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Hello I'm new to this website and forum but I have a plan to continue my education to become a Physician Assistant specializing in Dermatology. I wanted to hear from PAs or students who are in the minority specially the African/black community. I am a 24yr old Female, Jamaican-american. I plan on applying to a PA program here in Florida in the next 4 years, and was hoping to get some more information and advice please!!

I will be attending an accelerated program (5-6months) to be a Medical Assistant (Sept.- Feb. 2020).

After I am licensed in MA, I would like to reapply to UCF for my biomedical sciences degree. Where I can get in my hours for healthcare experience as an MA and finish my bachelors before applying to PA school.

I have just a few concerns:

1. Is becoming a MA worth it before PA school? or worth the money to go to school for?  I'm worried because most companies here are looking for bilingual MAs. I do want to learn another language preferably Spanish, but later on while I get my B.S in Biomed (Also I do not want to be CNA or RN).

2. Is a biomedical science degree more looked at to enter a PA program? Which degree/major is also acceptable if I decide not to go the science route but I make sure I take my required science classes? 

3. As a minority do we have an advantage or disadvantage to enter a PA school? 

4. Does anyone have experience as a PA student either at NOVA or Barry University? If so, how are the professors and the overall work load?  

5. After becoming a PA, do we experience racism throughout the country in our profession? (Regardless if we do or not, no one is going to stop me from doing my job correctly, I will treat every race with respect. I would just like to know because I'm curious since again there is not many of us as PAs.)

6. How was the job search for you as a minority? How long did it take to land a job in your specialization?

7. Are there any forums or websites to find a black PA to shadow? or if anyone can refer me in central to south Florida locations?

8. I am highly interested in this career but want to know if this profession is worth committing to and seeking a job for in the years of 2024-2028? I know that's a stretch time but I like to be prepared lol 

Thank you for your time!! 

Edited by ShaquelPA

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I'm not a minority but happy to try to help with some of your questions. Current PA student. 

1. Yes. I think being a medical assistant is one of the best experiences you can have as a pre-PA. 

2. Major doesn't matter. Seriously. Major in whatever you want in order to 1. meet all your PA school prereqs and 2. keep that GPA high. PA schools care about how well you did in your prereqs not what your major was. 

3. As far as I know, no. 

5. I sincerely hope not. 

8. My impression has been (and continues to be) that the demand for PAs will continue. There are some very over-saturated locations in the US, but for the most part I've found that there are jobs for PAs nearly everywhere. That was a huge draw for me - demand and stability. 

 

Edited by BaxLN

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35 minutes ago, BaxLN said:

I'm not a minority but happy to try to help with some of your questions. Current PA student. 

1. Yes. I think being a medical assistant is one of the best experiences you can have as a pre-PA. 

2. Major doesn't matter. Seriously. Major in whatever you want in order to 1. meet all your PA school prereqs and 2. keep that GPA high. PA schools care about how well you did in your prereqs not what your major was. 

3. As far as I know, no. 

5. I sincerely hope not. 

8. My impression has been (and continues to be) that the demand for PAs will continue. There are some very over-saturated locations in the US, but for the most part I've found that there are jobs for PAs nearly everywhere. That was a huge draw for me - demand and stability. 

 

Thank you so much, This helped me with my nerves a little because I sometimes feel like this field is getting more popularized by the year! hopefully now I can make a discussion on my B.S major too. Thank you! 

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I'll start off by saying I'm mestizo and chinese.

  1. Yes.
  2. Prereqs matter.
  3. To be honest, probably depends on the school's mission.  Separate note...I got an overall of 3.8 in didactic year of PA school, but by all means did not show that I would be able to get that with my previous cGPA(3.37) and sGPA (3.1ish) in undergrad.  A little over half my class is white and the white students I studied with...when we talked to about previous grades...had higher undergraduate GPAs than I did, like 3.7+, take that how you will.
  4. Sorry can't help you there.
  5. Not a PA, just in clinical phase, but people focus too much on race.  You are going to run into stupid people everywhere and that is few and far between.  We all have our own examples...I had a patient when I was working in dialysis that only wanted black CCHTs to work on him when he first started.  One day there were none and I was closest thing to not white so he had me, he wasn't happy at first but ended up liking the way I did things better.  After that, he let everyone work with him after he got over his...whatever he had going on.  In this PC environment you are likely not going to get anything from a colleague, it is a sure way to get fired if one were a racist...and I find the people just don't give a crap about race.
  6. None of the minority PAs that I talked to mentioned having issues finding work.  Same thing as any other PA...pass PANCE and interview well.
  7. Nope. To be honest, id just try to shadow anyone, don't limit yourself in any way.
  8. Things looking good, Id go to a pre-PA session where they talk about this stuff.

