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Hi, I'm currently a senior in high school and I'm interested in entering the medical field and becoming a future PA. Before I start applying for colleges, I would like to know all of the necessary requirements, classes, prerequisites, etc. that I would need before applying for PA school. What should I major in? Would I be at an advantage if I was an RN for a few years and then go on to PA school? Any advice you guys can give me would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Anything that will work for pre-med will work for PA.  While there are a few things that aren't typically required for med school that are generally required for PA school (psychology and statistics come to mind), start on a pre-med path to keep your options open.  Lots of pre-nursing science classes are not acceptable as pre-PA coursework, so if you DO go the nurse route, substitute in the pre-med or pre-science-major coursework.

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The way I see it, you could go two different routes.

 

Option 1: You choose a non-science major (preferably something 'easy') and complete all of the pre-reqs necessary for pa school on the side.

Option 2: Choose a science major (biology or chemistry might be good ones), that way some of the pre-reqs are incorporated in your major. (kill two birds with one stone)

 

From what i've read online it doesn't really matter which route you choose. Go with whichever one  you feel more comfortable with. I think option 2 would prepare you better for the rigor of PA school, but you would have to work a lot harder to maintain a good gpa if you went with option 2 (that's just my opinion). 

 

Here are some pre-reqs that i've had to take so you have an idea of what classes you may need 

1 year of general chemistry 

1 year of general biology 

1 semester of organic chemistry 

1 semester of statistics 

1 semester of microbiology

1 semester of physiology

1 semester of anatomy 

 

Right from the start I suggest you aim for straight A's. Also begin to work on your clinical hours as soon as possible. Read the thread that was recently posted on how to get them during your undergrad. 

 

Goodluck!

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Rev is not correct - there are many pre-med programs which will not get you what you need to apply to PA school.

 

Having been a pre-med advisor in a past lifetime, I've seen a lot of programs which do not include common PA pre-reqs like biochem, A/P and stats.  Ending up ready to apply but without those pre-reqs will land you between a rock and a hard place.  Additionally, if you are on a pre-med track which does not include said programs in its course catalogue, then many schools will not allow financial aid to cover them since they are not degree requirements.

 

Your best bet is to look through course catalogues to find the degree that will get you the pre-reqs you need without needing to take them additionally on the side.  Maybe your school's pre-med concentration will cover that...mine certainly did not and thus I am limited in the schools that I can apply to this cycle.

 

Don't focus entirely on grades and neglect HCE.  Also I suggest getting on the PAEA directory right now and begin browsing for schools which favor "traditional" applicants like yourself, as opposed to schools which require/suggest high HCE hours.

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I did misspeak above.  Any SCIENCE prerequisite that will work for medical school will also work for PA school; the main focus of this point is to beware of 'nursing' science courses, which are often not acceptable, because the OP mentioned considering RN as a stepping stone to PA.

As I did mention above, there are PA school prerequisites not covered by a Pre-med, but I've never heard of having financial aid denied for such prerequisites when you're taking them as part of a degree program, even if they do constitute electives--things like stats and basic psychology are often general education requirements, applicable to any degree program, and I can't imagine a premed degree objecting to A&P and Biochem--if that really happens, it's news to me and I'd like to hear more specifics.

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It's posted above - I was able to take A/P 1 but about a year later I was denied financial aid for A/P 2 because the registrar began enforcing policy which states it would not allow direct aid to be applied to my bill for that class specifically because, as a pre-med, it was not part of my course catalogue.  I already had all of my electives out of the way.

 

So, it's not the degree rejecting anything, it is a matter of the school following rules for specific types of financial aid.  Btw, there is no pre-med degree, it's just a concentration of core classes.  The degree itself would be something more general like biology, chemistry, underwater basket weaving, etc.

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