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Looking to make a switch from pre-dental to pre-PA and seeking advice


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I'm currently considering refocusing my pursuit to become a dentist and transitioning over to pursuing becoming a physician assistant. I do have a couple of questions though. I graduated this past spring with a bachelors in finance, however I've taken all the prerequisites needed for dental school. However, I'm not sure it's in the cards for me anymore. I'm taking a hard look at PA school, however I had some questions that I was hoping some of you may be able to answer. I need a couple of classes before I'm able to apply, and was considering taking them at my local community college so that I can save money and an extremely long commute it'd take to travel to the nearest university. The prerequisites I have remaining are developmental/abnormal psychology, statistics (I have credits for business statistics I & II, not elementary statistics), medical terminology, and microbiology. Would PA schools mind if I take those four courses at my local community college as opposed to a four year university? I've already taken Bio I & II at a community college back in high school for college credit, and while at university I took general chemistry I & II, organic chemistry I & II, anatomy & physiology I & II, calculus, and general psychology. I also took physics I & II over a summer back in 2014 at a local community college. My current overall GPA sits at a 3.43 and my science GPA is a 3.21.

My second question is in regards to the direct patient contact experience hours. I was considering becoming certified this summer after completion of those four classes as a EMT. I thought about taking the 10 credits it'd take in order to become certified as an EMT at my local community college, and then work for the following two semesters to build up my hours. I'd then apply that summer for PA school. I have 1,500-2,000 hours of volunteering already (medical mission trip to Honduras, building a library in Ghana, several pre-health honor society and club events). Is this an efficient route at applying to PA school and accruing the direct patient contact hours I'd need in order to apply and be a competitive applicant?

I'd be greatly appreciative of any help you all are able to provide me. I'm sure most of you are quite experienced and have far more knowledge about where I probably stand in my current situation, and the best route to take from here. I'm hoping I can get the advice needed in order to become a competitive applicant and possibly gain acceptance into PA school.

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Personally I took med term and anatomy at a CC and I've had a few interview invitations and acceptances. I've heard other people say yes, it does look better if you take it at a 4 year. But for me I couldn't afford to take classes at a 4 yr. I would contact the programs you're interested in and ask for their opinion if you want to be sure.

 

I would consider taking an EMT course at a private institution. I finished my course in 4 weeks, and I know there are 3 week accelerated courses too. They are expensive- maybe about $1,000-$1,500, but to me it was worth it to just FINISH it fast and start accruing my hours. When I applied I knew my GPA was a weak point and I needed more hours. Most schools will require 500-1000 hours (more on the 1,000 side) to even apply, some more. And the ones that require 0-500, if you look at their admitted applicants, they will have on average usually 2,000+ hours.

It's great that you have tons of volunteering hours but they will not count toward direct patient care hours (depending on your role at the medical mission).

 

One last thing- I noticed you said "apply that summer." PA applications open up in April, and a good chunk of schools do rolling admissions so it would behoove you to apply sooner rather than later. And once you submit your application, you would have to update hours straight to the school I believe....

 

Good luck on your transition :)

 

 

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Personally I took med term and anatomy at a CC and I've had a few interview invitations and acceptances. I've heard other people say yes, it does look better if you take it at a 4 year. But for me I couldn't afford to take classes at a 4 yr. I would contact the programs you're interested in and ask for their opinion if you want to be sure.

 

I would consider taking an EMT course at a private institution. I finished my course in 4 weeks, and I know there are 3 week accelerated courses too. They are expensive- maybe about $1,000-$1,500, but to me it was worth it to just FINISH it fast and start accruing my hours. When I applied I knew my GPA was a weak point and I needed more hours. Most schools will require 500-1000 hours (more on the 1,000 side) to even apply, some more. And the ones that require 0-500, if you look at their admitted applicants, they will have on average usually 2,000+ hours.

It's great that you have tons of volunteering hours but they will not count toward direct patient care hours (depending on your role at the medical mission).

 

One last thing- I noticed you said "apply that summer." PA applications open up in April, and a good chunk of schools do rolling admissions so it would behoove you to apply sooner rather than later. And once you submit your application, you would have to update hours straight to the school I believe....

 

Good luck on your transition :)

 

 

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What private institutions are you speaking of? I'm from Alabama, so I'm not sure if there are any near me. I have a community college that offers an EMT program that's 10 credits worth and I could complete it this coming summer. However, I haven't been able to find anything about 3-4 week accelerated courses. I'd be highly interested in that if available though. 

 

Thanks for letting me know about the PA application process as well. If I do the courses to become an EMT, I'll only have worked August to April and logged those hours before I apply if I'm able to land a job as an EMT afterwards that is. I'm not sure if that'll be enough, but is it worth a shot? My top two schools would be UAB and South Alabama, neither of which have 1,000 minimum. Although the average accepted applicant has 1,000-1,100 hours. I don't really want to sit out a year of applying just to log more hours if I'll already have over 500 by then.

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Guest GoyaHoya69

What private institutions are you speaking of? I'm from Alabama, so I'm not sure if there are any near me. I have a community college that offers an EMT program that's 10 credits worth and I could complete it this coming summer. However, I haven't been able to find anything about 3-4 week accelerated courses. I'd be highly interested in that if available though.

 

Thanks for letting me know about the PA application process as well. If I do the courses to become an EMT, I'll only have worked August to April and logged those hours before I apply if I'm able to land a job as an EMT afterwards that is. I'm not sure if that'll be enough, but is it worth a shot? My top two schools would be UAB and South Alabama, neither of which have 1,000 minimum. Although the average accepted applicant has 1,000-1,100 hours. I don't really want to sit out a year of applying just to log more hours if I'll already have over 500 by then.

"I don't want to sit out a year of applying just to log more hours if I'll already have over 500 by then." This is the wrong mentality to have, my friend. PCE is not just some formality that PA applicants need to get into a program - it is legitimately valuable. Additionally, having over 1000 hours opens the doors to so many more programs. Why limit yourself to 2? If you wanna shell out money, time, and effort on an application with only 500 PCE hours, go for it. But don't be surprised if you don't get in and need to re-apply the following year. Good luck.

 

 

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What private institutions are you speaking of? I'm from Alabama, so I'm not sure if there are any near me. I have a community college that offers an EMT program that's 10 credits worth and I could complete it this coming summer. However, I haven't been able to find anything about 3-4 week accelerated courses. I'd be highly interested in that if available though.

 

Thanks for letting me know about the PA application process as well. If I do the courses to become an EMT, I'll only have worked August to April and logged those hours before I apply if I'm able to land a job as an EMT afterwards that is. I'm not sure if that'll be enough, but is it worth a shot? My top two schools would be UAB and South Alabama, neither of which have 1,000 minimum. Although the average accepted applicant has 1,000-1,100 hours. I don't really want to sit out a year of applying just to log more hours if I'll already have over 500 by then.

I'm not sure how you could find a private accelerated course in Alabama...but I took mine in California at a place called CIEMT.

 

I agree with GoyaHoya- PCE is VERY important to the profession. I also understand where you're coming from. I was (and still am) very anxious and excited to start my PA career. All I can say is that it doesn't hurt to try applying and the worst that will happen is that you'll accrue more valuable experience for the cycle the following year. I have known people to get in to multiple programs with less than a 1000 hours.

 

 

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