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Hello everyone, 

My plan is too not make this a long question. 

Let me first start off by saying I am a 25 year old male who has been working as an EMT for about 4 years now. I’m in medic school now and my graduation date is February of 2020. I do not currently hold a bachelors or associates degree if anything. When I graduated high school I had no desire of figuring out what I wanted out of life. I was living in New York at the time when I ended up moving to Georgia at the ripe old age of 21. I landed a job at the fire department and attained my EMT. 

I have been working as a Firefighter/EMT ever since with my plans of graduating paramedic school February of 2020. Here is the issue I am in. At first I thought I wanted to bridge over to RN from my Medic but recently I’ve been seeing the nursing field more and more and how some nurses operate and I just can’t seem to want to put in the time and effort for what I am witnessing. Nurses are always complaining. They always seem to be in the worse mood possible and it’s seems very political. I wanted to do NP but just never really felt like I would be happy as an Np due to the title and lack of clinical hours the school offers. 

I’ve came across the PA field and it really started to interest me. I love the ability of being very mobile after graduating. I love how much clinical hours are required for graduation. I can go on and on but I think it’s just safe to say I really enjoy the field more than the NP. 

Here is my issue. I do not have a bachelors degree. My age is not in my favor. I’m 25 right now and I’ll be 26 when I start back in school to start working on my bachelors. I’ll be 30-31 when I attain my bachelors and then I have to apply to PA programs which is never a gruantee to get accepted. I’ll be 33 possibly when I get accepted and then I’ll be 35-36 when I graduate and start working. I feel like that is too old and at this point in my life it may not even be worth it and need an honest opinion and advice if someone was in my position. I was planning on getting my nursing degree as a fall back degree in case PA school does not work out and I do not get accpeted but I am not sure if it’s a smart move. I can always get a degree in biology but then the possibly of PA school not working out will led me with a degree that is pretty useless. I’m single and do not have any debt. I do not own a house and I live in an apartment. I’m not even sure how I would be able to handle paying for living expenses while in PA school.  

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Ugh.  Another "I'm 26, too old to do anything!" posts.  

Well, one day- and you never know when that will be- you won't be able to do anything.  So stop telling us what you can't do:

Quote

My age is not in my favor.

I’m 25 right now and I’ll be 26 when I start back in school to start working on my bachelors.

I’ll be 30-31 when I attain my bachelors and then I have to apply to PA programs which is never a gruantee to get accepted.

I’ll be 33 possibly when I get accepted and then I’ll be 35-36 when I graduate and start working. I feel like that is too old and at this point in my life it may not even be worth it and need an honest opinion and advice if someone was in my position.

I was planning on getting my nursing degree as a fall back degree in case PA school does not work out and I do not get accpeted but I am not sure if it’s a smart move.

I can always get a degree in biology but then the possibly of PA school not working out will led me with a degree that is pretty useless.

My dad was 45 when he died from lung cancer.  I held his hand and watched his life drain away.   I'm not going to give you one of my inspirational stories because you don't deserve one.  If you think your gd life is over at 36, then all you have is my pity.  I started working at 39, and I can honestly say, more peoples lives are better because of me.

You want some advice?  Stop worrying about the future, and apply away.  I have lived at least two, if not three lives by now.  

Edited by thinkertdm
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Get your BS.  That should NOT take the five years you mention in your post.  Even if you have a job, you should be able to get it in 4 years or less.  Do it online, whatever.  Get good grades.  Apply to PA school.  You're not too old.

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I was 58 when I went to PA school so you are clearly not too old!

It sounds trite, but you’ve got to enjoy the journey. In 10 years, you’ll be 10 years older, regardless of what you want to be doing.

My advice is to start on the road to a BS and see how the journey feels. Assuming you like your current job (which I did), there is no hurry.

Also I wouldn’t spend too much time on what you could have done in the past: you can’t change the past but you sure can change your future.

Good luck!


