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Hello!

i know questions about hce are probably so common on this forum. I'm really new to the pre-pa discussion so I apologize. I'm having a bit of a crisis and I'm not sure how to do what's best for pa school and myself and "do right by my education" so to speak. I'm graduating this May with a Clinical Laboratory Science bachelors degree at UNC- Chapel Hill. I've been offered a full time job working in a hospital lab and they'll be paying me $22/hr. I didn't know I wanted to do PA school until very recently so I have pre-requisites that are unfinished and I have ZERO patient care hours. I'm trying to figure out what my options are right now because I've heard that EMT experience is some of the best you get but I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the idea of turning down my lab job and just working as an EMT instead, likely cutting my salary almost in half. Like what if I turn this job down, and I don't get hired as an EMT, then I'm job-less. I just worked so hard in college for this lab degree the idea of never using it is frustrating the heck out of me. So, any advice or ideas would be much appreciated.

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You have to be certified before you become an EMT, passing the NREMT test and psychomotor exam.  I would take the hospital job and take the classes to become EMT at the same time, pass the exam, then look for EMT/ERT work.  You can leave the hospital job once you secure the EMT one.  You are not guaranteed work just because you are certified as an EMT-B.  I sure wasn't.  Became a hemodialysis technician instead (no certification required), got my HCE hours there.  That was last summer 2016, starting PA school May 2018.

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Another option is to find volunteer work where you can dedicate time on the weekends to gain hce. I wouldn't leave your lab job because that is pretty good money and will allow you to save up toward a PA program, even application fees, maybe later on you can go part time lab and part time emt. Maybe even your degree will allow you to move into a science field that does research with patient interaction such as collecting samples and taking vitals.

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I agree with Ket131! Work in the lab while geting your EMT certification and then find a job to gain HCE (you will actually learn a lot of useful things working in a lab. I worked in a clinical chemistry lab prior to becoming a ER tech). Employeers will be looking for prior job experience and solid recommendations from your previous managers thus the lab job is a great stepping stone towards gaining HCE. This plan may take a little longer than you hoped (I would estimate 2 years minimum), however, it will pay off. You could graduate in May, start you job in the lab, sign up for an EMT course, become EMT certified, and be hired in EMS by the end of 2018. Then work for a year (~2,000 hours of HCE) and apply in 2020. 

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I really appreciate everyone's advice! I've bee really stressed about being "late in the game" with HCE and not wanting to waste my Laboratory education. Im actually already EMT certified I just haven't used the credential so I'm planning on taking an online refresher course this spring so when I graduate and take the lab job I may be able to find an ambulance service to volunteer with on the weekends!

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