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Too late to become a PA? Non-sensical?

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 I'm 25, and have two degrees - BS in science and an MHA, which I received in 2013. I figured I'd want to be on the business side of health care, which is why I pursued a graduate degree with that focus. I've just started a job working for one of the main hospitals in Charleston, and I'm about 50/50 on it. It's a crazy time and will likely get worse before it gets better.

If I am 100% truthful, I have always had my doubts about my choice to pursue administration, from the moment I entered my bachelor's program (health management), all the way through grad school, and to now. I guess I always figured that along the way something would really fire within me and I'd be convinced I'd made the right choice.  Can I do this job and any admin job in the future?  Absolutely, I've got the education and know how.  Do I really want to?  That's what I know I'm saying no to.

Working alongside clinical staff in previous jobs and currently has made my wonder if my drive in healthcare is really on that side, providing care to patients. I've done my research, and the values and mission of a Physician Assistant really jives with me, and there are so many specializations available.
It seems like I'm doing things the opposite way, though. Most with dual PA and business degrees start with clinical and then get their non-clinical degree, whereas I am wondering how rare or impossible it is to start with a non-clinical masters and get accepted/complete a clinical degree like a Physician Assistant.

I also wonder what my family and friends would think if I suddenly jumped ship after spending so much time and effort, and MONEY, down this other road.

Someone please tell me if I am being stupid, or if there is hope, or something else. I am in Charleston and MUSC, where I work, has it's PA program, which I believe is the only PA school in South Carolina. I know there are no online PA school options, so I would have to do this full-time and figure out how to live/eat at the same time.xclear.png.pagespeed.ic.D0ofg5A0xP.png  I'd be taking out brand new loans, which would likely double the amount I have now left over from the BS and MHA education.

 

I had my transcripts analyzed by the MUSC enrollment office and it looks like I would need:
4 credit hours microbiology with lab
3 credit hours organic or biochemistry

What would be a good route to get these done? I asked and they said any accredited online or 2/4 year college, but I have no idea where to start. Do colleges let you take individual courses if you just need to get small pre-reqs done?

Thanks
Confused and Unsure in Charleston

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Of course it's not too late, you are only 25! But I think you need to make sure you absolutely want this before you head down that path. I get paid pretty well, and like what I do. But med Admin folks have the ability to be hospital CEOs. The CEO of our local hospital makes $500,000 a year. I will never make that, not will most PAs.

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Oh man, just wait 'till UGoLong gets here. : )

 

Short answer: It's never too late, until it is. If you really want it (really really) then go for it.

 

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Thanks.  I just feel so stupid that I let myself get so far into my life without being brave enough to scream "STOP!  This isn't what I'm passionate about, or want to do!"

 

The MUSC PA deadline is September 15, so any HCE goes out the window.  I'm not sure where I'd look for the recommendation letters, so I may just do a hail mary and apply with everything I have (and don't have, quite frankly) and see if it's in my stars.

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Of course it's not too late, you are only 25! But I think you need to make sure you absolutely want this before you head down that path. I get paid pretty well, and like what I do. But med Admin folks have the ability to be hospital CEOs. The CEO of our local hospital makes $500,000 a year. I will never make that, not will most PAs.

Money to me is not worth a lot if I'm not satisfied with what I'm doing. Plus I'll never want to be a CEO of anything :)

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Twenty-five is not too old to change careers and there is no one right way to move from an administrative to a clinical career. As others have alluded, I didn’t go to PA school until I was 58. I took my first prerequisite at 51 and graduated at 60. So, from my perspective, you are WAY too young to start down this path!

 

Having come from the background that you do, you will likely have a better appreciation for the business side of medicine. That makes you a different kind of applicant -- both for a PA program and for PA jobs -- and, from my experience, different is often a very good thing.

