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The Quick Buck Career or Dream Career?

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Hi, first time posting to the forums - but I've been browsing a lot recently. I'll try to keep this as short and concise as I can.


I'm currently in the early phases of a Business degree, but I feel as though I'm choosing it for the wrong reasons. Namely, less debt coming out of school since it is only a 4 year degree and, essentially, a quick paycheck upon graduation, and I'm decent at the material.


But, I've had the privilege of shadowing a PA since the profession sparked my interest, and man. There really isn't anything else in the world I want to do. I want to put all my focus into being a PA... but:


- What if I don't get in? I'm willing to do what it takes to get in, and I try not to let the competitiveness of PA school sway me... but I do feel as if it's a realistic concern.

- I don't know how I'll do in the sciences. I have a great memory for things such as Biology, and a high interest in the pathophysiology of diseases (YouTube videos on this topic made me seek out a health-related profession in the first place!) but things like high school Chemistry was a disaster for me, and I know PA schools like courses up to Biochem. Lol, I guess my fear is that I'll do well in all the prereqs up until like, General Chemistry, then I'd fail and eliminate my chances to PA school haha.


And honestly, those are my two only concerns. I do feel I would enjoy the career vastly more than a business career. Vastly. I'm just very risk adverse... and going for PA school seems like a big risk to me that can go wrong at even the smallest detail. I'm also risk adverse in the sense that, if I go the PA route, I would change my major to accommodate the prereqs... and to something I'm much more interested in, but may not lead to a career outright if PA school doesn't pan out, 


I guess my question is, how did you guys muster up the courage to just say, "Forget it. I know PA school is competitive, but I'm going to get in no matter what, and that's that."


I really really admire, and feel as though I need that mindset in order to succeed.


Thanks for any replies, or help!

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First, why do you not like business? I know you seem oriented towards being a PA, but since it would be a big change, it's good to know if there's any other opportunities in the B field that you may enjoy, but haven't had the chance to come across? If anything, an MBA is good route to go. Consulting tends to be a very fun/diverse field with alot of exit opportunities etc. What is it that's making you change your mind exactly? 




It would indeed be a large turnaround with a large amount of obstacles (years) - all said and done it's not a guarantee one might get in considering most on average have large amounts of healthcare experience. If I were you, since you're already on the business side, pursue healthcare administration? At the end of the day they run everything, and if you do it right, you can run the whole hospital or healthcare network one day. 

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So I made the change after 12 years of working in Business / Management along with earning my MBA.


To answer your question it really depends on you. I loved business. I also love helping people. And after sometime working in the field I came to the realization that business wasn't doing it for me anymore. It had lost its luster and I began questioning what I was doing and asked myself what I wanted to do. I got tired of the lack of job satisfaction and how much money I made the company (mainly my boss) as they would trim expenses (lay people off) when they were making record profits. I got tired of being a slave to my employer and knowing my work always came home with me from the office. To know I could never take a 2 week vacation without coming back to my job knowing I was 2 weeks behind.


I was the first college graduating class after September 11th. A few years later / Shortly after receiving my MBA, the economy crashed. The job market had always been tough for me. Imagine getting your BA and working in an amusement park or at petco? Then imagine working in a call center as a step up after that? And then after 4 years you finally landed a job that was close to what you wanted to do only to find it mind numbing and monotonous? Eventually I had changed jobs to a Technology company in executive management (exactly where I wanted to be) and a couple years later our technology became obsolete with the increase of storage / cloud services / increase in streaming technology.


It was then I decided to make a change. I had always been interested in medicine. My dad and sister were both ER physicians. And when I was young I said I could probably make as much as they do with less schooling and not having to deal with working 12-24-48 hour shifts + call. After working in business I discovered first hand how wrong I was constantly working 60 hours + a week + travel + trade shows / events / after hour events / going into the office late to work with international clients / vendors.


You can say my experience / job history / lack of job satisfaction / effort spent / etc all lead me to my true calling as a clinician. I didn't one day say hey! I'm going to be a PA! It was gradual for me. I had become a scuba instructor (been diving since I was 11 y/o) and my interest in barotrauma regained my interest in doing something I thought I should have done from the get go. I spent a lot of time shadowing and researching before making my move. I knew I wanted to work in healthcare, I just didn't know in what capacity.


