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Hello, my name is Ana and I have a BA from The New School in NYC. After many years in the arts (I am 36 and a mother of 1) I have decided I would like to be a PA or an NP.  In the past year I have lost 3 very close family members and took care of all of them at home: 2 with cancer one with Alzheimer's who spent her final days in a nursing home, with me visiting every day and changing the dressings on her unstageable wounds. (long story, nursing home abuse) I am a huge fan of science and medicine. I thought about being a dermatologist in my early 20's but art is what I had been doing since I can remember and I natuarlly just followed that path but now regret it.

I have enrolled in BMCC and taking pre-requisites which can be considered for both nursing and PA degrees. My gpa is 3.9 so far but do have a B+ in chem:(

 

My questions are:

 

-am I too old to become a PA?

-should I continue my AP 1+ 2 + all other science pre-reqs (and LOTS of them) at BMCC and then apply to PA school? Or should I do AP 1 + 2 in PA school? BMCC is SO affordable!

-should I transfer into the PA school BEFORE applying to the PA program?

 

Lastly and most importantly:

PA schools require experience and my experience with my loved ones will not count.

-Is volunteering considered experience or must I be hired/paid as a medical assistant first, in which case I will have to get a certificate for this as well:(

Thank you so, so much for this advice and I am so happy to find this forum

All the best,

Ana

 

 

 

 

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 -am I too old to become a PA?

 

No, I have a classmate that is almost 50 and multiple younger than that. I say go for it.

 

-should I continue my AP 1+ 2 + all other science pre-reqs (and LOTS of them) at BMCC and then apply to PA school? Or should I do AP 1 + 2 in PA school? BMCC is SO affordable!

 

This depends on the program that you intend on applying to and whether they require A&P as a prerequisite. Once you're in PA school, you will learn A&P, but it will be a PA program course, not a general course that anyone can sign up for. Figure out where you want to apply, see what each school requires (every school is different!), and plan our your courses from there. 

 

-should I transfer into the PA school BEFORE applying to the PA program?

 

As in transfer into the university where the PA program is? This can be debated. Do what is best for your personal situation and what you can afford. If you think you will get a better education beyond just the name on the transcript, then I might consider it. Otherwise, take the class where you can be successful, won't get into unnecessary debt, and can actually learn the subject matter. In other words, do everything you can to set yourself up for success. 

 

Lastly and most importantly:

PA schools require experience and my experience with my loved ones will not count.

-Is volunteering considered experience or must I be hired/paid as a medical assistant first, in which case I will have to get a certificate for this as well:(

 

Again, depends on the program you intend on applying to. Generally, paid experience is seen as superior than volunteer experience on an application. Whether it actually is, depends on what you are doing in each position. That being said, paid experience will allow you to apply to more programs in what is already a very competitive field. 

 

BTW, a B+ in chemistry isn't going to sink you...just keep working hard and aiming for those A's. 

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Absolutely not too old.

 

I started PA school at age 47 and was not even the oldest in my class.  Also, see Yougolong's story about the transition to healthcare as a career in middle age.

 

Best of luck.

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Hi GreatChecko and Avalon,

Thank you so, so much for your responses, I appreciate your time and advice so much!

I have been eyeing nursing school for several years and I finally understand the process of applying there and all about prerequisites. It seems the more research I do the more new things come upon. I am trying to distribute my prereqs wisely, a 4 credit science class and an easy 3 credit writing/phi/soc class per semester. I think that because the economy is so stagnant there are way more candidates for all med professions/schools, espcially the CUNY's since they are so affordable. At BMCC a 3.9-4.00 GPA is pretty much what everyone is applying with for the 2 year nursing program. I do have this GPA at the moment but I do stress out about it all the time. I found myself studying 30 hrs + for the AP 1 class.

I am thinking of York College. I wish there was more flexibility on the prereqs, every single school requires slightly different classes so I can never apply to several schools at once because I have to take an extra class everytime and this adds several extra semesters in BMCC. I can apply for the BMCC nursing program now and then get a BSN on line for which I already have all humanities, arts, etc.

