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Hi all,

I am trying to decide whether or not to take more classes next semester or focus completely on working for patient contact hours.  Maybe you have some advice for me?  

Here is some background:

I am a 31 year-old pre-pa post-bacc.  My GPA for my B.A. in Psych was something along the lines of a 3.0.  Since returning to school I have done Micro, BIO (1,2) Chem (1,2) A&P, Stats, ENG 1, med term and a couple filler courses coming out to about 38 semester units.  I received a 4.0 in all of them.

In 2016 I worked at an inpatient residential rehabilitation where I did vitals, medication compliance, and specimen collection among other duties full-time for a year.  This is likely 2000 hours of HCE but I am not sure how many patient contact hours it will be considered.  Some schools might be very strict and only give me a small amount of credit on this work.

A few years ago I volunteered for a long stretch teaching cognitive psychology to addicts.  It was only about an hour or 2 a week though.  I would like to add more volunteer hours to my app.  

My decision now is whether to take organic chemistry next semester or just apply to schools that do not require any classes I have not satisfied.  If I do not take organic chem I can take a full-time job as a phlebotomist and shadow/volunteer and try to get involved in research.  I also plan to be studying for the GRE.  

If I take organic chem it opens up not too many more schools.  Most want biochem and I would have to take organic for that anyway.  I wish to avoid returning to a 4 year in order to save time and money.

My gut is saying if I can get into schools without organic chem it is a no-brainer: focus on hours and rounding out the app to save time.  But if the schools that don't require organic really DO want to see it on the app then I could look weak and be rejected.

Apart from organic I could take introductory biochem (lower div) or human heredity (like a lower div genetics course).  I don't know if those classes are even worth the time.      

 I will apply to some school this cycle no matter what.

Has anyone else here had similar considerations?

Thanks in advance!

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A: Figure out your cumulative GPA.  That's important.

B: phlebotomy and research often don't count as PCE or are weak PCE.  If your'e going to spend your time working instead of classes, aim for better PCE especially if your position with 2000 hrs might only be HCE.  Overcoming a low GPA is best done with a lot of quality PCE hours.

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Are the programs that do not require organic chemistry schools you want to attend? How many programs fit that requirement and how many programs are you planning on applying to?

Assuming there are enough programs for you to apply to without organic chemistry, I feel you have proven your academic ability in your post-bacc and therefore think you should aim to find higher quality PCE and get a good GRE score. 

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Thank you for the responses.

According to a template I found on this forum my GPAs are as follows:

cGPA: 3.30

sGPA: 3.72 (A 4.00 if excluding 5.4 quarter units of Bio from 2008)

Last 60 units: 3.91 (This is pretty much all the prerequisites I've done)

 

Given my GPAs does that change your answers to my original question?

@MT2PA I've noticed phlebotomy mentioned as PCE on most program sites.  I already have a license to practice it so am inclined to do so.  However if it really is considered weak PCE what is your suggestion for other PCE with a low barrier to entry? (i.e. doing a year long program just to start accruing PCE at this point seems silly)

@panglossian As of now I have found 12 schools that I meet the academic requirements for (minus the GRE).  I figured applying to 5 or 6 schools seems feasible.  With regards to whether or not I WANT to attend these schools, it is hard to say.  Some might disagree when I say I appreciate the approach of some schools over others however my end goal is to become a PA anyway I can.  No matter the school that accepts me I will attend.  Beggars can't be choosers?  Maybe you have some knowledge for me.   

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Don't get me wrong, you can get in with phlebotomy but consider what a phlebotomist does compared to say an EMT or nurse. Yes, you interact with the patient but you aren't really taking care of the patient.  You aren't making treatment decisions.  You aren't taking a history or doing vitals/exams.  You have a brief encounter and you're on your way.

Plenty of threads on the forum about PCE options.

Not all schools will calculate last 60 credits or pre-req credits.  You certainly can't exclude that bio class from 2008 so let that 4.0 go.  Best to evaluate yourself realistically how a program will.

FWIW phlebotomy was my PCE, about 1.5 years worth, but I had an additional 6 years of HCE and a 3.9 sGPA/cGPA in a science major (i.e the bulk of my courses were upper level sciences) and above average GRE.  Do with that what you will.

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7 minutes ago, MT2PA said:

Don't get me wrong, you can get in with phlebotomy but consider what a phlebotomist does compared to say an EMT or nurse. Yes, you interact with the patient but you aren't really taking care of the patient.  You aren't making treatment decisions.  You aren't taking a history or doing vitals/exams.  You have a brief encounter and you're on your way.

Agree- I feel the same about ekg techs, cast techs, etc. They all play an important role, but the ideal HCE has you making decisions, touching patients, and doing a variety of procedures and developing many skills. I learned phlebotomy in 15 minutes and was certified to do it in a week at my first ER tech job. Ditto IM injections. Ditto IVs. Ditto neb tx, surgical first assisting, ditto splinting, etc

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@JoshMB Please know that unlike MT2PA and EMEDPA I was accepted to PA school this past cycle and am starting my program in June. If your goal is to simply become a PA, then applying and getting accepted to any program will meet that goal. I found while applying that the graduates of different programs had vastly different paths. The majority of graduates of some programs work in the surrounding area while other programs have graduates working across the US. Some programs have a primary care (surgical, rural health care, policy, etc) focus and thus a majority of their graduates end up in that field. Right now it may feel like you would go to any program that accepts you, however, school is only 2-3 years and I would argue a career you enjoy is the goal.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/21/2019 at 6:57 PM, JoshMB said:

Hi all,

I am trying to decide whether or not to take more classes next semester or focus completely on working for patient contact hours.  Maybe you have some advice for me?  

Here is some background:

I am a 31 year-old pre-pa post-bacc.  My GPA for my B.A. in Psych was something along the lines of a 3.0.  Since returning to school I have done Micro, BIO (1,2) Chem (1,2) A&P, Stats, ENG 1, med term and a couple filler courses coming out to about 38 semester units.  I received a 4.0 in all of them.

In 2016 I worked at an inpatient residential rehabilitation where I did vitals, medication compliance, and specimen collection among other duties full-time for a year.  This is likely 2000 hours of HCE but I am not sure how many patient contact hours it will be considered.  Some schools might be very strict and only give me a small amount of credit on this work.

A few years ago I volunteered for a long stretch teaching cognitive psychology to addicts.  It was only about an hour or 2 a week though.  I would like to add more volunteer hours to my app.  

My decision now is whether to take organic chemistry next semester or just apply to schools that do not require any classes I have not satisfied.  If I do not take organic chem I can take a full-time job as a phlebotomist and shadow/volunteer and try to get involved in research.  I also plan to be studying for the GRE.  

If I take organic chem it opens up not too many more schools.  Most want biochem and I would have to take organic for that anyway.  I wish to avoid returning to a 4 year in order to save time and money.

My gut is saying if I can get into schools without organic chem it is a no-brainer: focus on hours and rounding out the app to save time.  But if the schools that don't require organic really DO want to see it on the app then I could look weak and be rejected.

Apart from organic I could take introductory biochem (lower div) or human heredity (like a lower div genetics course).  I don't know if those classes are even worth the time.      

 I will apply to some school this cycle no matter what.

Has anyone else here had similar considerations?

Thanks in advance!

 My gpa/stats, experience, and age are similar if you'd like to contact me 

 

Edited by carlomoreno
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