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I am a 23 year old CNA currently getting my AS and Surgical Technology certification at community college. 

I am very excited to work in the OR and want to become a Surgical PA.

However, with clinicals starting I have some concerns about what undergraduate path to take.

(I am confident in my grades, I did very well in my science classes and my current gpa is a 3.4)


Jefferson University has a partnership with my community college and because I will have satisfied more than 50% of my prerequisites at Community College I can get my BS and Cardiovascular Catheterization Technology Certification in one year. (12 months full-time)


My questions are these: (finally)


1. Will it hurt my chances of getting into a good (Surgical) Physician Assistant program if I "rush" into this one year BS option?


2. Will taking the Surgical Tech & Cardio Cath Tech track help me get into a Surgical Physician Assistant program or would I have the same chance if I went to a higher ranking college for Biology? (I didn't know how to word that without it seeming offensive to Jefferson students. I really don't mean to offend.)


For those of you who may recommend that I look into med school please know that I have my reasons for preferring a career as a Surgical PA but I am open to comments on the subject.


I am most interested in working in the OR and am looking for the right path to lead me there.


This site has been so incredibly helpful and any advice you guys have would be so greatly appreciated!


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There is no one right answer to this, but here is something to think about:


1. You might not get into PA school, or change your mind later about it, or whatever. Whatever BS you get should be in something that you would like to do if you don't become a PA.


2. If you like surgery and the degree is broad enough to let you get a job and some experience, then the BS you are talking about sounds like a reasonable approach. You will likely have to get some experience as a cath tech (that could be your HCE), so it might be more like a 2 year process to get into PA school anyway. (One year to BS and one year working after it's over)


3. You might want to look around and see what a cath tech actually does and whether or not you could get an entry level job in it. I know that, at least in our area, there are fewer caths these days than before and some idle cath labs.


Whatever you do, good luck on your journey.

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Thank you for your response! From what I have discovered about Cardio Cath Techs it seems there is a good amount of job responsibility which is exciting to me. However, I am uncertain if the amount of hours working in a Cath Lab v.s. working in the OR as a Surgical Tech will help me as much for my long term interests. I most certainly want to obtain my BS with something that would gear me toward becoming a Surgical PA, but I feel as though my options are somewhat slim. Could anyone recommend some good options for someone early in their journey? 

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Hi there! I am currently a first year PA student and your situation sounds very similar to mine. I worked as a surgical tech for two years before deciding to go the PA route. I then got my BS in biology while working which took a while but allowed me to build up almost 12,000 hours HCE and made me a very competitive applicant. The best things about being a surgical tech were the constant learning and the ability to build good relationships with the PAs and surgeons in the OR (got my shadowing experience, letters of reference, and a few future job offers that way). That was just my experience...again, it took me a while (about six years) but I feel it prepared me well for PA school. Good luck to you...I wish you the best. 

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UAB is going to love you! Just keep the faith. Get your gpa to about a 3.5 and you're good. No sweat. 1. No, go for it! 2. It may be better because you can get varied healthcare experience which would show your versatility as a provider. I'm just a pre-PA, but I know about the program and everyone's pretty chill. Hope to see you in surgery one day...as a coworker! :-)

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