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Almost finished w/RT, want to be PA


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I’ve already got my BS in business - got into corporate world right out of high school and just ended up stuck there. I thought I would end up liking it after I got my bachelors degree and was making good money but it didn’t happen. I have absolutely hated it but needed to provide for my family. It may provide a good warm feeling for some people and that’s wonderful but I don’t like it. It's me, not the job, I guess.

I wanted to give my kids a better start in life than I had so I needed to stay the course till They got out of HS as they were in private school and tuition isn’t cheap. I’m 45 years old and wouldn’t change a thing up until now if it meant them not having the best opportunities to be successful.

Anyway, I’ve put off finishing and doing what I want long enough. I’m almost finished with my Associates degree in Respiratory Therapy. I started it a long time ago and have taken several breaks but I’ve currently got a 3.94 gpa and I love it. I’m in my clinical phase. I work full time at my day job and do clinicals after work and on weekends. Lately I’ve REALLY been pulled towards becoming a PA (nothing new, always wanted to but chose RT as it was a way to get into healthcare/medical and thought I couldn’t become a PA and support my family). I know Yale has a program which offers flexibility where I can stay in my current location (still have to work and support my family/pay for kid’s college). I can apply to that program now but want to finish my RT and get some PCE hours.

suggestions? Would NP be more difficult or offer more flexibility? I’m not afraid of academics. I’m speaking work/school/life balance. Would it take longer? Could I bridge from RT to BSN then NP? I can go straight to a PA program with a few pre-reqs. I’m not exactly 20 years old. I want to be in the medical field. I love Respiratory but I’m sure I’d love being a PA even more after spending some time at the hospital(s). I wish I’d gone straight to that after high school. I guess I thought it wasn’t an option once I got married and we started a family.

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A direct admit NP program (a BS/BA in anything is required) around here is 3 years and about halfway through you’re an RN and work, though how much I’m not sure.

A PA program aroung here is 27 months (after your prerequisite classes are completed) or so and you normally don’t work (except during the prereqs).

After you get your RT, I’m guessing you could work contingent, though not so much as it could affect your academic performance. You certainly could work fulltime during your prereqs for both the money and to get healthcare experience, which is normally required for PA.

Being 45 is not really an impediment. I was older when I started and I see students like you in PA school fairly often. Your business background is a plus.

I’m sure that others here have opinions that they’ll soon share. My advice is to find an academic coordinator at each of a local PA and direct admit NP program and talk.

Good luck!


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also consider part time PA programs , such as Drexel. These allow you to work the first 2 years out of a 3 year program. the first regular year is split into 2 years and the regular 2nd year is done as a full time 3rd year. I did such a program and worked 24-30 hrs/week for year 1-2 and part time year 3. I would caution against the Yale online program at this time. Many in the PA world(myself and most Yale grads included) are against the concept of an online didactic education and attending such a program may limit your future employment options. 

resp therapy is a great background for PA school.You may also want to consider anesthesia(either AA or CRNA in addition to NP). best of luck whatever you decide. 

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