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have a bit of a career dilemma that I was hoping you could help provide info on.


The question I have is will joining the police academy hurt my chances at becoming a PA in the near future?


Essentially I was going to apply to PA school this coming fall but was offered a job as a police officer starting in April. I was wondering if I by taking this job it would hurt my chances to make it into PA school this coming fall or any of the following application cycles.


I have completed my pre-requisites and have over 2000 hours of paid clinical experience. My GPA is good enough but is not great, so my strongest part of my application is definitely my work experience.


The reasons I would take the job is because I think I would be happy and satisfied as a police officer and would love to help the community. Many of the reasons I would make a good PA and would love to be a PA are the same reasons for being a cop. The downsides would also be similar.


I feel PA admissions can either see this as a lack of commitment to the medical field and would negatively dock me and what is the strongest part of my application.

Plus it would also greatly reduce my time to study for GRE and reduce my hours of medical experience that I could gain as MAX I would have time to volunteer once a week at a hospital.




They could see it as a  positive as it is a job that serves the community, works with people who are in a difficult situation, and are compassionate.


I am  very nervous of turning down a sure thing and a very secure job that I might really enjoy, for my best chance to get into PA school. I unfortunately have to decide before April and if I turn down the job I will not get hired by this department in the future.


Thank you for your advice,

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Guest HanSolo

These are two completely different career paths. If you think you would really enjoy being a police officer, then I would encourage you to explore that.

I would not view this decision as, "if I become a police officer, how will it look on my PA school application." If that's the thought you are having, then you should just apply to PA school. 

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I think your question should be less about how this look to PA schools (you're over thinking it) and more about your timeline.

Why even bother joining the police academy if you're planning to apply in the upcoming cycle?  If you are applying this upcoming cycle to start in 2020 you wouldn't really be spending much time as a police officer. Frankly I don't think they would be thrilled about training someone who is already planning to leave.

Personally if you're going to join the academy I would say plan to spend some time there.  PA school can come later.

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I agree with @rev ronin. I work as a lactation consultant. This is the first CASPA cycle for me. I applied to 3 schools, and interviewed at two. At both my interviews they were genuinely very interested in my work and had lots of questions about what I did. One of the interviewers said they had never seen this as PCE before and was telling me how valuable LC’s are and what a great skill it was to have, it made me much more relaxed. Bottom line is something different makes you stand out. 

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