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Looking for a bit of feedback on major choices.

 

What did people do for their bachelors prior to applying for PA school? Bio, Chem, Nursing, etc?

 

Am on a transfer system going to night classes at a Cali community college; currently working full time @ VA hospital (3+ years of trauma psych/clinical research work with veterans and AD, and ongoing). 

Planning to get EMT certified next spring and get some clinical experience on weekends as am hoping to focus on trauma/CC as a PA.

 

Current major is nursing (bachelor program, not associates) but since my end goal is PA and Navy service am wondering if nursing is the best major to aim for - does it actually give me more flexibility, like it seems to, as opposed to straight Bio or a non-science B.A?

 

Have until the end of the year to decide as then I need to decide which specific Bio/Chem classes to take.  Current GPA is 4.0 but that's in community college classes so we'll see.

 

Thanks for any feedback.

 

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I think the RN degree will be great. Originally when Dr. Eugine Stead was looking for his first group of PA candidates at Duke he looked at nurses. Nursing will give you the best clinical experience for PA school in my opinion. Although in the end any degree will work. I got my degree in Communications emphasis in Advertising from a Cal State.

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First off, I agree, nursing is a great choice of major in prep for applying to PA school. It will give you a solid foundation for both the didactic and clinical portion of any program, and obviously for a career as a PA.

 

My undergraduate majors were exercise physiology & psych. EP was great for me because I knew I wanted to go into healthcare, and it had a lot of A&P, biochem, nutrition and neuroscience. Most of my electives were through psych, and I ended up taking so many that I qualified for the additional degree.

 

From what I understand now, schools will consider applicants with undergraduate degrees in just about anything. Many schools like to have a diverse class, and a great way to do that is by having students with different academic backgrounds.

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Just as an aside, which you may have accounted for already, is the linearity of nursing degree classes and the possible extra time that might take.

 

If you have a sizable amount of credits (which I did) when you transfer to a Uni, it might be quicker to just get a Bio (or whatever) degree and skip the nursing thing. That happened to me, simply because the bachelors nursing curriculum at my school is spread over 3 or 3.5 years in a consecutive non-overlapping fashion, I think. So regardless of my 60+ credit hours to my name when I transferred, I was gonna be in school another 3 years if I wanted to do nursing.

 

Obviously you get a license out of a Nursing degree, but if you genuinely never plan on using it, and it adds time to your undergrad, you might consider forgoing it. If you start from the ground up that way and can get your PA pre-reqs along with your RN, I see no problem with that at all.

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RN Programs in CA are typically 2 years long. You could a direct entry BSN program that will take you 3 years. So I guess it would be on a case by case basis.

 

I guess if it was me and I was already accepted to a nursing program I would do the nursing program over the Bio degree. One degree will secure you a good health care experience job, the other degree will not. There's no guarantees that when you graduate with your Bachelor's degree that you'll be accepted to a PA program right away.

 

If that's the case, you need a good plan B. With a BSN you have lots of backup options that are directly aligned with ones goal of being a non-physician provider be it a PA, NP, CRNA or etc. At worst you work as a RN (which is great experience). Over time you could land your self into a leadership role within nursing and eventually CNO.

 

To me its a win / win going nursing over Bio. Even if you were to apply to med school I would see having the RN degree as an advantage in terms of patient care and procedures and pharmacology. If you were planning on going into research then I'd so go get your Bio degree.

 

You should also make it an effort to always expand your scope of practice as you're preparing to apply as a prePA.  

 

Either way I know you're playing devils advocate but as someone who recently went through this process as a non-traditional applicant I have to interject.

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Hey guys, I have a BA in psych and got accepted to Loma Linda University. The draw back was that it took longer because I had to go back for an additional 2 years and take all the prerequisites for PA school. But I do not regret getting my degree in Psych other than the time obstacle. As far as direct patient care hours are concerned, I have worked in the mental health field for 9 years.

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Mine was engineering.

 

The best med school applicant they had ever seen at Ohio State (when my daughter and I asked 20 years ago) had been a photography major.

 

My advice: take something rigorous that would lead to a job you would like no matter what happens with PA school. And take your prereqs and do well.

 

I wouldn't pick a major that you think someone else would like; you are the one who may have to live with whatever Plan B for you turns out to be.

