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Hey Guys and Girls, 

 

I am sure most of you current undergraduates have heard of some of the better PA programs around the nation. Many of you are going to produce competitive PA school applications in the process of hunting for schools. This question is more geared towards people who have been in PA school and experienced life on the other side of PA schooling. That being said, I think the answer is beneficial to most of us undergrads. 

 

We know about programs like Duke, Pacific, Emory, etc. Their qualifications are strict and their prestige is evident. However, on the chance that admission to these schools is at all plausible, is it worth going? Several factors go into that decision which are solely on an individual basis. But controlling for those individual variables, I want to know the career VALUE of attending a more well-known and intensive PA program vs. attending a PA school that is less renowned. Is the job market going to be any better for a PA who attended Duke for their graduate schooling vs. a PA who attended a city-based PA school? 

 

I can think of a big reason not to go to a grand PA school and that would be tuition. Is saving 10,000 a year worth attending a small, unknown PA school that had a breezy admissions process? Or that your qualifications far exceed? 

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Hey Guys and Girls,

...

Is saving 10,000 a year worth attending a small, unknown PA school that had a breezy admissions process? Or that your qualifications far exceed?

Um, I feel that you are ill informed. Let me disabuse you of the idea that any accredited PA school has "a breezy admissions process". Also, these "small, unknown" cost just as much sometimes. Apply and find out if "your qualifications far exceed" them and then you can decide where to go.

 

As stated many times here; the license to practice as a PA is the ultimate goal; it takes the cake. The rest is just icing on top...

 

 

Sent from the Satellite of Love using Tapatalk

 

 

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You really need to do some research on this topic.  There is only one accrediting agency for PA's schools (ARC-PA) and they set one standard for PA curriculums.  The "general" education you get at the "top" schools is the same at the lesser known.  The real difference is the faculty and the clinical sites.  Some are better than others, but the topics are the same.  More importantly, we ALL take the same certification exam. 

 

As far as admissions go, you are way off.  There are ZERO "easy" admissions processes.  Even the least known schools will have multiple qualified applicants per seat.  PA admissions and "breezy" should never be in the same sentence. 

 

I'm not even getting into HCE requirements...

 

Do some reading.

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IMHO, NO. It does not matter what school you go to. The "best" school does not guarantee the "best" PA, and vice versa. It may get you in the door for an interview or job (although I have not come across this), but there are many other factors involved.

And, PA school is NOT easy to get into, regardless of where you apply.

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You really need to do some research on this topic.  There is only one accrediting agency for PA's schools (ARC-PA) and they set one standard for PA curriculums.  The "general" education you get at the "top" schools is the same at the lesser known.  The real difference is the faculty and the clinical sites.  Some are better than others, but the topics are the same.  More importantly, we ALL take the same certification exam. 

 

As far as admissions go, you are way off.  There are ZERO "easy" admissions processes.  Even the least known schools will have multiple qualified applicants per seat.  PA admissions and "breezy" should never be in the same sentence. 

 

I'm not even getting into HCE requirements...

 

Do some reading.

 

 

Thanks for the reply Will352ns and PACdan, 

 

It appears I may have created a red herring with my choice of adjectives. By words such as "breezy" and "top" I didn't mean one PA school would be easy to get into by any means. Those adjectives were used in relation to each other. So, a PA school such as Yale, Duke, or Florida may look for qualifications that exceed those of PA schools that have less stringent admissions requirements. 

 

I'll give you an example, several regional California PA programs have a foreign language requirement not seen at many other PA schools. Florida's PA program (to my knowledge), required around 1000 patient care hours to be clinical and/or paid - realistically around 3000 altogether. However, a school such as Kentucky does not require any patient contact hours to be paid and a 1000 mark mile stone. Kentucky also doesn't require Anatomy / Physiology labs as many other PA programs do. 

 

One aspect I do understand is that generally ALL PA schools look for the same background. More patient care hours is better, diversification with patient care is a plus, good grades, good GRE scores, possibly some research ,etc. 

 

My underlying and primary questions have yet to be answered. What are the most important deciding factors when choosing a PA school after the interview process? Is the name of the school or it's program worth a higher cost? Do hirers look at these factors when employing PA's? This will really help in my application process and making a sound, non-idealisitic decision. 

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Unless you're going to work in that same town as these long-time programs and/or are hired by one of their graduates...no one cares.  Period, end of sentence.  

