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To keep a long story short - I am 24 years old and attending South University in Savannah, GA for Psychology. I originally wanted to do something along the lines of neurology, psychiatry, or pathology.

 

Ultimately, I have gained an extreme interest in becoming a PA. My main concerns are my chances of acceptance into a PA program - specifically the program provided at South University in Savannah, GA.

 

I do not have any experience in the medical field. I've worked at Gulfstream Aerospace (a very good job/position) in Savannah for almost 3 years. I make about $60,000 per year in my current position, so it would be hard for me to leave to become something like an EMT to gain experience in a field and still having the possibility of not even being accepted into the program.

 

By the time I finish my undergrad, my resume when applying to the PA program will look something along the lines of: 3.4 GPA, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (yes, I know it's not science, but I will take all the prerequisites), with no real-life experience. Also, I will be 27 years old, which seems a tad old.

 

What are the chances of me being accepted with a decent GPA, bachelors in Psych, and no experience?

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Not sure if this is the correct forum, but I will try to help.

I had an undergrad in psych as well--it did not hurt my chances, as the degree was not something the program saw in many applicants, and they were looking for diversity. I took all the pre-reqs after I had graduated with my first degree. I was also around 27 when I was accepted to the program. That said, my GPA was 3.75 and I had significant medical experience experience in the military.

If you are serious about being a PA, I suspect you will have to have serious medical experience. I know a lot of pre-PA and pre-med students that work either part-time or full-time as medical scribes. I would look into that personally; it is an excellent way to see what actually goes on in medical practice. If you aren't willing to gain medical experience, or simply can't...good luck to you.

 

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This comment belongs under the student section.

B.A. in Psych with a 3.4 in my opinion is not so great (that is not a very hard degree) compared to a B.S. in cell and molecular biology or biochemistry. You need experience in the health care field preferably EMT-P, RN, RRT, but MA/Scribe, etc do count with SOME schools. 27 is NOT old, the average age in my program was 34. 

I would get at least a 3.5 gpa or > in the science courses and take a few extra like genetics, microbiology, biochem, molecular bio, physics, etc. to make your application look stronger as you do not have good HCE. Good luck!

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Your degree can be in whatever you like as long as you take the pre-requisites.  Mine is in something totally unrelated to science. 

If you don't have any hard science or other pre-reqs yet, then you aren't as far along as you may think.  You're looking at several more years, especially with HCE becoming more and more important each year.  

You're on about a four-year plan post graduate if you don't want to quit your job.  That time will be spent taking pre-reqs and accumulating hours.

To your question - your chances?  Very low.  Nearly everyone will have a cum 3.5+, 3.4+ ScGPA, and a couple thousand hours.  Minimum.  Those stats place you in the bottom 15% or so.  Easily fixed, but that's not what you were asking. 

Are there programs that take people "holistically" or with zero hours?  Yes, I went to one of them, in my mid-40s I might add. It sucked and was expensive as hell.  However, they were raided and the leadership team all fired the year I graduated, so all bets are off.

Mods may wish to move this to proper forum for best chance of proper responses.  Good luck!

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Sorry for posting in the wrong place!

Anyways, thanks for the answers. I only used 3.4 GPA as an example. I just began my classes, not even on my first day yet. I’ve had a huge interest in psychology (on my 16th book so far) and think I’ll do extremely well - just wanted to give a ballpark GPA.

My main concern is not having the clinical experience. In an ideal world, I’ll finish my undergrad online, save up the next 3 years, then quit my job to take my extra prerequisites and possibly try for a medical job then. My only concern is not being able to get a medical job, since most takes even more schooling. So I’m kind of in a corner when it comes to hands-on experience, except for possibly shadowing.

I’m hoping I can get in with a good GPA, good GRE, but no experience. I would hate to quit my job to get some experience and ultimately not get accepted into the program. That’s my biggest concern.

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You need to get some solid, hands-on patient care experience before applying to PA school. Trying to skirt that requirement cheapens what it takes to become a PA and ends up hurting the profession in the long run. It may not be easy or convenient, but it is doable with the right planning and perseverance. Plus, how will you know you actually enjoy taking care of people medically without trying it first?

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Here's the deal: you already go to Southern!  Why not get up from your computer, walk over to the PA program office, and make an appointment to talk with a faculty member (like the director or academic coordinator)? The rest of us mostly went to other programs so best get it from the horse's mouth. And some schools even give an edge to their own undergrad students, have you volunteer to be a simulated patient for their testing, etc.

Second, you will have to get patient care experience and you are anything but too old to start. Without it, how can you really be certain that you want to deal with people who are plainly not at their best? (It's not always like on TV, after all.) I was 58 when I started PA school and several of my recent PA students have been in their late 30s and mid 40s. 

Third, you don't have to quit your non-medical job to do this: I didn't. It may take more calendar time, but so be it. My degrees are in engineering and I had a good job that I didn't want to leave while I prepared for PA school. I did the EMT-then-paramedic route in 9-1-1 services, first as a volunteer for 10 years and later as part-time paid for 7 years more before I applied. I wasn't waiting to get a certain amount of experience; I didn't know that I wanted to be a PA until the start of those last 7 years. I'm still a part-time medic 12 years later.

In conclusion, what you want to do is doable, you have local resources to investigate, and you don't have to quit your well-paying job to do it. You do have to be resourceful, do well in school, and be patient with the time and effort required.

Good luck!

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