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Paramedic School Before PA School?


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I am currently a junior, undergrad GPA of 3.3, sGPA 3.1. I just finished earning my EMT certification this past month and will start time on the trucks after my finals are over. However, my Biochemistry major does not include A&P or microbiology. It would take time during the summer to complete both those courses at a community college, but the community college offers a Paramedic certificate that includes A&P. It’s three semesters and I would finish Summer 2020. Would it be worth it to complete the certificate as a fall back plan, or just complete the credits at the college over one summer? Any advice would help. 

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Congrats on getting your basic! I guess my big question would be, would doing the paramedic certificate program interfere with any courses you are taking your last semester? Your gpa is precious and you dont want to take on a paramedic course load on top of a full semester of courses. Paramedic courses are tougher than basic (obviously) so just don't bite off more than you can chew. If it were me, I would take those two courses and knock them out over the summer- probably cheaper to do so as well. Also, work as a basic on the truck for a bit & see if you enjoy it. Don't just get your paramedic just to say you have the license- adcom wants to know you have USED your certs, not just obtained them. However, if you find yourself loving the truck and wanting to call the shots, get your paramedic after your done with school or while you have a super light course load. :) goodluck!!

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The plan is to if I get my Paramedic, it would be after my undergrad. Should I be concerned if I apply to PA school say a year after I get my paramedic cert? It would be an extra 1-2 years on top of if I would take the classes at the college, but it could help boost my GPA and give me valuable experience. I was thinking doing 1-2 years basic, one year as a paramedic and then apply to PA school. 

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that's a great plan! You sound like you know what you're doing. A year will be good- I just knew of some people who just took the courses and received their paramedic and never used it or their basic & it just sucks throwing money away and time for those certs to never use them. Because in the majority of my interviews, we talked about the experiences. So you will definitely gain good experience being a basic/paramedic for a couple years :)

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Personally, I wouldn't get the medic certification. It's a big time and money investment for something that would be viewed as the same experience as basic certification by adcoms. The pay isn't much better than a basic, at least in my area. However, if you can get on a fire department it would be worth it. 

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So your GPA is on the soft side (that sGPA is flirting with minimum cutoff limits for a lot of programs), you will want to 4.0 your senior year at all costs (or at least like 3.7+). Then after you graduate maybe take some CC classes that are medically relevant and finish any outstanding prereqs, don't get anything less than an A.

The paramedic cert is nice, if you're going to work a few years as a paramedic, but if you plan to apply to PA programs immediately after finishing it, you've got a cert with very little experience (i.e. not worth a whole lot). My 2 cents is to finish your UG as strong as possible, work as an EMT accruing PCE and take a couple classes over the following year at a CC (or whatever works for you) to boost that GPA and polish off any prereqs. Better to be a EMT with 2,000+ hours PCE by the time you interview (with good grades in post bacc classes) than a Paramedic with <500 (and less EMT time and worse grades because you're working and going to school full time).

If you think you can 4.0 paramedic school while working nearly full time as an EMT, ok do that. But as someone with a 3.95 undergrad GPA and who was an EMT-I, I don't think I could. You really need to up that GPA, it won't keep you from being a PA, but it will narrow your selection of programs (perhaps significantly).

As for the Paramedic profession as a fall back, I wouldn't recommend it unless you absolutely love doing it. The stress is high and the pay is abysmal (you'll never pay off your student loans if you have any significant ones). The only way it makes any sense at all is if you get into flight medic stuff or are dual cert like Fire+Paramedic, and both of those are a usually a long road but if you factor in undergrad student loans, still a terrible idea. Going to school for 4 years that isn't necessary for the job you're doing is financially not smart at all unless you have money to burn or went to undergrad for free. 

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I was an EMT-I and had a year to kill and got my paramedic card at that time. It was a 12 month long evening unit day class (1 or 2 long evenings each week, plus lots of clinical time). Its also was not for college credit and I kept my day job (a life theme of mine until PA school started.) It has never been a career for me but a major hobby. I now have 32 years and counting in volunteer and parttime EMS (18 when I entered PA school in 2004.)

 

I would not recommend spending a lot of time or money on it and the career is not a great fallback if you don’t get into PA school. The patient care experience and the sense of improvisation is a wonderful life skill, however.

 

 

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If I could go back to 2014 when this all started, I would have just done my EMT-B and go straight into Paramedic school, I had a 2.6 overall GPA and It took me 4 years to bring it up to a 3.2.. with A's in organic chemistry and biochemistry, .my science is now a 3.9 and for the past 2 cycles I have continuously taken more classes to increase my GPA, I have been invited to a total of 8 interviews resulting in wait list and rejection... (5000 emt hours month to date, 1000+ volunteer hours, 3000+ other healthcare experience (care giver etc)  I share this as a recent applicant to encourage you to go for your paramedic because your solid healthcare experience will help you stand out at the interviews , there are soooo many EMT-B's that are interviewed at the schools I interviewed at but the ones that are accepted are the paramedics with GPA's like yours... PA schools want diversity and it will be nice to make 40-50k a year as a paramedic while you work 3 days a week rather than $12 an hour suffering thru all those haaaaard science classes.

