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Athletic Trainer interested in PA

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I am am currently practicing as a Certified Athletic Trainer. I received a BS in Athletic Training and a MEd in Health Education. I have been practicing 5 years in the professional sport setting. GPA in undergrad was a 3.5 and 3.8 in grad school. I am in the process of looking into PA schools but wanted some insight from the forum on how my experience/ education stacks up. Thanks!

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Ten years ATC in HS. Now in year 2 of a 2 year PA program. 4 in my class. 4 of my ATC friends in school. The experience is a help but as my chair said get to know everyone, each has their own strong points. The past medics are the best at EKGs, ABGs and intubation, we had someone who worked in organ donation who was awesome at explaining surgical techniques, a few former nurses who had great insight on patient interview and care.

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I am an ATC who made the PA plunge. I graduated a couple months ago and now work in family practice. I had also become an EMT along the way. My level of preparedness for PA school was excellent. There were a few sections of our adult med and emergency med courses that I didn't need to study as intensively because of my background. This allowed me more time to focus on stuff that was completely new/harder. During the physical exam portion of didactic year, I had a relatively easy time because almost 1/4 of the course was covering exams dedicated to the various major joints. I even had the honor of helping my classmates prepare for the exams - I didn't need to practice a Lachman's or McMurray's cause I'd been doing them for years. Now in practice, I find that almost 1/3 of what I do is musculoskeletal care (partly because my colleagues refer their complex or acute/non-obvious joint injuries to me - not to say that I always get the right answer). Best of luck to you.



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  • 1 month later...

13 years as an ATC, mostly college football. just finished 1st semester of PA school 1 of 4 ATs in my class. I think our background serves us well. We generally have a broad based experience is a lot of areas of medicine, just not in the depth you will get in PA school. Also I think our experience interacting with patients, as well as with physicians is a benefit as well. Anatomy background helped in cadaver this semester. Nothing is like PA school, but having a previous graduate degree I think also is a positive. Bottom line- go for it.

I loved athletic training for a long time, but going to PA school is the best professional decision I've ever made.


My weakest area was the core sciences ( biochem, immunology). Obviously prereqs vary from school to school, but if you didn't have those classes as part of your undergrad experience, they, plus microbio are worth taking to prepare for school,even if you don't technically need to to apply. Working in pro sports, I can appreciate your relative lack of time to take more prereqs if you don't need them to apply. I took O Chem, and it helped some, but I feel biochem was more beneficial. I wish I had taken an immunology course, but managed to get through it.


Best of luck. Feel free to PM if you want to talk some more

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