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Non-Traditional Pre-PA Looking for Advice

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Hi all,
I did a search on this forum, but I am seeking advice specific to my situation, so apologies if you have already answered some similar questions. I am truly non-traditional in that I have taken zero pre-reqs. I currently work in finance (26yrs old - have been working in finance for 4yrs) and am looking to make the switch to pre-PA and (try) to get into a PA program. I am thinking about quitting my finance job soon to go full force into my pre-PA endeavors. The big question is - when should I quit, and if I quit now, what are my chances of getting in the next cycle?

If I quit in September I think the chances would be slim to get in the next cycle... (but I think there's a small chance!) I would take:
Gen Bio and Gen Chem in Fall 2017
Gen Bio 2, Gen Chem 2, Phys and Anat 1 in Spring 2018
Phys and Anat II and BioChem or Microbiology in Summer 2018 and then mark "In Progress" for the other class and perhaps one other class in Fall 2018 (i.e. Genetics or Org Chem.. I've already taken Psych 101 and AP Calc/Statistics in college)
I would get a certification as either EKG tech or CNA in the fall as well and hope to begin working per diem in the winter ASAP - I could maybe gain 500+ paid HCE hours
My undergrad GPA was a 3.8 and I'm generally a good student so think I could keep my GPA up there.

The other option would be to completely opt out of trying to get in the next cycle and quit late December and start taking classes in Spring 2018. My current finance job pays well so I would try and save up as much as possible. I know this is probably the smarter option but I'm pretty over my current job and so excited about getting on the pre-PA track! Does anyone think I would have a chance of getting in the next cycle if I quit my current finance job in September?

Thank you so much!

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Do you have any healthcare experience? Most programs require it.

Have you shadowed PAs to know what the career is like? I heartily recommend it.

As far as prereqs, based on my experience, I recommend that you consider staying in your present job and saving up the money. Try not to quit until you get accepted into a program. Consider taking your prereqs part-time. You'll be on the path.

Good luck.

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Thank you for your reply!

I have spoken to multiple PA's both via phone call and in person and will be shadowing a few in the ER next month to get a better feel if its something I definitely want to do. I also just started volunteering in the ER this month.

I am planning on taking pre-reqs part time, but it will be difficult with my current finance job as I typically work 10-12 hours per day and often have client events after work. I would only be able to take 1 class per semester so will eventually have to quit my job before getting accepted unless I want to wait 8 years.

As for human care experience I also plan to get paid hours before applying and will likely need to quit my current finance job in order to do so.

It seems like I should wait at least a few more months to get more shadowing/volunteer experience before quitting.

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I see.


Everyone has their own theories. Mine is to take small steps and see how they makes you feel. Volunteer in a healthcare setting, shadow, take that first course. Be on as sound a ground as you can before you quit a well-payng job. You'll never know everything before you take a leap, but learn as much as you practically can.


If your current job is so demanding, consider changing to a financial job that would make it easier to prepare for PA school without having to depend on a low wage, bottom rung healthcare job. Lots of people have to take that route but you may have a better choice.


Good luck!



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Seems like you're really trying to squeeze it in to two years. I'd recommend not; those potential schedules are brutal. Have you taken any science classes? A lot of them, and particularly the commonly required ones, are brutal for most students. Each class takes a while to study for and to do well you need to be really focused on. Then trying to fit in your medical hours in too, and it's gonna be tough.


Especially if you apply next year. You'll have a ton of your prereqs in progress which is the same as having a big question mark over your head for schools.

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@ emoorefi

I was in your shoes. Graduated with a BS in Management and worked as a medical device representative for three years before coming to the conclusion that I wanted to be on the other side of my pitches... realized I enjoyed the patient contact aspect of my position significantly more than chasing the ever-increasing quotas and wanted to be a provider.

Deliberated between nursing, PA, and med school... I worked intimately with all of them which helped me understand which position I'd most prefer. Fortunately I had much flexibility in my sales role so I was able to take my prerequisites at night without issue. 

Left my position in March of '16, began working as an nursing aid, finished prereqs, and submitted my CASPA in late September. Fortunately, I received interview invites to 8/11 of the programs for which I applied. Attended the first two and was accepted to both - one of which was my top choice. Declined the others.

My program hasn't started yet and, financially, it would have behooved me to maintain my sales position for a while longer. However, I truly believe that the admissions committees appreciated my decision to walk away from a very attractive compensation package to work for $11/hr as an LNA. I think it shows how badly you want to make the transition... literally putting your money where your mouth is, so to speak. I burned through much of my savings over the course of the past ~15 months and will be staring down some hefty fed student loans, but I am still so incredibly happy and excited that I will be getting into this field of work. 

As for the prereqs, I took Organic Chem, Micro, Gen Bio II, & Medical Terminology over the ~8 week summer term immediately prior to submitting CASPA application. Did this while working 10pm-6am shifts (3x/week) at my assisted living facility and also shadowing at the hospital as much as possible. It was a bear, but it's doable. Just don't expect to see your friends. 

Most importantly, I echo UGoLong's sentiment... shadow as much as you can. Be 100% sure that you want a career in healthcare - and then make sure that the PA route is the one you want. Make sure you know exactly what you want before turning in that Letter of Resignation. 

Good luck with your decision! 



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Thank you for the honest feedback @Palurker .... It is a lot but I am ambitious and tend to set big goals for myself!

@rettikins Wow - getting those four classes while working night shifts sounds very tough... I am impressed!  Congrats on being offered interviews at 8/11 schools - that's amazing! Can you share what your GPA ended up being and how many paid HCE hours you ended up with at the time of your application? Did you have any classes "in progress" at the time of your application? And do you know if most of the schools you applied to had rolling admissions (I feel like the most I've been eyeing are rolling).

I too would be walking away from an attractive compensation package and I'm hoping this would help me to stand out and show admissions committees that this is something I really want (if I do decide its something I really want).

This leaves me with a lot to think about. I am planning on signing up for two weekend classes so that I can try and go for it if I decide now is the time.

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