 

go for your paramedic lisc, continue to take hard science classes and acing them, this is what it takes to get into PA school now or else you'll be stuck like me as an EMT-B with a bachelor's degree from a good school and getting paid $12 while waiting for cycles and cycles 

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My 2 cents. I went medic AFTER my BIO degree was complete, I already had the A&P from my bio degree.  I wanted a fallback, In my area it is a good fallback because we are hospital based and medics start about $18hr. I started at 20 with shift diff. The learning experience was amazing, if you have the time and money then do it. Medic is far and away a different world from basic. It gave me tons of writing material for my PS and tons of talking points during interviews and gave a real close look at many aspects of the health care system. You will learn to do basic DDX and treatment for life threatening conditions but more importantly it teaches you HOW to think clinically. I've been a medic a little over a year and was an AEMT the year before that and while I'm sure I have a lot to learn in the way of all the other specialties I feel like I have a very firm grasp on EM.  You will build confidence, you will get humbled and it is all a good learning experience, I had a brief moment where I considered staying in this job as a career because I love it so much but alas I cannot lift 500lb cardiac arrest PTs until I'm 55.  If you have the time and money it IS worth it, and Ad-comms will (usually) recognize the difference between you and a basic. Good luck

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I don’t have an opinion one way or the other about the certifications. But just as an FYI I would verify that an A&P class for paramedics counts for the PA program you are applying to. I know paramedics are highly trained and that says nothing about their education and knowledge. But I took a microbiology class that was part of a nursing program and that did not count for PA school. Just something worth verifying. 

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While the paramedic programs take time and money it really does make you a stronger applicant. I took Biochem while I was enrolled in my paramedic program. Was it challenging? Yes, but not impossible. It only trains you better for the rigors of PA school. I got my EMT-B and went straight into Pmed. I worked for about 2.5 yrs as a Pmed before starting PA school. I did wish I would have worked as an EMT a little before, but that's how my timing worked out. Pmed will give you so much experience and help you in PA school. When it comes to ACLS it will be a breeze for you. Whether or not to take the extra years to do Pmed before applying to school is all about if your willing to take your time to get into PA school. Who know's it may even take you a couple years to get in, in which you could have been getting your Pmed all along. EMT's get into PA school all the time, but Pmed does look better as an applicant. Good luck.

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Becoming a paramedic was the best thing I ever did to prepare for my current career working as a solo em pa. If you work as a medic for a while in a busy system you will be surprised by very little when you start working in the ER. you will learn how to work under pressure and do all phases of a resuscitation by yourself. nurse can't get an IV, no problem. Anesthesia not around, no problem. gotta cardiovert, easy. things that make other people spin out of control will be easy and fun for you.

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On 4/25/2018 at 4:01 PM, MidwesternTexan said:

And here, being the old man I am with 2 x BS degrees, and 1 MS degree- I thought a paramedic was/is an EMT.

(PA-C x 24yrs....)

 

Just shows to go ya- I don't know anything! ;-)

Thanks for taking the time to look into it..."Paramedic" is technically still an EMT but we are working on title changes to differentiate. Currently most states recognize the titles "EMT-Basic" "Advanced EMT/EMT-Intermediate" and "EMT-Paramedic"  however there is a vast difference in education and scope between the 3.  Currently the National Registry of EMTs is working towards a single standard of education and a simpler title of "Paramedic" for EMT-Ps. If Paramedics pass the National Registry exam they are usually recognized as NR-P (National Registry - Paramedic) the NR standard is a bit more difficult to obtain because they maintain a pretty high standard compared to some individual states certifying requirements.  We're in a "title" battle ourselves to gain recognition as providers closer to that of an RN but without standardized education, unions and lobbys it's an uphill battle. I can't wait to start fighting the PA name-change battle in a couple of years....

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On 4/24/2018 at 7:25 AM, JRLentz said:

I am currently a junior, undergrad GPA of 3.3, sGPA 3.1. I just finished earning my EMT certification this past month and will start time on the trucks after my finals are over. However, my Biochemistry major does not include A&P or microbiology. It would take time during the summer to complete both those courses at a community college, but the community college offers a Paramedic certificate that includes A&P. It’s three semesters and I would finish Summer 2020. Would it be worth it to complete the certificate as a fall back plan, or just complete the credits at the college over one summer? Any advice would help. 

I wouldn't go for the medic cert. Not worth it unless you plan on gaining experience as a medic for awhile IMO. 

Why take these classes at a community college? I took some classes at the community college, but generally taking science classes (especially with a soft sGPA) isn't favorably looked upon. If you have the option I'd probably advise you to take A&P especially at a 4 year Uni and work as a EMT-B while keeping the GPA as high as possible. 

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