That's why I shadowed physicians, PAs, RNs, NPs, techs in allied health fields and even administration. It was shadowing and seeing everything in action that lead me to become a PA. After I decided being a PA is what I wanted to do I didn't let my 2.31 undergrad GPA / 0 HCE get in the way. I took classes and nailed them. 4.0 post bach in all prerequisites (had a 3.7 in MBA). Got my EMT and said I'm going to be an ER Tech (which I got a lot of eye rolls) and I landed it 1 week after passing my national registry exam. I got it by making myself marketable and networking (got a 12 lead EKG cert / Phlebotomy / ACLS / PALS / NRP w/ the EMT within 6 months).


I didn't let being 32 with a wife and a daughter get in the way either. When you do something and make that decision to go that direction commit to it. Don't make excuses or look for an easy way out. Be smart and strategic but don't look for short cuts. Work hard, do your best, and believe in what you're doing and you'll succeed.


IMO anyone can do business. You don't need a degree. You'll figure out quickly that you can learn almost everything you know on your own but unfortunately employers require a BA/BS for jobs that are non-managerial and really a high school diploma would suffice. Taking a few classes on the side like Lean Manufacturing, 6 sigma, various computer languages / programs, and etc will do the trick. The degree you have in business doesn't matter, as long as you have that piece of paper. People with psych degrees, art, bio, lib arts, Chicano studies, whatever it was working along side with me. Most the time my bosses only had a high school diploma.


I'm going to give the advice I give to close family and friends who ask me what they should do when they go into college. Whatever it is that you choose to do is up to you. Only you know what will make you happy. Don't do it for the money, or because it's cool, or because you're just going through the motions. Be strategic. Get a degree in something that will teach you a trade that makes the degree worth it. Work now in the industry you're interested in and test out the waters. If you're happy working in an office doing a 8-6 everyday and sitting in a cubical then go do it. If you want to be around animals and that's going to make you happy go for it. But go now because all you're really going to get from your BA/BS for the most part is a piece of paper that will grant you access to apply for a job that you may or may not get. What will make you get the job that you really want is to start working in that field now. It'll set you apart when you apply for that entry level position that everyone requires 1 or 2 years experience for.

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Torshi, It's not that I don't like business necessarily - it's just, I've got no motivation towards it. Might I add, I'm not going for a general business degree - it's more geared toward Accounting.  The original plan was to sit for the CPA exam, and work as a CPA. You're absolutely right though, there may be paths that I haven't come across that I could love in the future - which is one of the reasons I have stuck with it, because I do know that Accounting is a valuable skill that is respected among those in the business sector. What made me change my mind was the shadowing experience I had with a PA due to my increasing interest in health professions - which started when I stumbled across some pathophysiology videos on YouTube, which I really enjoyed! Shadowing the PA, I was able to see how it was applied in a patient-care setting and I loved what I saw.


Timon, thank you for the detailed response. I very much appreciate the advice given, and have taken it to heart. That post motivated me beyond words! I'm happy that you've achieved the success you worked so hard for, and what you cited earlier about working in the business world and ultimately finding it unfulfilled is exactly what I fear may happen to me - although it may happen quite a bit earlier, since I never really had a foundation love for business, or Accounting. I just figured it would pay my bills when I get out... but I've been often told that I shouldn't look at what pays the most out of school, rather, what I would enjoy doing and be successful at doing, and something I'm realistically good at... which is the crossroad that I'm at right now. While I'm realistically good at Accounting, and could probably make a decent living doing it, it would all be fruitless if I don't enjoy the work, or the subject matter. It's like someone who's really tall and plays basketball because everyone told him he'd be good at it when he actually hates basketball and would rather golf.


I think I'm coming to a conclusion on this though, the more I think about it. I thank you both for your responses, they've been extremely helpful and insightful!

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there are many programs that do not require the gre, ochem, or biochem.

don't let those scare you away. your main issue at this point will be getting some type of medical certification and racking up some significant HCE hours.

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You can indeed do it, but it will definitely take time and effort. Research schools in regards to their pre-requisites. Sadly, every school seems autonomous in regards to their requirements, and because of that, there is no uniform requirement. Your main pursuit should be, like mentioned above, is to gain as much healthcare experience as possible, a year's worth is fine, although the average tends to be more, but again every school differs. Also, considering the PA field is geared towards non-trad/older students you should be fine, this is soon changing and is becoming quite open to all ages, some would say it's always been, which may be true.


You can do it with time and effort. Your best bet is to get a certification such as an EMT cert. Rack up hours, get your feet wet, take all your science requirements at a local CC/university.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

If you’re bored with life – if you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you haven’t set the right goals, and you aren’t doing enough with your dreams.  You’re on the wrong path to happiness.

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