 

You don’t have to jump overboard to make the change. You will still have prerequisites to take and patient care experience to get. You can do both while your keep your job at MUSC. You may also be able to build bridges with faculty at their PA program, perhaps giving you a leg up when you finally are ready to apply. My advice is not to rush and to maximize what you can do without changing everything about your life. You can take prereqs at your school (maybe at a discount) or in the evenings at a local community college. You might be able to get a part-time night position in the MUSC hospital or go the EMS route, or one of the many other ways that people get experience. It might take you a few years to do all of this, but I think you might be in an ideal situation to start down this path without throwing away what you have.

 

A time will come when you will need to quit your job and go to school full-time as a PA student.  That will take some courage but, by then – between taking the prereqs and getting patient care experience – you will long have decided that it is the right thing to do.

 

You are on a path that many have already taken; it’s well-worn. Be confident that you can do it too. And those first few steps will help you decide if the path is really the right one for you.

 

Good luck!

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I had to LOL when I first read your post. 25 and too late?! Oh my god.

Now, having lived in SC for the past 8 yr (and yes indeed MUSC is still the only PA program in the state...but others are coming in the next 2-3 years...finally!!), having worked in 4 different regions of SC (mostly the Midlands and Pee Dee) and having taught in Augusta, GA, my perspective on your chances for admission to the MUSC PA program is that you're up against stiff competition. You lack direct HCE which is important. Honestly I think your chances at MUSC are much better for the med school.

Really to be competitive at any PA program you're gonna need a minimum of 500 hr direct patient care experience, and 1000-2000 hours at any of the "good" programs (I still have my doubts on how good MUSC is...call it insider knowledge...but I have worked with many PA grads and they've been well trained).

My perspective is also skewed as a PA who went back to medical school 11 years into my career and now a FM resident.

At any rate, throw money into an app if you want to--it may just stick. Paul Jacques has been interim PD at MUSC for a few years and he did their MHA program several years ago when I interviewed there as potential faculty (lol nope didn't get the job). He may like you enough to interview you. But if the guard has changed (as it is well overdue to be changed) you may be wasting money and energy on an app that is not yet competitive.

Honestly it is much easier for folks like you to get into med school with good grades and high intellect but no significant HCE.

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I had my transcripts analyzed by the MUSC enrollment office and it looks like I would need:

4 credit hours microbiology with lab

3 credit hours organic or biochemistry

 

What would be a good route to get these done? I asked and they said any accredited online or 2/4 year college, but I have no idea where to start. Do colleges let you take individual courses if you just need to get small pre-reqs done?

 

Thanks

Confused and Unsure in Charleston

Sure, you can take individual courses. Just be aware that they can be quite anal about it. You will likely have to "apply" for admission as a non degree candidate and send them official transcripts from previous schools. Since you have already graduated, you may have to pay a higher fee as a "graduate" student even if taking under grad classes. Expect the following: The people you talk to in admissions will have no idea what to do with you. They won't follow up and will lose your file multiple times. Stuff like that. But, other than that, it's no problem.

 

Sent from my Kindle Fire HDX using Tapatalk 2

 

 

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Working alongside clinical staff in previous jobs and currently has made my wonder if my drive in healthcare is really on that side,

The question is not if it's too late, it's not, PA school, Med school, whatever, go for it. 

 

The question is: will you be happy once you get to where you're going? 

 

That you spent significant amounts of time, energy and money to get where you are today, only to discover that you don't like it, or it doesn't suit you tells me there was a fundamental error made along the way.

 

I know more than a few MDs and PAs in that predicament.

 

Personally, I would give your current job at least a year, if not more.

 

If you absolutely know, without a doubt, that it is not sustainable or suitable for you, then...

 

Shadow like a mofo or get some HCE to be sure that the clinical side is what you want.

 

If so... then go ahead on with your bad self.

 

If not: then you just saved yourself a lot of hassle.

 

Good luck.

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I am 46 and almost done with my first year of PA school.  25 is not too late for PA school or med school or pretty much anything else you might want to do. :) 

 

I just wanted to endorse what bgdog and UGoLong said.  Get some meaningful HCE (EMT-B is good, go ride with the rescue squad) and find out if you like being with patients.  Having healthcare experience also makes the didactic year LESS like hell and much higher yield.  It is good to come in with a base of clinical knowledge you can build on. 

