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Does PA seem a good fit for me?

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So a little background about myself first...I'm 27, got my B.A. in Economics from UC Davis and used to be pre-med. I worked as an EMT for approximately 2 years while in college...mostly full-time but part-time towards the end due to increasing courseloads. I have no idea how many hours I worked...for at least 1 year of that time as an EMT, I did 2 24-hour shifts back to back on the weekend while going to community college before transferring to Davis. If you do the math on that times 52 weeks, that's north of 2,000 hours. I started doing 24-32 hours a week though with 8 hour shifts, so worst case scenario, I think I probably have at least 3,000 hours of HCE.


While finishing up UC Davis, I also tried to do paramedic school, as at the time I was in love with EMS and decided paramedic would be a better fit for me than being a doctor. This ended up being a trainwreck for what is probably one of the weirdest reasons imaginable. I finished the didactive portion of paramedic school at the top of my class...I think about 92% or 93% for the entire 7-month program. I did great in clinicals. During the field internship, I was also doing great. The only problem is that my preceptor got fired for a bogus reason from AMR while I was doing my internship. I couldn't find another preceptor in time and they kicked me out of the program for not having a preceptor. Go figure. There is more to the story than that of course but not much more. My preceptor was fired for allegedly making threatening gestures and statements to his partner (she was the one who filed a complaint). I wrote a letter of what happened, which was in support of him, since he actually didn't threaten her or say any of the stuff that she claimed. Why she did it was because they got into a simple argument and he pissed her off. Anyway, I think the paramedic school, who was owned by AMR, intentionally kicked me out in retaliation for supporting my preceptor. To cut a long story short, basically I have EMT experience and some paramedic exposure.


I'm thinking about PA again because of where I'm at career-wise. After I graduated from Davis, I basically walked away from EMS due to being disgusted with the aforementioned and having no interest in making $10/hour as an EMT for the rest of my life. I got a job in insurance premium auditing, which pays pretty decently, but I'm certainly not in love with it. The more time that goes by, the more I realize that I miss medicine. I don't really miss EMS too much but I definitely miss medicine. I miss treating patients and helping find solutions for their medical problems. One of the big reasons I wanted to do paramedicine is because you could actually develop basic treatment plans, and carry them out, whereas with EMT you basically just give oxygen and take vital signs. PA interests me for this reason because you can do a lot of the same things that doctors can without the incredible financial debt and time line.


Please don't mistake this for me thinking PA is a shortcut....I am fully confident I could do medical school if I wanted to. I just have no interest in going $250,000-500,000 in debt and spending 7+ years of my life to do it. I really don't have an interest in being a career student. There are about 4 or 5 PA schools near me too (I live next to Santa Cruz, CA) and only 1 medical school nearby that is virtually impossible to get into (Stanford). This plays into it too, as I own a townhome with my wife and I don't want to uproot her life to advance my career. I'm also confident she'd leave me and keep the house if I did want to do medical school anyway. Not necessarily because she doesn't love me, but because not everyone wants to be a martyr for their spouse's career, and I can't really say I blame her.


Anyway, there's my background. I think I'd be a lot happier back in medicine and I have no interest in EMS or medical school for the aforementioned reasons. I think PA would be a great fit because of the far more reasonable cost and training time, the ability to diagnose and treat patients rather than just transport them, and the lateral mobility of the profession. I didn't mention it already, so here's my grades since I'm sure those will affect whether this is feasible or not. For UC Davis, overall GPA was 3.5. I didn't take much science at UCD but my overall GPA for UCD + community college was about a 3.8. I think my science GPA for community college was about the same. I was a bio major before I switched to econ so I took gen chem 1 & 2 (A & A), algebra 1 & 2 (A & A), sociology (A), psychology (A) and at UCD I took general biology (A). I also took systemic physiology at UCD...I'd have to check my transcript on that one. It was either a B- or a B. I haven't taken microbiology or a stand alone anatomy class yet. Due to the importance of it, I'd probably retake physiology too. I think that's about it for academic requirements for PA school. I have not taken the GRE or any sort of admissions exam. Thanks for your input in advance, I really do appreciate it.

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Thanks for sharing where you are. Hopefully, some more qualified people will reply to your question. I'm a PrePA, so most of this is conjecture based on my own investigation into the schooling and the profession. Here's a few quick thoughts:

1) Have you shadowed a PA yet? I'm sure that in your EMS experience you've come across PAs but following them around, watching them do their job, and talking with them about it will answer your question better than any reply here can.

2) I'm probably reading too much into this, but make sure your wife would be on board for PA school as well. Its intense. It would be hard to try and figure out a relational change of that magnitude in the middle of PA school.

3) Good HCE and good grades definitely help your application. To me (again, not even a PA student yet, just a PrePA) if the rest of your upper level science grades track with your current ones you'll be in good shape

4) You might consider finding a way to finish you Paramedic. Now, I'm speaking way out of any area of knowledge, BUT it seems like there area f ew reasons why that would be good: a) You will get a better job in health care while you're waiting to get into school. Better pay than EMT-B, better role per your description, better field than office work per your description. Doesn't have to be EMS, there are plenty of EDs that will hire you as a medic. b) If I were a admission committee, I would like to see you finish what you start, no matter how hard/weird/frustrating it got. I understand feeling burnt out, but if I have a stack of 2000 people to weed through, people who consistantly finish things will stay in the stack longer than people who do not. c) Another certification level looks good on an application. Paramedic has more training and more responsiblity than EMT-B, therefore it looks better.

5) Focus your question. It sounds like you are somewhat convinced about being a PA. Do you have a specific reservation? Is there an aspect of it you don't like? What kind of feed back/affirmation/critique are you looking for? Focusing this might let some of the more qualified people respond to this post in a more helpful way.


Again, take this with a grain of salt, hunt here and elsewhere for more info and more insight, and good luck!

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This plays into it too, as I own a townhome with my wife and I don't want to uproot her life to advance my career. I'm also confident she'd leave me and keep the house if I did want to do medical school anyway. Not necessarily because she doesn't love me, but because not everyone wants to be a martyr for their spouse's career, and I can't really say I blame her.


Definitely make sure she is on board with you going to PA school if you feel that way. You will most likely have a lot less time for her while in PA school than you would in med school.

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