Jump to content

Non-Traditional Route to PA School.


Recommended Posts

Just curious if there are any members out there that have been through a similar experience as mine, so figured I'd throw this out there and see what kind of feedback came back to me. I apologize in advance for the short story that follows. 

Long story short I graduated college in 2015 with a bachelors in health science but was never fully committed to PA school, until it was too late and as a result my grades were just "ok", and nothing spectacular. My degree also didn't require me to take some of the classes that many PA school programs require, so safe to say if I do ultimately decide to go back to the PA school route I have my work cut out for me in the pre-reqs department. I'd have about 10-12 classes of pre-reqs that I would have to take, as many will be past the "must be taken 5 years prior to application" date and then others which I have never taken before. In terms of HCE I have about 1200 as a ER scribe and 2200 as a CNA/critical care technician.

Now ever since graduating college I have been going back and forth between PA school and a orthopedic surgical sales rep. I always found the career of a ortho trauma rep to be interesting as you get to be present in all the ortho trauma cases in the OR and work directly with surgeons, and at the end of the day you are still improving upon a patients outlook (albeit, less direct than the impact PA's have on their patients.) I have a couple of friends in this industry who really enjoy their career because it is more than just "sales". They constantly study A&P, required to read medical journals, and are expected to have a large understanding of orthopedic/trauma knowledge. So one day after being sick and tired of being torn between the two career paths, I was impulsive and signed up for a surgical sales college which was basically a 8 week course that I took so I could gain a better understanding of the career and to see if it would be something that I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. Safe to say the course wasn't free and cost me a pretty penny. So at this point in my life, at 25 years of age, I feel as if I have to least explore the path of a surgical sales rep for a couple years to at least see if I enjoy it or not since I spent a lot of money on the course and mainly because it'd be impossible to tell if I would enjoy it or not without trying it first. I have heard both sides of the coin, from PA's who wish they did the surgical sales rep route who state " I should have gotten into surgical sales, those guys make way more than me". But then I have seen some guys who were sales reps and were over it so they went to PA school. Now one thing to mention is I'm not in it just for the money, as I believe that is the wrong reason to get into medicine. I realize both career paths are lucrative, but at the same time the path of a surgical sales rep is one that comes without debt. BUT at the same time I fear as a sales rep, I would lose some of that human connection that you would get with your patients as a PA. Because in the OR as sales rep, the patient doesn't even know you are there. And losing that patient connection is one thing that I know I would struggle with because back when I was working as a CNA, I loved the interactions I had with my patients and I loved going home knowing that I made a difference in their healing process. I have a genuine desire to help people which is one of the many reasons I considered PA school in the first place.

So here is where I am at now, I have a job opportunity to work with one of the best companies in orthopedic sales and its up to me whether I take it or not. So I think of it like this: I feel as if I have to at least explore this career path since 1. I spent quite a bit of money on a course for orthopedic sales and 2. I have an opportunity that has presented itself to me and if I don't take it, I will never know what could have been and I will be left wondering. At the very least I work as a rep for a couple of years to see if I like it, but if I end up hating it, at the very worst, its two years of experience I could add to my PA resume for diversity, I made great connections with surgeons that certainly wouldn't hurt for LOR's and I made some good money that I could use towards future pre-reqs and possibly help towards the pricey costs of PA school. 

So after mapping it all out, i figured that if after two years as a rep, I would re-evaluate things and if I hate it, I would be going back to school to complete PA school pre-reqs at 27 years of age. They would probably end up taking a good year in a half and then figure I would have to take the GRE. Considering I have my HCE covered and work as ortho trauma rep wouldn't necessarily count towards HCE, but wouldn't necessarily hurt either, I would ideally be starting PA school at 30 at the latest. Talk about a non-traditional route, but I know these routes do exist. 

