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Hello,

 

I am new to this forum website but I am desperately seeking for some advice from any PAs or PA students. I am 19 turning 20 soon, and I live in the state of New Jersey. I am currently going to a county college called Middlesex and I have aspired to become a PA. I am currently about to terminate my 2nd year and originally I planned to only stay for this long and transfer. At first I wanted to be a nurse, but switched. I have taken some courses like Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology and Chemistry. I want to know how I can branch off from here and become a PA. My counselor told me I should stay and do a bio major to knock some classes out of the way but I definitely know I won't finish anytime soon. However, I was reading about how those with healthcare experience is preferred prior to applying to a PA program and I was thinking of leaving the college I'm in now to become a surgical tech at a tech school to then earn that healthcare experience. Should I do this? Or does anyone think I'm better off staying and finishing my bio major. I feel like it'll take too long but what can I do? Any advice?

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For the vast majority of PA schools you'll need health care experience and a bachelors.   If you want to take a break now to do surgical tech, that is up to you, and won't be detrimental to the final application, but know that you'll need to return for your bachelors before you apply to most PA programs.   

Why do you aspire to be a PA?  What drew you to nursing to begin with?   

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If I were you, I would stay in school. And it's not necessary to get a bio degree -- you can graduate with any 4 year degree as long as you are meeting the requirements needed for PA schools, which will vary (typically anatomy, physiology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, general chemistry, microbiology -- most of those with labs). Whether your degree be a degree in psychology, chemistry, sociology, graphic design, underwater basket weaving, etc, it really doesn't matter. Although if your major requires you to take more relevant science classes, that could only help you. If at all possible, I would try to gain part-time experience along the way (CNA, medical assistant, EMT, etc). By the time you get ready to apply, you should have enough hours to be competitive, as long as you have a good GPA, have volunteered, shadowed, etc.  Or, I would go through school, then take a year off to get some healthcare experience... there are far easier ways of getting experience, like the options I've mentioned above. 

 

Try searching the forum for more guidance and advice!

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I aspired to be a PA because I'm a person that likes to not just be active but I also find healthcare very interesting. Personally, I'd like to be a surgical PA because I like to know that I can be a factor that can save a life.

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I aspired to be a PA because I'm a person that likes to not just be active but I also find healthcare very interesting. Personally, I'd like to be a surgical PA because I like to know that I can be a factor that can save a life.

you can do this in many fields:

primary care(prevent bad stuff before it happens)

Emergency med (deal with bad stuff when it does)

Critical care (deal with folks teetering on the brink of death and pull some back).

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Hello,

 

I am new to this forum website but I am desperately seeking for some advice from any PAs or PA students. I am 19 turning 20 soon, and I live in the state of New Jersey. I am currently going to a county college called Middlesex and I have aspired to become a PA. I am currently about to terminate my 2nd year and originally I planned to only stay for this long and transfer. At first I wanted to be a nurse, but switched. I have taken some courses like Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology and Chemistry. I want to know how I can branch off from here and become a PA. My counselor told me I should stay and do a bio major to knock some classes out of the way but I definitely know I won't finish anytime soon. However, I was reading about how those with healthcare experience is preferred prior to applying to a PA program and I was thinking of leaving the college I'm in now to become a surgical tech at a tech school to then earn that healthcare experience. Should I do this? Or does anyone think I'm better off staying and finishing my bio major. I feel like it'll take too long but what can I do? Any advice?

From a soon to be PA student-

I'm going to avoid getting on my soapbox of why I think that requiring no HCE is a bad idea. I think you could take time off now and work in the healthcare field before finishing your bachelor degree and be a competitive candidate when you apply. You could also complete your bachelor's degree now either while working or work after your degree and be just as competitive. There are programs out there that still do not require a bachelors degree, most programs offer a masters degree in PA studies. If I were you I would continue with school now that you're in and then look to get into the healthcare field now or after graduation. If you find yourself unmotivated to continue your studies, you may be better off pausing the academic clock and work for a while before you pick up with your degree/pre-reqs. It can be hard to pick back up with school if you stop in the middle of it. However, if your not motivated to do well in courses now, you'll only suffer from poor grades that will hurt your GPA. Pardon me for any incoherant trains of thought....After working the mid shift last night, I woke and drove halfway to work this morning at 0545 before realizing I did't have to be there until 11am...oops!

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I echo what has been said directly above by Colorado.

 

I forced myself to go straight through college at 18 when I wasn't academically, emotionally or mentally mature, and GREATLY suffered because of it. When it came time to get serious about PA school, I had to go back to school to complete more than 80 post-baccalaureate credits to get my GPA to a barely competitive spot. My advice, for whatever it is worth, is to only take classes at the point when you're prepared to get really solid grades - mostly or all A's. Getting into PA school is a LOT easier with a 3.8 than it is a 2.7 (like me!). Additionally, I think a big part of what makes successful PAs is at least a couple years of solid prior health care experience - you'll be older, hopefully wiser, and know how to walk into a room and get the information you need from a patient, and do so compassionately and informatively. Just a word of caution - some PA programs won't accept surgical tech as HCE (not sure the reason why). If you're looking for an easy route into your first "hands on" job, try getting an EMT or CNA certification...a whole lot of people who become PAs started in these positions. Build from there.

 

Good luck...IT CAN BE DONE.

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There are as many ways to become a PA as there are PAs. Changing directions now is fine, but think it through. If you're not ready for school, fine, but remember that you'll have to come back sooner or later to get the bachelors and the prerequisites for a graduate PA program.

 

If you're already geared up for school and it's just a couple of more years to finish (and finish well, I might add), then you might want to do that. Coming back to school after a gap in time can present its own challenges. 

 

Whatever you do, think it through.  And good luck!

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