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Hi guys!
I graduated in 2017 and on my track to dental school. I actually applied to dental school that year but got rejected to all because I took my DAT too late. However, later tht year I decided that dentistry isn't for me, plus I'm not ready to take on a huge debt afterwards (300-500k sounds scary too me). So i'm changing my goal towards PA. 

I started researching PA programs and most of them accept my dental assistant hours as PCE. I have around 400-500 hours so i'm planning to finish my prereq (anat, physio, micro) by the end of this fall. Then do either CNA or phlembotomist programs and work for 1 year and a half to collect hours. I'm aiming at 2000-3000 hours. Do you guys think this is a good plan? Or do people generally have way more hours than this?

I'm also concerned about why PA schools actually accept dental assistant hours? I know DA have patient interactions but aren't those more towards dental school? Won't they question why am I even applying to PA schoool? If i use those hours, will they ask why not dentistry? I mean i think it's probably gonna come up during the interview anyways. But will it look bad to have DA hours?

Also, most programs require one letter from a clinician. I 'm still looking for a doctor, PA, or NP to shadow. I'm puttin NP on my list since PA and NP are so similar. I'm wondering if it's necessary to shadow a PA? I know some programs said it's 'recommended' but would it be ok if i shadow NP (i'm planning to ask my NP if I could shadow her). 

I'm also wondering about LOR. Since most schools want LOR from any clinician, would it be okay if I actually use my dentist's LOR tht I used to apply to dental school?? I'm not sure if it will look bad for PA schools but im actually really close to my dentist since I worked and shadowed him for almost 2 years. and I outlined my own LOR for him to edit so i know it's a strong LOR too lol

Also, how wuld the schools confirmed that our hour are accurate? Will the schools need our clinicians to sign somethng? I don't have such form from my dentist or the physicians I shadowed back 4 years ago :( 

Sorry, I'm still new to PA field and still doing research about it. So if some of my questions are too easy to answer, I apologize in advance!! 

Thank you again for helping me out!

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Guest blee100

i think 2,000-3,000 hours is a good aim. It a good idea to probably become a CNA or a MA. Dental assistant isn't accepted at alot of schools so I'm not sure which schools said they were accepted. I  strongly suggest you getting hours doing something else so you widen your school options.  When i first knew I wanted to be a PA. i thought it was important to shadow a PA. You saying NP and PA are similar is something that an admission board is not going want to hear when they ask you this question. I suggest you study the difference especially when interviews start rolling in. A lot of programs want you to shadowing a PA because they want to make sure their bringing in a student that knows what their signing up for. (Side note: every PA I've shadowed is extremely friendly and  gave me amazing advice. They make you realize why becoming a PA would be an awesome career path) Most schools don't confirm your hours. I only know one school that required my boss to sign a paper verifying the amount of hours I did.CASPA work off the applicant honesty. Now, this doesn't mean you can just add some hours to make it seem like it a lot more than it is. Cause if the admission board does decide to accept you and see that you don't know as much as you said you did then you could probably be kicked out for lying. (Many programs have this on their admission page stating this)

My advice to you is to take the time and research more about the PA profession and actually shadow some PAs. This forum is a complete blessing so take the time to read through it. You'll honestly learn so much and help you avoid mistakes during this process. Good luck and welcome to the pre-pa party.

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