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I have been a Firefighter/Paramedic for 24 years and will be retiring in 11 months (but who's counting?). I chose my major based on several issues. I knew I wanted to go to PA school and originally considered a Bio degree. 2 things changed my mind. Bio at my school requires 2 semesters of calculus. Nope. Uh uh. At 43 years old and as a lifelong non-math person, this was a deal breaker. Secondly, I thought, what happens if I decide NOT to go to PA school? What the hell am I going to do with a Bio undergrad degree? Teach high school? Nope. Wash glass in a lab? Not happening. Then I thought the knowledge from a degree in Clinical Lab Science might come in handy and provide a reasonable backup in case, for whatever reason, PA school becomes impossible. However the internship requirement for the last 2 years would not have been possible with my current work schedule. They flat out told me this. So I settled on Communications. Not as rigorus as a hard science degree, but it gets me a degree and is broad enough to be applicable in many areas of the workforce just in case. My prior AS degrees included all of the PA required sciences except Chem I and II and 1 semester of Organic. So I will finish those out at the local community college after I graduate. That school is half the cost per credit hour and half the distance from home as my current university. And the PA school doesn't care about CC level classes. I graduate university in December and then on to Chem, GRE, and application. 

 

So that's my story! 

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I have been a Firefighter/Paramedic for 24 years and will be retiring in 11 months (but who's counting?). I chose my major based on several issues. I knew I wanted to go to PA school and originally considered a Bio degree. 2 things changed my mind. Bio at my school requires 2 semesters of calculus. Nope. Uh uh. At 43 years old and as a lifelong non-math person, this was a deal breaker. Secondly, I thought, what happens if I decide NOT to go to PA school? What the hell am I going to do with a Bio undergrad degree? Teach high school? Nope. Wash glass in a lab? Not happening. Then I thought the knowledge from a degree in Clinical Lab Science might come in handy and provide a reasonable backup in case, for whatever reason, PA school becomes impossible. However the internship requirement for the last 2 years would not have been possible with my current work schedule. They flat out told me this. So I settled on Communications. Not as rigorus as a hard science degree, but it gets me a degree and is broad enough to be applicable in many areas of the workforce just in case. My prior AS degrees included all of the PA required sciences except Chem I and II and 1 semester of Organic. So I will finish those out at the local community college after I graduate. That school is half the cost per credit hour and half the distance from home as my current university. And the PA school doesn't care about CC level classes. I graduate university in December and then on to Chem, GRE, and application. 

 

So that's my story! 

that's YOUR story and YOU'RE sticking to it y0lFZEV.gifGood Luck!

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I have a bachelors and a masters in theatre. I was accepted in my first round of applications, so I'm inclined to agree with UGoLong on this one...take something that you're passionate about, because there are also many woeful tales on here about unenthusiastic students getting bad GPAs because they didn't like their classes and weren't motivated to succeed. Plus, you're going to have lots of time in the medical field, and while that exposure to science classes is super important, for me, part of the draw to PA was the fact that it wasn't a bunch of science robots, but a dynamic group of people from a variety of backgrounds coming together with a common interest in healthcare as a career. Just my two cents. ;-)

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for all the replies guys, that seems like one of the great things about PA school, the variety of backgrounds. 

 

I've not been accepted to a nursing program yet, (would be applying in spring) - I have to confirm my major end of this year, so the feedback is really helpful.

 

Good luck with school/career, all of you!

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Healthcare Management.  I went the business route and had a backup plan.  A biology/chemistry degree is great if you know you're headed to med/PA school.  Choose wisely.  If you fail entry the 1st time, do you have a job with a Biology degree during that transition?  Just food for thought.

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Good grades are important! You won't do well in something you hate. Also, some school actually prefer that students do not take a science major. If shows that they are well rounded (same for medical schools). You have to do the pre requisites anyway to show you are capable of handling the sciences. Choose your major based on your interests!

 

 

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medical anthro. had enough electives that I could fulfill all pa prereqs as part of the program.

 

Would love to do something like medical anthropology.  Going with Social Sciences instead and taking a little bit of everything.  I've got a lot of weird interests like urban planning to medical anthro and it solves that.  Won't cover all of my pre reqs though but I don't mind it.

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Damn me.  Sure you didn't want to add anything else to that? Did you get any sleep during college?

I started environmental studies, changed to bio, then to medical anthro. initially had minor in spanish but dropped it. also worked 26 hrs/week as an er tech while taking 20 units/quarter and scuba diving regularly.

I didn't sleep in college either.

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I started environmental studies, changed to bio, then to medical anthro. initially had minor in spanish but dropped it. also worked 26 hrs/week as an er tech while taking 20 units/quarter and scuba diving regularly.

I didn't sleep in college either.

LOL EM: Now that you are older and have been a PA for awhile and a family man, are you getting less or more sleep ;-) ? BTW did you finish your doctorate yet? 

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