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I'm starting down the path to become a P.A. and have a few questions I cannot find answers for here.


1) If one has a strong interest in pursuing EM, would it be advisable to delay starting PA school to earn an EMT-P over a simple EMT-B or can the skills learned in paramedic training be easily gained through a residency or on-the-job? I am an EMT-B and could become a paramedic in 1.5 years or else apply 1.5 years sooner. I want to be prepared to practice at the highest level in EM one day in the far future so the delay would be worth it if necessary.


2) Does PA School ranking matter for jobs? For residency competitiveness? For future academic endeavors? For respect on the job?


3) How is California as a market for PAs? I have no interest in living elsewhere. It's California or bust. Is this going to be a problem (I'm fine with taking pay cut to be here, just want to make sure I won't have to move to the east God forbid.)



Thanks everyone!

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1.) Would a employer prefer past experience as a EMT-P over EMT-B? Sure. Does it have as great of impact as you think? Probably not. The PA that I know worked as a CNA before PA school and then went straight into EM after graduation. Impressing your EM preceptor would yield much more advantage opportunity for a EM job than becoming a EMT-P vs EMT-B.


2.) I'm assuming you're referring to the USNews rankings? Those ranks mean nothing and are based off things that do not matter. Things that do matter include PANCE scores, quality of clinical rotations, the age of the program, and what graduates of the program have to say about the school. No intelligent company or physician is going to look at these and deny your request for employment and/or residency.


3.) I don't have anything to contribute to this question, sorry.

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I have to say I have a hard time believing that school ranking doesn't matter for residency. As I understand it, residency is somewhat competitive. I know in Dr. World that med school reputation does play a role as some residency programs take applicants from top tier schools. Now if the rankings don't correllate to school reputation, that would be annoying, because rankings should really just be a proxy for th above mentioned relevant criteria.

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I have to say I have a hard time believing that school ranking doesn't matter for residency. As I understand it, residency is somewhat competitive. I know in Dr. World that med school reputation does play a role as some residency programs take applicants from top tier schools. Now if the rankings don't correllate to school reputation, that would be annoying, because rankings should really just be a proxy for th above mentioned relevant criteria.


And yet... they don't matter, and only somewhat correlate.

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As a PA student, you have many opportunities to excel to the point of getting a good residency. Many schools have optional rotations, including some that you can -- if you want -- help set up for yourself. Take ones that would support your residency if you already know what you want to do.


Preceptors write evaluations and can, if they are impressed with your effort, lend their recommendations to your residency applications. Many schools also have Pi Alpha, the PA student honor society, which can accept only a certain percentage of a given school's graduates. That can look good on your record. You'll have faculty members who can also write recommendations. And so forth. So, between all of this, you have many chances to succeed as a student in PA school.


No one really cared all that much about which high school and undergraduate college/university you attended when it came time to apply to PA school. Assume that applying for a residency (still, by the way, the exception rather than the rule for new PA graduates) will be pretty much the same.


Pick the PA school that you feel will give you the best chance at being successful, during your didactic time, your clinical time, and when you sit for the PANCE. Put in the effort you need to and then let life take care of itself.


Steady as she goes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

NPR just did a piece on how school rankings influence the people who apply.  Social pressures to apply to a top ranked program tend to push exclusivity rates up which completes a cycle...it's more economic than anything else.  Ranking may matter for jobs if you graduate from a program which has that Ive League, good ole boy's club connections, but this is not something you can rely on, unless your family contributes to the school or your dad is a former dean.


PA school is extremely competetive, just apply broadly and early, and take what you get.

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Just worry about getting into PA school.  School rankings are next to meaningless in this field.  Going for an EMT-P seems like a waste of time, if it's going to delay your application to PA school.  If it's something you want to do for you, fine, I understand how it could be a valuable and personally enriching experience, but not a necessary one for your desired endstate.  Understand that you will learn how to be an EMPA in the ED (either on the job or in residency).  Consider that thousands of excellent emergency medicine physicians have no background as an EMT, much less as a paramedic.  In many ways, they are very different jobs, with paramedics being very prehospital focused, whereas the ED is much more "team" oriented, and with many more diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities available.  

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