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I want to become a PA

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I graduated from MSU with a Human Biology Major in Winter 2015.

It has been about 3 years since i have graduated. I studied the MCAT and took the test once and did not apply to any med school because of my MCAT score and GPA.

i have a GPA 3.0 and not sure about my science gpa about 2.7-2.9 

I just got married this summer and have been rethinking about med school and wanted to go to PA school instead 

It seems as competitive as med school but it is only 2 years of school. 

I don't have ANY direct paid health care experience only volunteering and haven't taken the GRE yet 

I am 25 years old and just need some help/guidance on the path. 

so my questions are:

1.) Should i go to graduate school for 2 years and get good grades to make up for my low GPA

2.) Should i just get as much PCE as i can? and then apply ? 

if so, which is better? CNA, MA, paramedic, EMT ? 

3.) Lastly, should get certified to work as a CNA, MA, paramedic or EMT first, and then work while i go to grad school so i can get PCE and boost my GPA? 


i don't know where to start because I'm trying to find the most affordable and less time consuming way to be competitive to get into PA school 😞 


Thank you



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This might get moved by a moderator to the PA-Student section or Pre-PA section.  

Though I can imagine why you would ask practicing PAs, students could give you a far better answer as to what is currently the typical things that PA school seek in 2018/2019. It's changed a lot in recent years...especially on the GREs, priorities in being competitive, etc.

That being said, one note...don't do paramedic, it's a waste of your time if you intend to do PA school. That's a professional track for a career in pre-hospital medicine, not an easy way to get a few hours.  EMT might be a bit much as well, with 4-6 months of training, but it's not a bad thing to do if you have time...but I assume you don't. I'd guess CNA/MA is the most timely and cheaper way to get experience, but i'll leave it to the students to advise you if that worked for them, when this question is moved to the other forums...

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1. Do not get a graduate degree if you don't plan on actually using it. It's a waste of time and money. If you really want to, there is an accelerated BSN option for students who already have a bachelor's. It's approximately 1-1.5 years, and you receive a second bachelor's. Pros: you will gain patient care experience as an RN, you will have a second degree for PA schools to consider, you will have a career, and a great income. You probably have all the classes anyways. That will be about 2-3 years before you can apply to PA school, but at least you'll have a good career and income while waiting. What I think you should do: If you did not do well in your prerequisites for PA school, I would recommend retaking them and earning As. Take 1-2 classes a semester while gaining patient care experience as a medical assistant or CNA. I say 1-2 classes a semester because I don't think it's really necessary to cram 3-4 difficult classes in a semester to prove you can handle the workload (others might disagree since it could be a good indicator for how well you can handle PA school workload). I think taking 2 classes while working full-time as an MA/CNA will show you can handle a heavy load in general.

2. Get at least 1,000 hours of direct patient care. Then apply.

3. I'm sure you can find clinics to work at as an MA without having to be certified. Drop your resume off at every clinic.

My advice: retake prerequisites to get As, work as an MA/CNA while doing so, and study for the GRE. Good luck 🙂 

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Agree with @Potatolife.

Also, there has been much discussion on the forum about the best way to get PCEs, and it depends on timing, situation, etc. but I'd chime in that it is more than just racking up hours for a prerequisite. I'm biased but I like being an MA because you have the opportunity to work directly with physicians, PAs, NPs, etc. and learn about their workflow and create a vision of what setting you'd like to be in someday. All while getting paid (though, arguably, not much). And if you do it right, you can earn a certification along the way (message me if you're interested in hearing more about this). 

I can't really speak to your other questions but there's lots of content on the forum about it all. Congrats, newlywed!

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Guest HopeToBePAC

So you're definitely want to get your sGPA at (or above) the 3.0 mark, as the majority of PA schools want a cGPA and sGPA at a 3.0 minimum. You don't necessarily have to pursue a graduate program, but rather just take classes that will boost your GPA --and these classes may also be any pre-reqs that you weren't able to complete in your degree. This might take you a few semesters or so. For PCE, all the options you listed are equally good, and you could work while taking classes, which is what many people do. CNA might be the quickest and most affordable option, I must say.  Optimistically speaking, at 25, you could probably enter PA school by 27 or 28, if all goes well, and this is the average age for many PA schools. 

Oh, and go Spartans! 😄 

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I would say that MA, EMT or Paramedic are the superior routes for hours. They pay a bit better than others and the experience is so valuable once you start school.

like others have said don’t waste your time with graduate school unless you are going to use it. My suggestion is to retake any class with a grade lower than a C+ and take upper division science classes while gaming PCE.

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8 hours ago, seominky said:

How should i retake my classes if i already graduated?? should i take classes at a community college? or can i re - enroll at MSU to take undergrad classes again even though i already graduated? @Potatolife @HopeToBePAC @PACrankset

You can retake them at a community college. You don’t have to take them at a university. PA schools don’t really care where you take them, as long as you’re taking the correct course. They usually have course equivalencies on their websites. I live in Michigan too, so I know 🙂 Upper-level courses are only offered at universities, but you will be able to take most prerequisites at a community college. Taking prerequisites at a community college is cheaper and the classes are smaller, so I recommend it over a university

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