Jump to content

Counseling grad student looking for some PA guidance

Recommended Posts

Greetings to all,


I want to start off and say I am happy I found this place. There is a lot of fantastic information and hopefully someone here can point me in the right direction. 


I am in school for my masters in rehabilitation counseling. I am at the tail end toward my internship. I work primarily with people who have severe mental illness (schizophrenia, schizoaffective, psychotic disorders) at a community based mental health center. I work in the vocational department currently. I do vocational assessments, counseling, case management type of work. I aspire to advance into a career as a PA down the line. I have found that the client contact I am experiencing has made me hungrier for a career in medicine. I am especially interested in working with people with physical disabilities. 


My undergraduate degree was in communication studies and I was not a great student then (7 years ago). I did not take many science courses. I was a slacker and turned it around and finished my degree.


I have gotten my academics in order and am currently pulling a 4.0 in all of my graduate studies. After completing my MS degree next year, I plan on enrolling into a university for a year to pull all As in required science courses. I will also be studying for the GRE.  I want to gain as much experience possible to get HCE hours but was wondering if my services (assessment, interpretation, counseling, job placement) would count as HCE. Does this count as health care experience? 


Are there any suggestions anyone could give me? I know I will not be applying for over another year, but I want to be as prepared as possible for it when the time comes. What other type of HCE can I obtain with a degree in counseling?


My next steps are:

1. Complete my MS Degree

2. Enroll at a university to retake my science courses. My study habits have taken a 180 and I am extremely confident I will pull As.

3. Study for the GRE


Any guidance is greatly appreciated.





Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a bad plan! There are, by the way, PAs working in psychiatry (one of my old buddies does in Colorado) and that might prove to be a match.


You should also consider doing some shadowing and getting another form of HCE as well to round yourself out.


Good luck!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like a good plan. I think some schools would accept that as HCE no problem. I would do that and supplement it with an on the side job as CNA or EMT , or volunteer some solid hours at the hospital, and find a PA to shadow. I have seen much less than that accepted as HCE at my school which is considered a competitive program. So a big thing for you will be getting a good science GPA.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you both for the replies. I really appreciate it. I am thrilled to begin my hands on HCE. 


Today I spoke with the director of an EMT-B program and she was thrilled by me wanting to go back and pursue a degree in medicine. I told her about my experience in mental health and she said it would absolutely assist me in a career as a PA. Part of my degree was to learn the medical and psychosocial aspects of disability. We had to learn about all of the systems of the body, disorders, diseases, illnesses, etc., and how they affect daily living. Along with having great counseling skills, she said I would be a competitive applicant because of 1. Coming from a communication background, going into counseling, then going back to become an EMT-B and take science courses. She said it shows real commitment to the profession. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you will do fine. Just remember to get good grades in all classes from here on. That should be your number one priority. The road to PA will have it's bumps but stay focused and you will be okay. I was a CNA at a large psych unit and it has definitely come in helpful now that I'm on rotations. Keep us updated and good luck to ya.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

I am coming from a very similar background, without the master's degree though. Debating between a year of pre-reqs and an EMT-B cert vs. going BSN and then PA over the course of several years. 


As far as whether schools will count that as HCE obviously I am far from the point where I will be applying, probably even farther off than yourself, however I have definitely looked through the stats of some of the accepted students on this forum and I know that I have seen Case Manager's accepted so if schools take that I think Counseling and Community-Based Rehab/PSR would definitely count. And I know I have met/read of a number of Counselor's and Psychologists who have become PA's so I think you would be fine with a couple years experience in those fields.Now whether that will adequately prepare us for a career as a PA I am not sure- if I am gonna invest a 100,000$ in PA School I want to make sure I am 100% prepared. 


Best of luck!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More