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Guest Paula

I was 47 when I graduated PA school,  been working for 15 years.  No regrets.  You gotta take life as it comes and forge ahead.  Your medic background and experience is perfect for getting in your health care hours for PA school.  Learn all that you can from fellow medics and the PAs you meet at the ER.  Make the networks now and it will help you get in PA school with recommendations from your supervisors, medic friends, ER colleagues or physicians and PAs you rub shoulders with. 

Stop obsessing and see the opportunity before you!  

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On 7/19/2019 at 1:54 PM, sas5814 said:

How old will you be in 10-12 years if you don't go to PA school?

I was 31 when I went. I had a classmate that was 57.

Thank you for replying to my post. You are right that I will only get older. I guess my ultimate concern is end up not getting accepted due to past academic mistakes. I only taken maybe 8 classes at most and achieved majority of B’s and a couple of A’s. The only bad thing is I ended up failing out of Microbiology with a D not because it was hard but because a family member ended up getting sick and I had to leave the class. That is a long story and I hate that this happened and its my biggest concern that I will end up failing at being accepted into PA school. 

 

On 7/19/2019 at 2:15 PM, thinkertdm said:

Ugh.  Another "I'm 26, too old to do anything!" posts.  

Well, one day- and you never know when that will be- you won't be able to do anything.  So stop telling us what you can't do:

My dad was 45 when he died from lung cancer.  I held his hand and watched his life drain away.   I'm not going to give you one of my inspirational stories because you don't deserve one.  If you think your gd life is over at 36, then all you have is my pity.  I started working at 39, and I can honestly say, more peoples lives are better because of me.

You want some advice?  Stop worrying about the future, and apply away.  I have lived at least two, if not three lives by now.  

Thank you sir for the harsh advice. I do appreciate it. I’m sorry about your dad. 

 

On 7/19/2019 at 2:30 PM, LKPAC said:

Get your BS.  That should NOT take the five years you mention in your post.  Even if you have a job, you should be able to get it in 4 years or less.  Do it online, whatever.  Get good grades.  Apply to PA school.  You're not too old.

Thank you sir for replying to my post. This is the problem I am running into. I am not sure what too get my BS degree in. I want to get it in something that I can fall back on but at the same time I do not know many options other than nursing that will allow this. I also say I can do some online bachelor degree programs for other degrees outside of the science relearn. The issue is unless it’s science like biology I do not see it as a “smart” choice. 

 

On 7/19/2019 at 3:20 PM, UGoLong said:

I was 58 when I went to PA school so you are clearly not too old!

It sounds trite, but you’ve got to enjoy the journey. In 10 years, you’ll be 10 years older, regardless of what you want to be doing.

My advice is to start on the road to a BS and see how the journey feels. Assuming you like your current job (which I did), there is no hurry.

Also I wouldn’t spend too much time on what you could have done in the past: you can’t change the past but you sure can change your future.

Good luck!


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That’s awesome sir! I love hearing about people who went back to school at your age and succeeded. I always found that awesome and inspirational. I like my current job but I do not love it too the point that I want to be in it for the long term if that makes sense. 

My focus right now is figuring out what BS degree is smart for me to do. Whether that be getting my Bachelors in nursing or some other related field. 

On 7/19/2019 at 3:54 PM, PANJK said:

The time will pass anyway. I can't imagine at the end that you'll look back and regret it. A few of my classmates were in their mid-30s when we graduated - none of them regretted their decision

Hopefully one day I will have the opportunity to be one of the 30 something year olds in PA school. Thank you for this. 

 

17 hours ago, Rondaben said:

Im 48 and 6 months from graduation.

BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE.

Awesome!! Look forward to one day being in the same boat as you! 

 

16 hours ago, lemurcatta said:

Nursing school will still take 4 years (to get BSN). You’re only saving two years by doing nursing instead of PA, so if you want to do PA just go for it. 

