 hours by the time I start applying. Thankfully, the schools near me don't require experience, they say it's recommended. Have there been success stories of getting accepted into pa school with less than average hce/pce?
  19. I'm still trying to get my PCE at the moment, and all I can find within my state or the bordering states are ophthalmic tech positions. All of the medical assistant positions I've reached out to want experience and/or a certification. I'm still waiting to take my NREMT to be licensed as an EMT, but there aren't any hospital positions in my area hiring at the moment (being ER tech or patient care tech positions). However, there are tons of ophthalmic tech positions that require no experience or any sort of certifications that ARE hiring. I know this isn't ideal, as it seems EMT, ER tech/patient care tech, CNA, and medical assistant experience seem to be what's pushed on here the most as valuable PCE. But I'm starting to really worry about not having enough time to fit all the PCE I need in. So do you think an ophthalmic tech position would fill the requirement I need to apply to PA schools? There are tons of scribe positions too, but I know for a fact that will not be satisfactory PCE experience to my target schools.
  20. Hello everyone, I was hoping someone could shed some light on my situation. I am currently a paramedic, and have over 10,000 HCE. I was working as a firefighter recruit in the academy and unfortunately got injured twice. I was forced to resign and started working as a paramedic again. I love medicine and I have been working on my undergrad for the past 1.5 years. Currently a senior and all of my prereqs are finished (sgpa 3.7). I have an upward trend in my GPA, which was initially terrible (had bad GPA about 8 years ago when I was going through family issues and wasn't focused in school). I also am starting a pre pa club at my university, and will have a couple hundred hours of Volunteer work. My question is, If I apply to schools that allow me to apply pending my undergrad degree, how does CASPA calculate my GPA, considering I am not completely done and there are some missing credits which could potentially raise my cGPA. Thanks !!
  21. Right now I am working as a scribe but I can't afford to live in Dallas on scribe wages so I am getting ready to move home. I'm having a hard time finding a scribe job in my hometown.... I am trained as a MLT (Lab person) and this includes phlebotomy, which pays better than scribe but less contact with Drs and staff. I ran into a Dr. that I used to shadow who told me that her office needs an MA. Same thing, makes more than a scribe but it seems like they don't get the same type of experience out of the patient encounters as the scribes do.... Lastly, I was offered a job as a Clinical Allergy Specialist, which means that I would be performing allergy tests (skin tests) directly on the patients, interpreting the results and explaining them to the patients, and also lots of office work including dealing with insurance companies. This seems like the most well-rounded experience, but I'm afraid the schools won't know what it is, which means that I would have to rely on the right essay questions being asked where I could include information about that job. I don't want to waste a year doing something that's not gonna help me get in. Any thoughts?
  22. I have seen people regularly recommend CNA as a way to get PCE hours but on CASPA in the FAQ it is listed as HCE. Here is the link to that page--> https://portal.caspaonline.org/caspaHelpPages/frequently-asked-questions/additional-information/work-and-volunteer-experience/ just thought this needed to be put out there!