 

As was alluded to above, clinical rotations are a big part of what can differentiate one program's quality versus another.  A long-time program is more likely to have relations with preceptors going back many years and thus ensuring a good clinical rotation for their students.   But that doesn't mean at all that a new program that is able to get good rotations right out of the box isn't worth checking out.

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Unless you're going to work in that same town as these long-time programs and/or are hired by one of their graduates...no one cares.  Period, end of sentence.  

 

As was alluded to above, clinical rotations are a big part of what can differentiate one program's quality versus another.  A long-time program is more likely to have relations with preceptors going back many years and thus ensuring a good clinical rotation for their students.   But that doesn't mean at all that a new program that is able to get good rotations right out of the box isn't worth checking out.

 

And most of the time some of the top tier schools don't even have access to some of the best clinical sites...some smaller, lesser known schools in big cities have a multitude of clinical options.

 

As far as employment goes, I can only speak on behalf of former PAs and my physician father who has employed many PAs...you either' get hired based on people you click with during clinical or you have a physician (like my dad) who looks to see if you graduated, passed your boards, and has the right personality to function within their practice. Yes, Duke looks great on a resume, but everyone in the medical profession knows how competitive this field is right now, and getting in ANYWHERE is an amazing achievement. 

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Thanks for the reply Will352ns and PACdan, 

 

It appears I may have created a red herring with my choice of adjectives. By words such as "breezy" and "top" I didn't mean one PA school would be easy to get into by any means. Those adjectives were used in relation to each other. So, a PA school such as Yale, Duke, or Florida may look for qualifications that exceed those of PA schools that have less stringent admissions requirements. 

 

I'll give you an example, several regional California PA programs have a foreign language requirement not seen at many other PA schools. Florida's PA program (to my knowledge), required around 1000 patient care hours to be clinical and/or paid - realistically around 3000 altogether. However, a school such as Kentucky does not require any patient contact hours to be paid and a 1000 mark mile stone. Kentucky also doesn't require Anatomy / Physiology labs as many other PA programs do. 

 

One aspect I do understand is that generally ALL PA schools look for the same background. More patient care hours is better, diversification with patient care is a plus, good grades, good GRE scores, possibly some research ,etc. 

 

My underlying and primary questions have yet to be answered. What are the most important deciding factors when choosing a PA school after the interview process? Is the name of the school or it's program worth a higher cost? Do hirers look at these factors when employing PA's? This will really help in my application process and making a sound, non-idealisitic decision. 

Just because they don't require it doesn't mean that most, if not all, accepted students have the qualifications necessary for those 'top tier' school requirements.  They may cast a wider net this way, and there will be those few students that don't have a few of the classes, but I guarantee a lot of the students accepted in Kentucky have A&P with labs and have many more than 1000 hrs of HCE.  It doesn't make it easier to get in, just easier to meet the requirements - but still going up against the same candidates with the ability to apply to those top tier programs.

 

As far as your question: Only you can decide what is most important in picking a program after the interview.  Does location matter to you?  Are you willing to move? Do you want to practice there after you're done?  Do you want a dissection lab?  Do you want a longer clinical year in order to have more elective rotations?  Do you already have undergrad loans to deal with?  Do you have other sources of funding school?  Only you can decide if the extra cost of a school name is worth it.  As others have said - all employers care about is if you pass PANCE.  If you put a Duke applicant next to an applicant from a state school and both have passed the test, then it will come down to who 'fits' better or their experiences prior to PA school.  Sure, if the hiring doc is FROM Duke, they may hold a little bias but maybe not.

 

In my previous life I can say that I went to a no name school and it didn't hurt me at all in hiring and moving across the country.  I also know that I had a big name hospital internship on my resume but it was rarely talked about at interviews.  So maybe it helped get my resume across a desk to the right person, but it certainly didn't secure the job for me.

 

Personally, I only applied to big name schools (I know, flog me) but I wanted to be able to move anywhere in the country and not have anyone question my education - and I also only applied to ones that I was wiling to move to, that I met the requirements for, and that I felt I would 'fit' at. So yea, I'm paying for the name a little, but with the name and reputation I also know I'm getting a great education.  Will it help me get jobs over other applicants?  I doubt it.  But if I stay in the area of my school, I do know that the bar is set high and I'm starting out in an environment where PA alumni of my program are looked upon favorably.  

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