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Benefits of University of Utah PA program... should I wait a year?


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I currently have 1900 hours of volunteer/paid patient hours. I start my application this April.  Most of my hours I have accumulated working as a residential support staff for people with mental disabilities. I worked at a troubled youth ranch for a summer. This past year I was able to work as a medical assistant/ nutritionist for the people with mental disabilities. I have even been on a medical mission with my school for week in the Dominican republic. I went to an info session at the U and they encouraged me to apply but made it clear that the average patient exposure hours of their current class was over 3,000 hours.  I felt like I may have a chance to get in this year  but wont be shocked if I don't get an interview.

 

My wife and I both grew up in Utah and  really want to live in Utah once I become a PA. I am currently taking an advanced EMT class and have some promising leads into working on the ambulance and possibly in the ER this summer and hopefully the fall/spring before I enter into a PA program. I am planning on applying to about 6 different PA programs but I am toying with the idea that I may wait a year to get more hours to try re-apply to the U.

 

I am wondering what PAs in Utah think about this. I really want to work in Utah and I am wondering if there is any advantage or benefit if I graduate from the U instead of out of state schools in Arizona, Nevada or Idaho. Besides instate tuition and location, is there any other reason to wait a year? Is it worth the wait to do my clinical in Utah? Will it be easier for me to get find a job in Utah once I am a PA? 

 

Please share your opinions and experiences. Thanks

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I'll give you my opinion regarding getting a job as a PA in Utah (just keep in mind that I am a freshly accepted student and have not gone through the job hunting process). Because your questions about the University of Utah PA Program (UPAP) are more suited for the school-specific part of this forum I will PM you that part of my response.

 

There are a lot of excellent PAs in Utah who did not go to the University of Utah program. In fact, the majority of the ones I know of went out of state for their PA education. It is the same thing with physicians around here, so don't feel like you need to attend the Utah program to get a job in the area.

 

I'll echo what other currently practicing PAs have said on this forum... employers want a bonafide PA-C who has the specific qualities and experience they are looking for - not so much what school they went to.

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I was in the exact same situation as you. I applied to some other schools with the backup plan that I'd apply to the U if I didn't get in this cycle and when I had enough hours. Luckily I was accepted to a great program and decided it definitely wasn't worth waiting a year to gamble on getting into their program next year. Also keep in mind that there will be another program opening in Utah county shortly.

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  • 1 month later...

I was in the exact same situation as you. I applied to some other schools with the backup plan that I'd apply to the U if I didn't get in this cycle and when I had enough hours. Luckily I was accepted to a great program and decided it definitely wasn't worth waiting a year to gamble on getting into their program next year. Also keep in mind that there will be another program opening in Utah county shortly.

Really? At UVU? Where at? I'd be very interested in learning more about this.

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  • 7 months later...

Impressed with your credentials, Kade.  Good luck with your applications!  I'm probably a year behind you in the process; finishing up pre-reqs at the U and will apply to a number of programs in the spring.  

 

For what it's worth, I come from a similar HCE background in that I work at a residential treatment center.  I also got my EMT and have done some ambulance time and volunteering to try to round myself out as an applicant.  From speaking with Doris, head of admissions at the U, I've learned they're very interested in what degree of autonomy you have with your patients.  I know the U is also very interested in applicants with demonstrated service to underserved populations; sounds like you've done some of this with your medical mission.  So maybe emphasize that on your application?

 

Take it with a grain of salt as this is coming from a soon-to-be-applicant, but I've found the UPAP informational sessions very helpful.  They've encouraged us to, on interviews, be ready to detail why you're going the PA route rather than med school, pharmacy school, etc... talk about what a PA does, having an idea of when it's appropriate to refer a patient to a specialist...

 

Hope any/all of this may help.  Cheers and best of luck. 

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