 

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Having been a hiring manager at a Fortune 100 company, you will have no problems getting interviews or getting hired absent things like felonies or expulsions.  Qualified STEM minority females can command quite substantial salaries in large organizations, because they can get the job done and help EEOC numbers ultimately reducing the number of minorities who are hired solely to balance EEOC numbers and have little to no actual benefit to an organization's mission.

I would expect $5-10k over what an "average" new graduate PA would get, assuming you successfully complete PA school, as well as being de facto immune to firing, again absent board reprimands or malpractice suits.  If you happen to be particularly GOOD, as well as being an underrepresented minority, there's very little limit to what corporate practices will do for you.  Don't expect this to apply in small practices--they aren't on the EEOC's radar, so provider representation won't matter as much to them.

Go look at any program's PA class photo: it's a sea of white women, with the occasional male or Asian thrown in. Most programs would LOVE to add a single smiling black face to that substantially monochrome image.

So yes, being Jamaican is going to be an advantage for getting into PA school and for hiring.  At the same time, yes, you WILL experience racism, because some will assume you ONLY got the position because of your race and sex.  Patient perceptions are just as irrational as you would expect; I never get pushback on anything, because I'm an almost-fifty white dude with greying temples: I fit their stereotype of what a good provider "should" look like, regardless of whether I am any good or not.  For some patients, you will not, again, regardless of your actual skill.  This may vary based on the demographic you work with, of course.

Best wishes!

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On 7/22/2019 at 12:36 AM, Ket131 said:

I'll start off by saying I'm mestizo and chinese.

  1. Yes.
  2. Prereqs matter.
  3. To be honest, probably depends on the school's mission.  Separate note...I got an overall of 3.8 in didactic year of PA school, but by all means did not show that I would be able to get that with my previous cGPA(3.37) and sGPA (3.1ish) in undergrad.  A little over half my class is white and the white students I studied with...when we talked to about previous grades...had higher undergraduate GPAs than I did, like 3.7+, take that how you will.
  4. Sorry can't help you there.
  5. Not a PA, just in clinical phase, but people focus too much on race.  You are going to run into stupid people everywhere and that is few and far between.  We all have our own examples...I had a patient when I was working in dialysis that only wanted black CCHTs to work on him when he first started.  One day there were none and I was closest thing to not white so he had me, he wasn't happy at first but ended up liking the way I did things better.  After that, he let everyone work with him after he got over his...whatever he had going on.  In this PC environment you are likely not going to get anything from a colleague, it is a sure way to get fired if one were a racist...and I find the people just don't give a crap about race.
  6. None of the minority PAs that I talked to mentioned having issues finding work.  Same thing as any other PA...pass PANCE and interview well.
  7. Nope. To be honest, id just try to shadow anyone, don't limit yourself in any way.
  8. Things looking good, Id go to a pre-PA session where they talk about this stuff.

 

Thank you so much for your response! That’s unfortunate about the guy who wanted only black CCHTs but I’m glad things were able to turn around for you. Thank you for the reassurance! Also how is your clinical phase going? And what was your Bachelors degree if you don’t mind me asking? 

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16 hours ago, rev ronin said:

Having been a hiring manager at a Fortune 100 company, you will have no problems getting interviews or getting hired absent things like felonies or expulsions.  Qualified STEM minority females can command quite substantial salaries in large organizations, because they can get the job done and help EEOC numbers ultimately reducing the number of minorities who are hired solely to balance EEOC numbers and have little to no actual benefit to an organization's mission.

I would expect $5-10k over what an "average" new graduate PA would get, assuming you successfully complete PA school, as well as being de facto immune to firing, again absent board reprimands or malpractice suits.  If you happen to be particularly GOOD, as well as being an underrepresented minority, there's very little limit to what corporate practices will do for you.  Don't expect this to apply in small practices--they aren't on the EEOC's radar, so provider representation won't matter as much to them.

Go look at any program's PA class photo: it's a sea of white women, with the occasional male or Asian thrown in. Most programs would LOVE to add a single smiling black face to that substantially monochrome image.

So yes, being Jamaican is going to be an advantage for getting into PA school and for hiring.  At the same time, yes, you WILL experience racism, because some will assume you ONLY got the position because of your race and sex.  Patient perceptions are just as irrational as you would expect; I never get pushback on anything, because I'm an almost-fifty white dude with greying temples: I fit their stereotype of what a good provider "should" look like, regardless of whether I am any good or not.  For some patients, you will not, again, regardless of your actual skill.  This may vary based on the demographic you work with, of course.

Best wishes!

I appreciate your time to explain your experiences. You answered many of my concerns thank you! Also I agree it’s time to see fresh faces for the PA career! Wish me luck!

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