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CNA @ Dr's Office VS Respiratory Therapist (My dilemma)


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Hey guys it's me again looking for advice.

 

As you guys know from my previous thread http://www.physicianassistantforum.com/forums/showthread.php/32760-Graduated-with-a-degree-in-Bio-Wanting-to-be-a-PA/page2?highlight=

 

I have my bio degree looking to get into PA. My Overall GPA is 2.86 (2.69 from university + 3.0 from community college) so I'm trying to hit the magic 3.0 mark. Recently I got a job as CNA at a well known Drs Office. For now I am just doing vitals, rooming patients, going over their meds and asking them what they are in for. Over time they said they will teach me how to do EKGs, Draw blood and other things as well. This is a pretty cool gig for me because I work with a Dr and a NP (Who both already told me they would love to write letter of recommendations) and they both tell me what to do and what they need.

 

My Dilemma comes from wanting to take classes. This job is a full time job. The local university and local community college don't have night classes for Phys I & II, Chem I & II and Calculus. Those are the classes that I need to get A's to get that magic 3.0. (Taking 2 years overall to retake them) Is there a way around this? Do online classes count?

 

Heres another thing - I recently applied for a Respiratory Therapist program (45mins away) and won't hear back until March. If I were to get into the program I would definitely get straight A's for 4 semesters which would exceed my magic 3.0 goal. I would have to quit my CNA job if I were to get in.

 

My Dilemma comes from I will be broke and without a job and I'd have to work for 2 more years as an RT to get experience in HCE which would mean I'd be 29 when I start applying as opposed to 27 If I kept the CNA job while TRYING to find night classes

 

I guess my question is, what would look better over all? What would benefit me in the long run? I just need some advice on what to do. Also I just got the CNA job yesterday...I would feel terrible if I had to quit 5 months later.

 

Help?

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I actually applied and got in to RT school as a backup to PA school. I must say if you are green do RT first then apply to PA school. Some might argue this is the long way but you get really good HCE vs CNA and you get paid pretty well. It is a two year program that is very rigorous...my RT friends from PA school said it was almost as tough as PA school...they all did great btw. If you are simply trying to rack up the mandatory HCE hours for PA school I would suggest staying at your job for a couple of years. It sounds like you are a MA moreso than a CNA.

 

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Tough situation. One thing to consider, do you have any idea what field you may wish to practice in after PA school?

 

If you are dead-set on primary care, I would stick with your current MA gig for a few years, it should smooth transition. There are also some online options for Chem/Calculus (see threads on this forum). More important than that though, I'd say is getting As in A&P and Microbiology.

 

If however you may see yourself as more of a critical care, CT surg, hospital-medicine PA in the future, go RT without a doubt.

 

Either way, getting some solid years of HCE will set you up well, I got in with a 3.18, as did many on this forum, so it can be done.

 

Good luck and keep at it.

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The amount of critical knowledge coupled with the understanding of difficult complexities of the human body that you would gain as an RT would be an invaluable asset in PA school. Plus, if PA didnt work out, you would have a fine fall back job.

 

I second this! I was all set to start RT school (even joined some RT forums) and B A M! I got into PA school. RTs make some nice coin too. I have friends who pull in 75k per year working 3 days a week...not bad at all if u ask me...

 

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I am a PA-I who was a former RT (worked for 4 years). I agree all with the above. Plus you might not lose 2 full years of income. Check with the school and the state laws. It is likely that you can get a job after the first year (once you've been in clinicals for a little bit). I was able to work for a full year before graduation. My job title was respiratory therapy assistant and I did general floor care. And you could work as much or as little as you want (I usually worked one 12 hr shift a week, but sometimes I worked 3 12's). It is harder than people think, but likely you'll do well and it'll be a grade booster. Good luck in your decision!

 

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A good way to look at it is that with the bare minimum GPA, it may take you 2-3 application cycles to get in. What if you still don't get in even then? You could finish the RT program in that time. It sure would be nice to have that backup RT career, making twice as much, to keep you going until you get in(or even if you decide it's not for you after all). This route could potentially be longer but you have to keep the big picture in mind.

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One thing to consider is RT school is no guarantee and selection is limited. I Actually got waitlisted first then they told me someone dropped from the accepted list so its no shoo-in by any means. Also the curriculum is tough so if u do it be committed. Aboout the MCAT, it depends on the school. It may hurt also.

 

Good luck n keep us posted

 

@ PAMAC: I know right...although in my area that's below starting salary for PAs but that's only 3 days (12hr shifts). Some of them work 2 jobs and pull in much mail!.

 

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