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Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) to PA. Opinions and advice please!

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I'm currently a student majoring in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) and expecting a BS and graduating from an honors program in spring 2015.

 

I'm planning on taking my ARDMS specialty exams in Echocardiography, Abdomen, and OB/GYN. I'm contemplating about transitioning from a BS in DMS to MS-PA and was wondering whether it would be a good idea and how I would go about my route. 

 

I'm not sure whether my courses for DMS (or if any courses from Allied Health program) would be considered towards my science GPA. The courses include multiple leveled courses in Abdominal Cross Section Sonography, Abdominal Sonography (1, 2, & 3) , Echocardiography (1, 2, & 3), OB/GYN(1, 2, & 3), Non-Invasive Vascular, Superficial Structures and Neurosonography, Sonographic Physics (1 & 2) along with 1,200+ hours during clinical rotation at non-invasive cardiology, pediatric echocardiography, OB/GYN/MFM, and general abdominal ultrasound clinical sites in the metropolitan area. 

 

I have not finished all my courses yet so my GPA could be lower or higher when I graduate, but I would like a opinion on the general overview. 

My science GPA (assuming they don't account for my DMS courses) is a meek 3.184 from Bio 1&2, Chem 1&2, A&P 1&2, and an Introductory to Physics course. I've taken organic chemistry, but withdrew from the class due to personal reasons. I plan to take microbiology since most PA schools require it.

 

My non-science GPA (assuming they don't account for my DMS courses with my honors liberal courses Philosophy, Literature, History, Social Science, Psychology, Speech, math courses (Precalculus, and Calculus), and a statistics class) is a 3.37

 

Assuming the DMS courses count in my science GPA and not my non-science GPA, my science GPA would be 3.29.

 

Assuming the DMS courses count in my non-science GPA, my non-science GPA would be 3.37.

 

My overall GPA currently is a 3.35.

 

I've done 1,200+ hours during my clinical rotations at hospitals and 800+ hours as a pharmacy technician at a retail pharmacy. I'm familiar with reading and performing echocardiograms, general abdomen and OB/GYN ultrasounds and reading CT scans, X-rays, and mammograms. I'm also familiar with drug names and purpose of them.

 

I know that I have to receive my Bachelors prior to applying to the CASPA, but I would like to know any helpful advice prior to applying (I don't plan to apply soon, but it would be helpful to be completely prepared to submit my application) and opinion about whether it would be a good idea to transition from DMS to PA.

 

Thanks a bunch!

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Hello mt13, I was in a similar situation as an xray/CT technologist and decided I wanted to purse PA school.

 

I worked in the field for about 8 years before making the switch which I feel has given me invaluable experience to call upon.

 

Concerning your ultrasound courses, most will probably not count towards science gpa. In CASPA there is a science category and other science category and most of my radiography courses fell into the other sciences category and I don't think that was calculated into my science gpa...but I could be wrong. General anatomy and physiology, chemistry, biology, and micro all definitely fall into the science category though.

 

Your gpa is not bad but you will probably be going up against people with much higher gpa's. The thing you have going for you will be the fact that you will have completed the ultrasound program and have some good experience under your belt. Hopefully you will be able to work full time and get more hours before you apply. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe they count unpaid clinical rotation hours as healthcare experience so keep that in mind.

 

I would definitely recommend you work a year or two in your profession before you decide that PA is what you want to do but either way good luck and try to keep improving your gpa.

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mt13,

 

         I agree with radioman.  Like you I am a sonographer and transitioning to PA.  I have been in the field the last 14 years.  When applying I didn't count any of my sonography classes unless they were the science classes, biology, chemistry, micro, A & P, and pathophysiology.  I also agree with radioman about working the first couple of years prior to applying.  Gain some medical experience.  Us sonographers gain so much knowledge the first 1-2 years once we graduate and will be extremely useful once you transition to PA.  Typically your clinicals are not counted.  Your hours only count when they are paid working hours.   There may be a school out there but most don't accept clinical hours.

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I am interested in physician assistant after 14 years of sonography. I am interested to know Blue Haze, what branch of medicine are you exploring or did you wind up in after sonography?

 

what advice would you have and could you chat with me. I have mostly been in obstetrics and women's health for most of my career.

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I believe your DMS would count towards your science GPA in the 'other science' category. CASPA website says 'SCIENCE GPA: is calculated based on these Course Subject GPA categories: Biology/Zoology, Inorganic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, and Other Science'

 

If you go look under what qualifies as 'other science', there are various medical professions from CMA to Rad. Tech. to Resp. Therapy. I think your GPA is just fine and you just need to finish your BS and do well in the classes (nothing below a B). Also, keep racking up the HCE and you will be right on track. If you want to be even more competitive, retake some pre-reqs. you may have received a C in.

 

Sonography is in there. I just checked.

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Thank you to the OP, this is exactly what I have been planning for over a year now. I've started on Radiology pathway and have been pushed by professors, counselors and a doctor to pursue PA. Diagnostic Medical Sonography has been my aim but since being nudged I've been quite intrigued by using Radiology as the pathway for PA. I've also had a lot of input that diagnostic medical sonography has a lot of overlap with PA, so why not if it is feasible. 

My main question is if using Radiology as a pathway helps you stand out amongst applicants to PA schools? I understand competition is stiff, so my thinking is that Radiology with experience as a DMS would help bolster the appeal of my potential application.

I've been searching for a while now and this is the first time I've come across this exact topic.

Thank you for any input,
Leo

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18 hours ago, Diablo said:

Thank you to the OP, this is exactly what I have been planning for over a year now. I've started on Radiology pathway and have been pushed by professors, counselors and a doctor to pursue PA. Diagnostic Medical Sonography has been my aim but since being nudged I've been quite intrigued by using Radiology as the pathway for PA. I've also had a lot of input that diagnostic medical sonography has a lot of overlap with PA, so why not if it is feasible. 

My main question is if using Radiology as a pathway helps you stand out amongst applicants to PA schools? I understand competition is stiff, so my thinking is that Radiology with experience as a DMS would help bolster the appeal of my potential application.

I've been searching for a while now and this is the first time I've come across this exact topic.

Thank you for any input,
Leo

I graduated with a nuclear medicine technology degree and have been working as as a nuclear tech for the past 3 years. I just had an interview recently at a PA program and they seemed to value my background due to it being very different from most of the PCE that other applicants had (medical assistant, scribe, pt aid, etc). 

 

I don't think it's a bad thing to stand out with a degree like that! 

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On 9/18/2019 at 12:04 PM, mly3025 said:

I graduated with a nuclear medicine technology degree and have been working as as a nuclear tech for the past 3 years. I just had an interview recently at a PA program and they seemed to value my background due to it being very different from most of the PCE that other applicants had (medical assistant, scribe, pt aid, etc). 

 

I don't think it's a bad thing to stand out with a degree like that! 

Exactly what I thought! Thank you so much for your input!

Can I ask what series of events or train of thought led to applying to a PA program for you?

I've done the comparison a handful of times now and I'm still unsure if it's for me. I have a feeling it won't be until I have graduated and/or worked as DMS for a while that I'll know. 

I think the life work balance is the thing that hangs me up. I have 3 little ones.

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