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Hey everyone,


I currently work as a Medical Laboratory Scientist  in the hematology department at a 900+ bed hospital. I don’t interact directly with patients but I do tons of work for patients while utilizing clinical knowledge. I feel this is a great pre-PA job but I understand admission committees might not think the same way. 


My question is should I quit my job and work as an EMT or MA? It would be hard to walk away from a 60k salary but I’m willing to make the sacrifice if necessary. 


Thanks in advance.

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I would say it depends on how many PCE hours you need and in how short of a time frame. If you need the PCE hours as fast as possible, might be worth while to quit and go full time in a patient care position. If you have more time you could do a combo of the two jobs. If you worked 24 hours a week for one year in a PCE position, that would put you at 1,248 hours in one year. Just an example for your consideration. The amount of PCE hours you will need will also depend on the school selection that you plan on applying to.

Personally I had worked part time as and EKG tech for a few years, then got a full time job as a med technologist and went PRN with EKG to keep accruing hours since both jobs were valuable in my eyes. 

While the income is important, especially in preparing for PA school, if you don't have the PCE hours needed to get accepted, that won't really matter much. 

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You have to be willing to apply to the right programs (i.e MOVE if necessary).   I had about a year of phlebotomy with my many years of lab experience and my HCE/PCE did not hold me back.

There are schools that list HCE/PCE that they allow vs those that they don't count.  Plenty include MT/MLS.

I know that generally speaking people don't consider phlebotomy to be good PCE and on paper, sure.  But honestly it has not hindered me in any way.  I'm sure much of the concern comes with accepting students who might realize in the middle of PA school that they don't like working with patients, and I suppose that's a risk, but there are programs who see the value in the experience.

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It will depend on the schools you apply to. I used to work in a similar position and I emailed programs I am intersted in to aks if my job would count towards PCE. The answer was no because I did not interact with patients. Obviously there is a big financial aspect to this, but I took the pay cut in order to persue my dreams. Starting figuring out where you might apply and see what sort of PCE you need. 

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I had this same dilemma and ultimately had to quit my MLS job to work as a scribe. I had to relocate cities and move back in with my parents to do this. So I feel your pain....

Contact each of the programs you plan on applying to. Programs with a minimum # of hours will prob say that your MLS experience, though inherently valuable, does not meet their requirements for PCE. Not every school has requirements, and some may even count it. It never hurts to ask. 

If you do end up having to leave your lab job, then when you interview, be sure to include the fact that you gave up a comfortable salary to take an entry-level job in order to expand your patient experience. This shows dedication.

Good luck to you in whichever you chose! 

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