 

Best of luck.

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You have 2 measly outstanding prerequisites -- doesn't sound so bad! At the very least, I'd recommend shadowing a couple of PAs to get a sense for what the job may entail. If that doesn't turn you off, you need to get your hands dirty. Nursing assistant certifications are relatively cheap and quick to come by. If possible, I'd become a CNA part-time in a hospital on the weekends or evenings. Don't quit your job at MUSC until you're certain that you're willing to sacrifice what's necessary to become a PA. 

 

On a personal note, I wasted a lot of time and money on a BA in Economics and a Masters in Health Systems Management. Didn't start the journey to become a PA until I was 26. As others have said, at 25, you're still a young-blood. Try not to get discouraged by the stats people post on the forums, and best of luck to you! 

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Well, I've run into some snags.

 

Just spoke to the local community college where I was planning to finish my Micro and organic chem pre-reqs, and was told that 1. my Biology 101 class was more than 5 years ago; 2. Ohio state was at quarters at that time, and the quarter to semester conversion leaves me at 3.33 when I need 4.  $#(#&*%(#(@.

 

So new possible plan - take biology 101 at Trident Fall 1 (Aug-Oct), then take Micro at Trident Fall 2 (Oct-Dec), then take Biochem/organic chem in Spring.

 

Damn it.  I have found a great PA to shadow when I can local here, that's a plus.  If I needed I could get in one hour every day from 5-6pm, but with work full time it's almost impossible.

 

 

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Colleges will sometimes let a student waive a prereq to take another prereq (not PA programs; colleges where you are trying to take your PA prereqs).

 

My chemistry credits were 32 years old and a local 4 year university let me take organic anyway, as long as I signed a waiver that they had warned me.

 

Community colleges are usually experienced with returning adult students and can cut them some slack to let them into some classes. You might see if there is such an office at the school you are trying to get the class from.

 

Don't give up!

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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I had a long conversation with someone in the admissions office, and that's what they told me :(

 

Tuition for the Bio 101 class is due tomorrow by noon.  But now I'm worried I'm going to get the same problem when I need to do bio/organic chem in the spring;  I took Chem 101-102 my freshman year, which was semesters, but it's definitely 5+ years.  I looked through their catalog and it says:

 

Prereq: Math 101, Math 152, high school chem in the past 2 years, CHM100 or CHM 106

 

At least the lecture for bio 101 is online, with lab only 2 nights a week.

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MHAgrad,

 

This is the first time I have actually posted on here. I have read a lot, learned a lot, but haven't really been involved in any of the conversations. However, I can relate to you so I will offer you any advice that I can. I also graduated with my MHA, became a nursing home administrator to get some experience and then I wanted to go back to the hospital within some kind of administrative capacity. It was the worst experience of my life. I struggled with it every day and I didn't give up for the longest time because I wasn't someone that did. However- I couldn't take it anymore. I also decided I wanted to go to PA school. I already had plenty of interaction with PAs and knew already what the occupation was and how difficult it was to get into school so I knew ahead of time what I was getting into. The good thing was that I already had HCE because I was a respiratory therapist (also BS) first, MHA second. So now I work at an RT manager and have been taking classes over the last year that I wanted to re-take or satisfy for pre-reqs. The road hasn't been easy.

 

Long story short, if you truly know what is PA is and what they do- you will know whether or not you REALLY want to be one. If you do, then you need to dedicate yourself do getting things done that you must do before applying to schools. If you need pre-reqs to required classes to get into PA school then do it (and try to get GOOD grades while doing it). It also looks like you need healthcare experience (direct patient care). I would look at your different options and ask the college in your city what the best way is to do that. You may need to at least get your CNA for the hands on experience. Along the way meet some PAs, try to get good references so that when you go to apply that you are competitive. You also may want to study for and take the GRE because many schools require that. I also wouldn't put all of my eggs in one basket and only apply to one school. PA school is competitive and you are not ensured a spot in their highly competitive class. And all schools are highly competitive. I would apply to as many as you can (or at least more than one).