I am not sure what you mean by ill only be saving 2 years. Nursing school does not seem logical and I understand that but I only consider it because of the possibility of failing out of PA school and then having something to fall back on. I could always do biology but then I can’t really fall back on that. 

 

9 hours ago, PbagJones said:

I got out of the navy at 25, started undergrad at 26 and graduated PA school at 33. Been practicing for about 3 years now. Never once did I feel too old, and its been one the best decisions I have made. Go for it if it’s what you want.

What did you major in for your undergrad sir if you do not mid me asking. I look forward to one day being in your position as well. 

 

4 hours ago, EMEDPA said:

https://www.tesu.edu/academics/online-degrees

accredited online BS degree. will accept all transfer credits from prior work. some folks do as few as 2-3 courses if you have a prior health care credential or A.S.

Thank you for the link sir. I took a look at it and I will certainly consider it. My only concern is majority of the degree’s are unrelated to the medical field and I am not sure if that’s what I want to major in. I still need to take the science courses. Thank you for the reply sir. 

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"Thank you for replying to my post. You are right that I will only get older. I guess my ultimate concern is end up not getting accepted due to past academic mistakes. I only taken maybe 8 classes at most and achieved majority of B’s and a couple of A’s. The only bad thing is I ended up failing out of Microbiology with a D not because it was hard but because a family member ended up getting sick and I had to leave the class. That is a long story and I hate that this happened and its my biggest concern that I will end up failing at being accepted into PA school."

 

You had to know I was going to say this..... what are your chances of getting accepted if you don't apply?Trying and failing is no crime. Just not trying? That is a different discussion.

Edited by sas5814
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To add to the chorus of folks who became PA's much later in life than where you are now:

Graduated college the 1st time in 1980 with a degree in computer science, worked in corporate IT until I took a retirement buyout at age 49.  Had been working as a part-time firefighter/medic and teaching part-time at a local university.  Went back to college and took ALL the PA school prereqs: 18 semester long courses that were all the sciences - no "core" English, history, etc.  Started PA school at 53, got licensed and employed at 55.  Still at it full-time (actually a bit more than full time).

Can't speak to your academic ability, life circumstances including finances and family demands, or your perseverance, but two things for sure: your age is no where close to being a barrier and your experience as a firefighter/medic is very valuable and counts as health care hours for consideration by admission committees.

Decide how much you want this, then start on the years long path to get there.  It is worth it.  Even if I put myself on a solid conditioning program, there's no way I could gear up, put on an air pack, and go into burning buildings like I used to.  Being a PA pays 2-6x what being a firefighter/medic does, is way more mentally challenging, and is much easier on the body.  One more thing to consider: if you're close to a public pension, you might want to work enough to get that, then go to PA school.

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On 7/21/2019 at 6:23 AM, Lightspeed said:

You could throw out your back at any point lifting something... hose... patient.... your child. So what if you feel a little bit old (which you aren’t)? If you become a PA, your more likely to be able to work comfortably in your old age than as a firefighter or paramedic. The retirement might be great for a firefighter, though. But the schedule is arduous. And the job, to me, seems like I’d always feel I was underutilizing my brain. 

One of the reasons I became an NP is to work into old age. I didn’t want to be lifting patients and putting in 14 hours into my job per day, even for 3 days. The only old nurses you see look terrible and in pain. I know a ton of old nurse practitioners who look just fine.

Your correct. I’m not old “currently’ but I am looking at it in regards to what my age will be when I graduate PA school or when I get accepted if that. Yes I would love to work as a PA in regards to my old age because it would be a lot less stress on my body. Riding on the ambulance currently every third day is really taxing physically and mentally. Staying up almost every night really is hindering my off days when it comes to trying to be productive due to the lack of sleep during the night on a consistent basis. 

 

I have considered the NP route numerous amount of times. I have the utmost respect for NP’s and would never talk negatively but for me I felt it did not suit me in regards to how I wanted my career to pan out. Thank you for your input. Currently right now I am just trying to figure out if I want to major in biology or nursing for my undergrad. Thank you for your input. 