And then I found the PA programs...and can't make up my mind...

What do you think are the pros/cons of being a PA compared to being a nurse?

Warm Regards,

A

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I have enrolled in BMCC and taking pre-requisites which can be considered for both nursing and PA degrees. My gpa is 3.9 so far but do have a B+ in chem:(

 

A B+ in anything should never have a frowny face after it.

 

The one thing I dislike about modern academia and even K-12 schooling, is the creeping notion that anything less than an "A" is bad or a failure in some way.

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I'm 52 and I'm starting PA school in 2015.  NOT too old!  

 

I will be turning 47 a month after I start PA school this summer.  You are definitely not too old!!!

 

I graduated at 50, and have been practicing for six years. I wish I had had the chance to do this in my thirties .

 

Absolutely not too old.

 

I started PA school at age 47 and was not even the oldest in my class. 

 

Don't we all Brad ... Good Luck to everyone who has posted on here! 6HIgX93.gif6HIgX93.gif

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Thanks for the kind words about the book.

 

I didn't know what a PA was until I was almost 50. Started PA school at 58, graduated at 60, and I'm still working 8 years later. This transition is doable, if you put your mind to it and get the other aspects of your life in alignment with it.

 

My best resource was -- and remains -an incredibly understanding and supportive wife.

 

Best wishes to anyone on this path, regardless of where along it you may be this morning.

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A B+ in anything should never have a frowny face after it.

 

The one thing I dislike about modern academia and even K-12 schooling, is the creeping notion that anything less than an "A" is bad or a failure in some way.

 

I agree. Unfortunately many parents, peers, & undergrad advisors perpetuate this. Doesn't help some PA schools main criteria is grades/test taking ability. 

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Never regret your background in the arts.  As a former art major way back from the 70's (never finished it, went into nutrition) I have found that the artist's brain is the one that comes up with creative solutions to problems.  Then there is the saying that there is an Art and Science to medicine, and you already are half there.

 

I started PA school at age 44, graduated at age 47 in 2004.  So now everyone knows how old I am.  You are never too old. 

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Hi Paula, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Perhaps I am taking things for granted but I do doubt myself so often these days. I owe so much in school loans and am upset with myself for the bad choices I have made. I certainly feel I am not good enough and starting to realize how competitive it is getting into a NYC school. Although my gpa is a reasonable 3.8 I do worry that after I take all the pre-reqs (3 more chem classes, stats, 4 more Bio) I will perhaps flunk the interview and then what? I am trying to get a Medical Assistant certificate soon so that I can get some work hours doing this.

What school did you attend? Thank you so much for your time :)

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I agree. Unfortunately many parents, peers, & undergrad advisors perpetuate this. Doesn't help some PA schools main criteria is grades/test taking ability. 

The problem right now is that CUNY's are the only affordable options for many of us and the competition is uncanny! People often apply with 3.9 GPA and a ton of work experience and extracurricular activities. This is why a B+ is a bad grade, especially for me since I have no medical experience besides taking care of two family members with cancer...

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Thanks for the kind words about the book.

 

I didn't know what a PA was until I was almost 50. Started PA school at 58, graduated at 60, and I'm still working 8 years later. This transition is doable, if you put your mind to it and get the other aspects of your life in alignment with it.

 

My best resource was -- and remains -an incredibly understanding and supportive wife.

 

Best wishes to anyone on this path, regardless of where along it you may be this morning.

You're pretty awesome!

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Hi Paula, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Perhaps I am taking things for granted but I do doubt myself so often these days. I owe so much in school loans and am upset with myself for the bad choices I have made. I certainly feel I am not good enough and starting to realize how competitive it is getting into a NYC school. Although my gpa is a reasonable 3.8 I do worry that after I take all the pre-reqs (3 more chem classes, stats, 4 more Bio) I will perhaps flunk the interview and then what? I am trying to get a Medical Assistant certificate soon so that I can get some work hours doing this.

What school did you attend? Thank you so much for your time :)

I went to the University of Wisconsin -  School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. 

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