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mackenzie93

Non-trad getting PCE

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Hi, I'm a non-traditional student trying to position myself for application to PA programs. I have a BA in Art History and an MA in Teaching, and I am a public school art teacher. I recognize that I have to complete ALL my hard science prerequisites, and I have a plan to do that in the next 1.5 years. My question is about getting PCE. I had initially thought to do a phlebotomy program that would allow me to continue to work as a teacher during(the phleb tech program was on weekends), and then work as a phlebotomist for PCE. After reading how difficult it is to get a job as a phlebotomist and that it may not be "high quality" enough to count for PCE, I've decided I should do a Patient Care Technician or CNA instead. I'm pretty sure I could work as a PCT while doing my sciences and still come out with a high GPA. 

Is working as a PCT in an urgent care or emergency setting going to be enough for my application? Does being a non-trad help or hurt? In the long run, what if I didn't have any PCE but an excellent GPA and applied as is? *assume for the purpose of this question that I have a competitive sGPA*

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It all boils down to your target schools. There are some out there who are most concerned with GPA and things like leadership experience or volunteer work. They're out there. You could get lucky and find out you're near one. Otherwise, you may have to relocate if that ends up being your situation. Generally though, those who get in without any PCE tend to have a great GPA.

I can't speak to the PCT experience though. I'm guessing that will also vary some from school to school. My experience is as a dental hygienist, and I'm currently waiting to find out if my interview landed me a spot at my first-choice school.



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Hi @mackenzie93! Congrats on making the career shift! I would agree that phlebotomy is not as high quality as PCT or CNA. The reason being that you are consistently doing the same tasks. PCT in an urgent care or emergency setting will expose you to a variety of diverse patient problems, as well as, numerous different healthcare providers. The exposure that I gained from working as an EMT in an ER helped me learn how to talk with patients and provided me with many wonderful healthcare mentors that have helped me gain more experience and knowledge that solidified why I want to be a PA. Most PA students are non-trad so no worries there. Also many PA schools like students with diverse backgrounds. I have friends that went art to PA, history to PA, engineering to PA, and math to PA. Yes, there are still students who are accepted straight from college and that have biology or health science degrees but I certainly wouldn't let that discourage you! There are some schools that do accept students without PCE but most students will still have some. I would definitely work on getting some PCE hours even if you have a lower number of hours while applying as opposed to no hours.

Edited by EMTP-Sarah
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It also depends on your proficiency/deficiency as well and what will serve you. For example, I was prior EMS, so MA/PCT/Phleb really wouldn't do much for me. I decided to scribe after finishing undergrad and it was a pretty great experience. But if you've never spiked an IV bag and don't know how to take vitals, then MA/PCT/Phleb is a good start. If that's the case, then I would say try one of those for a year, and then scribe for a year; the different exposures will compliment each other well.

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Honestly, I would look into doing an accelerated EMT program in the summer and working weekends. You'd gain amazing experience as a basic EMT, much better than CNA.

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