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So I decided to go PA...


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I've considered MD for the longest time because I wanted to have my own practice and prestige, but I'd rather go with a career where I can have more personal time as well as make a difference in patients' lives. But now I'm stuck. I have a 3.20 science GPA, 3.70 non science gpa, and a cumulative 3.35 GPA. I live in california. Do I have a good chance of getting into charles drew or western? Also, I've only taken a few upper division science courses and all the pre-reqs needed for the MCAT (physics, gen chem with lab, o chem with lab, math, etc) What should I do? I'd like some guidance, please. Thanks a ton for any response.

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I think you are picking PA for the wrong reasons. Most of my PA coworkers work more hours than the docs and often 2 jobs. Our schedule is also much less flexible than the docs. Look around this forum, there are plenty of posts about the number of hours we all work. The idea that PA's have more "personal time" is a myth. This is dependent on job, specialty, etc and varies among PA'S and docs.

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Agree with the above. If you have ever wanted the prestige, MD may be your best choice because you may not ever receive it a PA. In some positions, especially surgical, PAs don't have the flexibility you are looking for. In others, PAs are viewed as colleagues and pull charts from the same acuity rack (search EMEDPA posts). If you want more personal time, consider a career that offers shift work where your hours are controlled, whether it's nursing, PA/NP, or MD. As DogLivingPA suggested, look around on this forum because there is plenty of good info from actual PAs.

 

Have you ever shadowed a PA? That may be a good second step after your research.

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You won't have more free time than a MD, likely less. Imagine you are an MD hiring a PA. Are you hiring them so they can have a nice lifestyle and be off for holidays, weekends, night, or so you can be off? Maybe you'll work for a hospital or group. They just see everyone as a cog in a money making machine and you'll work equally as much or more because you generate the same revenue but for less wages.

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Based on  your science GPA I'd say no, you do not have a good chance of getting into CA PA programs though you did not provide enough information (HCE, PCE, extracurriculars etc)

Agree with the others that you need to closely examine your motivations for wanting to be a PA but if you decide to what you need to do is take the remaining prereqs (anatomy, phys, micro etc) and get A's to increase your chances of admission from a GPA pt. of view

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I agree in that PA work hours will depend on specialty, location, and yourself. Same goes for MD. Where I work, the PAs pretty much work the same hours as MDs. However as a PA, school will only take 2 years and there's no residency, so in a way you are getting more personal time. 

 

Have you done any direct patient care, volunteering, shadowing PAs/MDs, GRE? If not, I would start there. You probably have taken many of the pre reqs, but most likely you will need to take anatomy and physiology I and II, medical terminology, a psychology class, etc. Schools vary in pre-reqs so you should look up some PA schools you may be interested in and check their pre-reqs. 

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   Given the way things have been trending for the last 5-10 years and continue to trend, owning your own practice isn't impossible, but it is gonna be tough, even tougher if you go PA. If prestige is your motivating factor, you'll never get what you feel you deserve, no matter which path you take. Work/life balance depends largely on what kind of job you get and in what specialty and whether you're salary or hourly. I agree with what's been said about free time. I don't know who started the myth about PAs having more time to spend with families, but I'd leave that out of your personal statement.

 

You'll make a difference no matter what you choose, though. If I were you I'd set myself up for both. Take the MCAT, keep working on your GPA, shadow everyone you can and see where you stand. I can't speak for California schools, but you've prob got the stats to get in somewhere.

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