  23. I have ZERO patient contact hours... And after joining this forum and seeing most of the candidates, I’m having growing doubts about being competitive enough... My whole background is genetics; I only recently (last year during my rotation) realized that I wanted to be in direct-patient contact for work, but sadly everything I have ever done is in the laboratory, and it’s way too late for me to do any patient contact work since those beginner jobs can’t do anything for me beside “look good” I have been shadowing and was hoping my 200+ hours of PA shadowing would be a good alternative to my missing PCE (I plan on getting over 400-500 hours of shadowing). It really does suck to be in a position where I don’t have any credentials to get me into a patient contact job. I will take all critiques and advice! Undergrad Ed School: West Texas A&M University, BS in Biology MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), BS in Cytogenetic Technology Cumulative Undergrad. GPA: 3.41 Science Undergrad. GPA: 3.41 Post Bachelor GPA: 4.00 (Last 60+ hours) Age at application time : 23 1st GRE: 307 cumulative (150V, 157Q, 4.0A) Direct Patient Care (type & hours): None :( - Trust me, I tried to find a place to help volunteer or work, but I was pretty much put on hold and never called on everywhere I went - No excuses though, I hope my shadow experiences make up at least a little bit for this disappointment Non-Direct Health Care (type & hours): Cytogenetic Technology Oncology/Hematology Clinical Rotations at Vanderbilt University - ~600 hours Shadowing Experience (type & hours): Hematology (MD) - 25 hours Pediatrics ICU (MD) - 13 hours Interventional Radiology (PA-C) - 125 hours (and still shadowing) Certifications and Licenses: Licensed Cytogenetic Technologist by the American Society of Clinical Pathologist BLS Certified Research Activities: Pancreatic Cancer at MDACC (3 months) - Published abstract in Association of Genetic Technologist over a systematic review on the correlation between CNV and staging for PC Schools Applied: Oklahoma City University, Texas Tech University, UT-Southwestern, UT-Pan American, UT-Medical Branch, University of North Texas, and OU-Tulsa Letter of Recommendation: 1 from a PA-C that I am shadowing - Interventional Radiology in Amarillo, TX 1 from an MD - Education Coordinator of my CGT program at MDACC 1 from an MD, PhD - Program Director of my CGT program at MDACC Application Submitted Date: CASPA submitted May 31, 2016 I will keep updating this post as I find out about my interviews, acceptances, and denials
  24. So I noticed that there is an ED Tech position available at a rural hospital about an hour away from where I currently live. I've also noticed that it's a position they've been unable to fill for quite some time, as the job posting has consistently expired and been reposted for the last two months or more. I assume they don't have anyone willing to take it since it's a 7PM-7AM graveyard shift. However, this position would be perfect for someone like me with no certifications. My original plan was to do a summer long EMT program after this spring semester of classes is over and to work for a year as an ER/ED Tech in a hospital somewhere so I could gain useful experience on top of building relationships with doctors and possibly a PA that could write a letter of recommendation for me, as well as a source of shadowing hours. Even though I won't be done with classes for another two months, should I email or reach out to this rural hospital and express my interest in this position that seems to have been recycle and unfilled for several weeks now? I wouldn't be able to accept it until I'm done with classes in early May due to the distance and scheduling conflict. I just didn't know if it would be worth it to inquire if they'd be willing to wait and hire me in two months time. I'd be someone who would be there for two years so they'd be getting someone that would stick around for a while since it'll be until April 2018 until I apply, and even later until I hear back on an acceptance/rejection from the schools I apply to. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
  25. I have a unique set of circumstances since graduating undergrad and I was wondering if anyone could give some insight on them? I had the opportunity to work a wide variety of health care jobs. I've genuinely loved all of them and being able to adapt to new environments and I've gotten to learn so much from different settings/specialties. Most of all, I feel like they help me see the patient much more as a whole after seeing them in different clinical settings. However, I'm worried that since I've worked so many jobs, it hurts my chances of getting into a PA school? I have not been actively applying for these jobs, but opportunities came up while I was working (I'm fortunate that I have a lot of family friends in medicine) and I thought that, since I was in a gap year, why not take advantage of the chance to learn more about a different field in healthcare? Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at an Assisted Living Long Term Care Facility: 2 months (training hours) Patient Care Technician (PCT) on Orthopedic Floor: 3 months Medical Assistant (MA) for Family Medicine Clinic in Rural Area: 6 months Medical Assistant (MA) for OBGYN in suburban area: 6 months (current) Medical Scribe for Cardiac & Thoracic Surgeon: 3 months (current, part time) I've recently been offered a job as a MA/medical scribe for a nephrologist through a family friend. I'm excited about the opportunity because it's a new opportunity to learn a different field and to work in a different setting. I do really enjoy my current job, but to be honest, I've feel like I've hit the point where I've learned all that I could from my job. I'm just as dedicated to healthcare and the PA profession as I've ever been, however I'm worried. Since I've changed jobs so many times in the past two years, does it look bad from a professional standpoint? I'd appreciate any feedback!
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