On 7/22/2019 at 8:42 AM, sas5814 said:

"Thank you for replying to my post. You are right that I will only get older. I guess my ultimate concern is end up not getting accepted due to past academic mistakes. I only taken maybe 8 classes at most and achieved majority of B’s and a couple of A’s. The only bad thing is I ended up failing out of Microbiology with a D not because it was hard but because a family member ended up getting sick and I had to leave the class. That is a long story and I hate that this happened and its my biggest concern that I will end up failing at being accepted into PA school."

 

You had to know I was going to say this..... what are your chances of getting accepted if you don't apply?Trying and failing is no crime. Just not trying? That is a different discussion.

Yes you are correct and I appreciate you being honest with me. I do not want to be on my death bed one day wishing I would have pursued a goal that I never did. I guess I just sike myself out when I see that my IQ is only a 102 and majority of PA’s or physicians have at least 115-130. Makes me feel inadequate and if I have the ability to do this. I know its silly. 

 

 

 

On 7/22/2019 at 2:40 PM, ohiovolffemtp said:

To add to the chorus of folks who became PA's much later in life than where you are now:

Graduated college the 1st time in 1980 with a degree in computer science, worked in corporate IT until I took a retirement buyout at age 49.  Had been working as a part-time firefighter/medic and teaching part-time at a local university.  Went back to college and took ALL the PA school prereqs: 18 semester long courses that were all the sciences - no "core" English, history, etc.  Started PA school at 53, got licensed and employed at 55.  Still at it full-time (actually a bit more than full time).

Can't speak to your academic ability, life circumstances including finances and family demands, or your perseverance, but two things for sure: your age is no where close to being a barrier and your experience as a firefighter/medic is very valuable and counts as health care hours for consideration by admission committees.

Decide how much you want this, then start on the years long path to get there.  It is worth it.  Even if I put myself on a solid conditioning program, there's no way I could gear up, put on an air pack, and go into burning buildings like I used to.  Being a PA pays 2-6x what being a firefighter/medic does, is way more mentally challenging, and is much easier on the body.  One more thing to consider: if you're close to a public pension, you might want to work enough to get that, then go to PA school.

I really enjoyed reading your post and taking your information given to me. I think that’s awesome where you began and how even at 53 you pursed your goal of becoming a Physician Assistant. With me it comes down too what I want to major in. Do I major in biology or Nursing as my under-grad. That is what I am currently debating. 

My question for you sir is how do I accomplish the 2 years I might be in PA school one day? I am not married with no girlfriend or kids. I do not have any debt but when I start PA school I will have to stop working and I am not sure how I go about for living expenses. Do I join the military for PA or is there other ways? I know this sounds stupid but its how I think because I refuse to go back home and live with mom and dad in my 30’s. 

Thank you for your advice good sir. I appreciate your post and advice. 

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Short version: you'll have to borrow money unless you join the military.  While you can work a bit in PA school (I did 1 24 hour shift/month), there's no way you can work enough either as a RN or firefighter/medic to cover your living expenses, much less the cost of tuition while you're in school.  Plan on at least 2.5 years in school, with minimal income and probably $90K+ in tuition and fees, plus your living expenses.  You may be able to go back to work as a medic in the interval between school and taking your boards, getting licensed, and getting hired.  I did.

You can join the military.  That will be easier once you've actually started school  It will certainly pay for school and your living expenses.  From what I remember, you'll probably owe them 4 years.  I believe they're still recruiting pretty heavily.  Some (few) jobs will have loan repayment.  There are lots of posts on the forum on this but I didn't do it so I don't know much about it.

The major doesn't matter, just look at what prereqs most need and take them all.  Make sure you take the pre-med/majors versions of the science classes.  Some RN programs don't include the top level science classes.

Best advice, start taking undergrad classes now.  See how it goes.  Spend some time getting to know and shadowing PA's.  See if you think you'd like doing what they do.  Medicine is incredibly diverse.  Each kind has different life style, stresses, rewards, and compensation.  Find out if you like the path and the destination.