I understand that a lot of this is me talking out loud and rambling, but I was just curious if after listening to my story, anyone else ever found themselves at this crossroads before, or one similar to it and how your faired in the long run. Appreciate those that read up until this point, and any advice that comes my way. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My advice to you would be to dabble in the position afforded to you. You're someone who is 25 years old, offered a well paying surgical sales rep gig and you still need to knock out some pre-req's before even being a contender for PA school. I started PA school at 29 and there were a couple of people in my class older than me. If PA is what you want to do in life, work for a few years as a sales rep making good money and sock away as much as you can into a high yield savings account. From there, slay the pre-req classes as well as possibly consider post-bac classes if you're GPA isn't competitive. If you do end up going to PA school, you could essentially pay for it out of pocket or come pretty damn close to it with the above plan. If you don't end up going, you will have put a way a ton of money and you're still left with a lucrative career. Win-win scenario. Let us know how it plays out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I say take the job, and if PA is something that you really want to do and is still in the back of your head , take prereqs while your working as a sales rep at a CC 1-2 a semester. So that way if after 2 years  you decided PA is what you really want to do than it will not take you until 30 to apply maybe 28. I knew I wanted to apply to PA school while completing my year post grad Volunteer but I decided to volunteer for a second year and during that second year I took classes at the CC because the degree I received I did not take a lot of the pre reqs.  I took what I could online (nutrition, medical terminology, psych, dev psych and a few others) and took the classes with labs on campus A&P I/II and Micro. Long story short , In three semesters  I completed 9 classes and took the GRE in between, participated in summer research project and still volunteered for the non profit FULL time with some weeks putting in 50 hours + and only receiving a living stipend of little to nothing . The only way I was able to pay for the courses is I received an education grant after my first year volunteering . All while working part time at a nursing home as a CNA to build hours and eventually when I finished research and the summer semester been working as a CNA this past year and was accepted to a program. I say all that to say if you really want it you will work hard for it. No excuses. You have to have a solid plan and goals into place so you can stay on track. That’s the only thing that keep me going and my love for the profession but also my love for underserved children wanting to go to college but has no support. Yo can have more than one dream and life goal and can complete them all in any order . Just make sure you are happy.

good luck with everything. 

Best, 

Jazmine 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On January 8, 2018 at 2:38 PM, beattie228 said:

My advice to you would be to dabble in the position afforded to you. You're someone who is 25 years old, offered a well paying surgical sales rep gig and you still need to knock out some pre-req's before even being a contender for PA school. I started PA school at 29 and there were a couple of people in my class older than me. If PA is what you want to do in life, work for a few years as a sales rep making good money and sock away as much as you can into a high yield savings account. From there, slay the pre-req classes as well as possibly consider post-bac classes if you're GPA isn't competitive. If you do end up going to PA school, you could essentially pay for it out of pocket or come pretty damn close to it with the above plan. If you don't end up going, you will have put a way a ton of money and you're still left with a lucrative career. Win-win scenario. Let us know how it plays out.

Thank you for the words of advice. I completely agree with you and if its a win/win scenario like you said there really is no reason why I shouldn't at least give it a try. The way I see it, its easier to go back to school after feeling dissatisfied working a career as a ortho surgical rep versus doing things the other way around. I.E. spending time and money on multiple pre-reqs, GRE and LOR's before deciding, its not the path I want and trying to break through into the industry of a ortho surgical rep. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On January 9, 2018 at 5:04 PM, robins53 said:

I say take the job, and if PA is something that you really want to do and is still in the back of your head , take prereqs while your working as a sales rep at a CC 1-2 a semester. So that way if after 2 years  you decided PA is what you really want to do than it will not take you until 30 to apply maybe 28. I knew I wanted to apply to PA school while completing my year post grad Volunteer but I decided to volunteer for a second year and during that second year I took classes at the CC because the degree I received I did not take a lot of the pre reqs.  I took what I could online (nutrition, medical terminology, psych, dev psych and a few others) and took the classes with labs on campus A&P I/II and Micro. Long story short , In three semesters  I completed 9 classes and took the GRE in between, participated in summer research project and still volunteered for the non profit FULL time with some weeks putting in 50 hours + and only receiving a living stipend of little to nothing . The only way I was able to pay for the courses is I received an education grant after my first year volunteering . All while working part time at a nursing home as a CNA to build hours and eventually when I finished research and the summer semester been working as a CNA this past year and was accepted to a program. I say all that to say if you really want it you will work hard for it. No excuses. You have to have a solid plan and goals into place so you can stay on track. That’s the only thing that keep me going and my love for the profession but also my love for underserved children wanting to go to college but has no support. Yo can have more than one dream and life goal and can complete them all in any order . Just make sure you are happy.

good luck with everything. 

Best, 

Jazmine 

Jazmine, 

Thank you, I appreciate you're reply and hearing your take on this subject. I really like what you said at the end about having more than one life dream. Because lately I have found myself so worried that if I do commit to this job, I am locked in for life. When in reality I am in control of my career choices and can change them whenever I deem necessary. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Dirtyeggroll said:

Jazmine, 

Thank you, I appreciate you're reply and hearing your take on this subject. I really like what you said at the end about having more than one life dream. Because lately I have found myself so worried that if I do commit to this job, I am locked in for life. When in reality I am in control of my career choices and can change them whenever I deem necessary. 

No problem . Yes you can ALWAYS change careers ... no matter the age just make sure you are happy and doing something that makes you happy. And not live with any regrets when it comes to your career. Good luck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More