 

I get that you may be frustrated and you want it to be easier- so did I. But I also knew what I wanted to do. If you truly want to be a PA you're going to have to work for it!

 

Good luck! :)

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Hey all, I have a question!

 

Should I include my latest job at MUSC, especially on my resume that I submit to the MUSC supplemental application?  My worry is that someone is going to see that I work on the admin side (this is a new job, I only took it in early June), and blab to the department I work for.  I.e. my bosses are going to get word that I am looking to be a PA and leave admin.

 

On the other hand, I worry they would find out anyway and same result.  OR they don't find out until a possible interview, then ask em about it.

 

For the other programs out of state, I don't care, I'm putting it on the resume.  But MUSC is a difficult situation I find myself in.

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I assume your chances may be better in getting into MUSC if you are currently an employee of theirs (or that could just be my perception). I'm also not entirely sure but I am thinking that your application/intention will probably remain confidential to the admissions department (or again, may be just me). If I were you I would apply, regardless of whether or not anyone finds out. Sounds like its a question of whether or not you want to live your dream of becoming a PA. You may not get accepted, but then again maybe you will. However, you definitely won't get in without applying. I have faced and continue to face similar struggles along my path and I consistently choose the route that will help improve my odds of getting in (whether that be this year, the next, ect.). Be dedicated, and improve your chances any way you can! It won't come without sacrifice.

 

Anyways, look story short- your choice but I would go for it! 

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I assume your chances may be better in getting into MUSC if you are currently an employee of theirs (or that could just be my perception). I'm also not entirely sure but I am thinking that your application/intention will probably remain confidential to the admissions department (or again, may be just me). If I were you I would apply, regardless of whether or not anyone finds out. Sounds like its a question of whether or not you want to live your dream of becoming a PA. You may not get accepted, but then again maybe you will. However, you definitely won't get in without applying. I have faced and continue to face similar struggles along my path and I consistently choose the route that will help improve my odds of getting in (whether that be this year, the next, ect.). Be dedicated, and improve your chances any way you can! It won't come without sacrifice.

 

Anyways, look story short- your choice but I would go for it! 

Well I'm definitely applying lol!

 

Just wondering if I should include my current MUSC job on MUSC's application.  Thinking I want to, I can send in an updated CV that they request along with the supplemental materials.

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Put it on there. MUSC is a big place and most of the time the rest of the university ignores the PA program. Sad but true of many university programs. On the PA side, it will likely be a plus. You can always ask them to keep it confidential during an interview until you know the outcome and whether you are admitted.

The other reason to list your admin experience is because we don't like to see gaps in your work history...so list it proudly. Good luck!!

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I had to LOL when I first read your post. 25 and too late?! Oh my god.

Now, having lived in SC for the past 8 yr (and yes indeed MUSC is still the only PA program in the state...but others are coming in the next 2-3 years...finally!!), having worked in 4 different regions of SC (mostly the Midlands and Pee Dee) and having taught in Augusta, GA, my perspective on your chances for admission to the MUSC PA program is that you're up against stiff competition. You lack direct HCE which is important. Honestly I think your chances at MUSC are much better for the med school.

Really to be competitive at any PA program you're gonna need a minimum of 500 hr direct patient care experience, and 1000-2000 hours at any of the "good" programs (I still have my doubts on how good MUSC is...call it insider knowledge...but I have worked with many PA grads and they've been well trained).

My perspective is also skewed as a PA who went back to medical school 11 years into my career and now a FM resident.

At any rate, throw money into an app if you want to--it may just stick. Paul Jacques has been interim PD at MUSC for a few years and he did their MHA program several years ago when I interviewed there as potential faculty (lol nope didn't get the job). He may like you enough to interview you. But if the guard has changed (as it is well overdue to be changed) you may be wasting money and energy on an app that is not yet competitive.

Honestly it is much easier for folks like you to get into med school with good grades and high intellect but no significant HCE.

 

I'm applying to MUSC too. I was kind of wondering about your "doubts about how good MUSC is" 

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