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On 7/25/2019 at 12:48 AM, ohiovolffemtp said:

Short version: you'll have to borrow money unless you join the military.  While you can work a bit in PA school (I did 1 24 hour shift/month), there's no way you can work enough either as a RN or firefighter/medic to cover your living expenses, much less the cost of tuition while you're in school.  Plan on at least 2.5 years in school, with minimal income and probably $90K+ in tuition and fees, plus your living expenses.  You may be able to go back to work as a medic in the interval between school and taking your boards, getting licensed, and getting hired.  I did.

You can join the military.  That will be easier once you've actually started school  It will certainly pay for school and your living expenses.  From what I remember, you'll probably owe them 4 years.  I believe they're still recruiting pretty heavily.  Some (few) jobs will have loan repayment.  There are lots of posts on the forum on this but I didn't do it so I don't know much about it.

The major doesn't matter, just look at what prereqs most need and take them all.  Make sure you take the pre-med/majors versions of the science classes.  Some RN programs don't include the top level science classes.

Best advice, start taking undergrad classes now.  See how it goes.  Spend some time getting to know and shadowing PA's.  See if you think you'd like doing what they do.  Medicine is incredibly diverse.  Each kind has different life style, stresses, rewards, and compensation.  Find out if you like the path and the destination.

Sir thank you for again for taking the time to respond back to me. Personally if I do end up going through with PA school, I am going to have to choose not to work for the two years so I am able to concentrate and really focus on being a good provider. Too be honest I am not even sure how to go about my living expenses. Consider buying a trailer or motor home just until I graduate school but I would also need the money to be able to afford to buy one cash. 

 

Yes you are correct in regards to me owing the military 4 years after completion of the program. 

 

Even though the major does not matter I still want to make the best choice in regards to a back up plan if set plan does not follow through. For example right now I am able to attend my current college online for my associates degree in biology but the issue is I need a bachelors and after I receive my associate degree I will not be able to continue down the path online for my bachelors degree in biology. I have not found a school that offers one. The reason why I need an online learning atmosphere is because I work full-time and I need too. If I do not I will be unable to afford my living expenses and will end up having to move back in with my parents are 26 and I will not allow myself to do that. I have found colleges that offer computer science and software development completely online for bachelor degrees but this is not a science related course and I do not feel confident with making the choice. When I graduate with my bachelors I want to have majority of classes and pre-reqs completed. This is my biggest struggle at the moment is one finding my bachelors degree I feel comfortable pursuing and secondly every day I have been questioning myself, "Am I smart enough for PA school?" My IQ is only 102 and from my understanding physicians and nurses all have at least 115 or higher. I always second guess my ability to learn all the material and be a good provider. 

I have been trying to find a PA to shadow and sadly right now, zero luck. Of course I am going to keep trying. I've always considered physical therapy until it ended up getting changed to a doctorate from a masters. Thank you again for your time. 

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While I was taking my pre-reqs I worked a 48 hour shift at the FD on Saturdays & Sundays to leave M-F free for taking and teaching classes.  This worked well for the FD because I was covering folks Kelly days.  You may be able to do this to maintain your income while you're doing your prereqs, even if you have to do a brick and mortar college degree.

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https://www.mdc.edu/physicianassistant/

Please keep in mind there are bachelors (and even associates) degrees in physician assistant studies. Above is a link to a program at Miami Dade College where you do both an associate in science and a bachelor of applied science with concentrations in physician assistant studies. It appears that once you've completed it, you're ready to take the PANCE (certification exam). This program should save you time and a considerable amount of money, especially if you can establish Florida residency first.

You keep bringing up your IQ as a reason why you think you can't do it. To this day, I have no idea what my IQ even is. That didn't stop me from becoming a physician assistant. It's not about your IQ, it's about working hard and believing that you can do it. Because you can. 

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