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Hi,

I am currently 33 and own a small business (tech) that does pretty good and offers flexibility. I have been looking at something in the medical field for the past 1+ year, as I don't enjoy my day to day and do not consider it something I want to do for my whole career. I essentially do it out of financial necessity. Anyhow, Both physician assistant and physical therapy appeal to what I think would be great choices as I am looking to get out of the desk, work with people, move somewhat vs sit all day and lastly find a balance of helping while making a living. I am an active person, love to help and move - really the opposite of analyzing data and working alone 50 hours a week.

It's a lot to organize and looks like I will have to account for a minimum  of an extra year to handle all the pre-reqs as I lack a good amount of science (business courses). My few questions are:

  • As all pre-reqs are different per school, could you shed some light on good starting points (EX: Bio + Chem with 1 lab)? 
  • Do you know any expedited ways to get into a masters of PA program with an unrelated bachelors degree like business?
  • Advice on getting an informational interview with a local PA? I spoke with a physical therapist and that was very helpful but could not find anything related to physician assistant and would like to identify which is the better fit.

Big thanks, I don't need to ask if I am too old I already wished I started earlier but it's good to read many have switched paths in their early 30s from unrelated professions. 

 

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Unless you're 100% sure you want to pursue medicine, I would make it a priority to shadow a few medical professionals to get a  feel for their day-to-day and determine whether or not you're truly interested. 

Once you do that, then I would start taking your prereqs. Start with the basics: Bio, Anatomy/Physiology, Chemistry, etc, and then move onto your upper level courses such as micro, biochem, ochem, etc. You can get accepted to PA school with any major, so that shouldn't delay your applications at all. 

All the while you'll want to be trying to accrue as much hands on healthcare experience as possible. (Plenty of threads on that)

I'm sure anyone on here would be happy to answer any specific questions you have about the career path. You could also contact your PCP and see if there are any local PAs in your area willing to chat with you. 

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4 hours ago, Codes said:

Hi,

I am currently 33 and own a small business (tech) that does pretty good and offers flexibility. I have been looking at something in the medical field for the past 1+ year, as I don't enjoy my day to day and do not consider it something I want to do for my whole career. I essentially do it out of financial necessity. Anyhow, Both physician assistant and physical therapy appeal to what I think would be great choices as I am looking to get out of the desk, work with people, move somewhat vs sit all day and lastly find a balance of helping while making a living. I am an active person, love to help and move - really the opposite of analyzing data and working alone 50 hours a week.

It's a lot to organize and looks like I will have to account for a minimum  of an extra year to handle all the pre-reqs as I lack a good amount of science (business courses). My few questions are:

  • As all pre-reqs are different per school, could you shed some light on good starting points (EX: Bio + Chem with 1 lab)? 
  • Do you know any expedited ways to get into a masters of PA program with an unrelated bachelors degree like business?
  • Advice on getting an informational interview with a local PA? I spoke with a physical therapist and that was very helpful but could not find anything related to physician assistant and would like to identify which is the better fit.

Big thanks, I don't need to ask if I am too old I already wished I started earlier but it's good to read many have switched paths in their early 30s from unrelated professions. 

 

There is no requirement for a specific bachelors degree, just that you have one and have the prereqs.

While schools have some differences in their prereqs, there is also significant similarity. If you look up some of the schools you might be interested in, you can draw a Venn diagram pretty quickly.

Your state's chapter of AAPA may be able to direct you to a local PA to talk with and shadow. The fact that you don't know any does make me wonder if you currently have enough knowledge of the profession to make an informed decision. Your own PCP, medics at your local fire/EMS department, neighbors, etc might be able to get you to someone to talk with.

After you find a PA to talk with and shadow, you might get a chance to visit a local PA program, talk to a faculty member, etc and get a better idea of what's up.

And don't feel badly; I was a 51 year old engineer with my own business before I found a PA to shadow. Someone helped us and it is expected that we give a hand-up to those who follow.

Good luck!

Edited by UGoLong

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Thought #1: I am biased and think that PA > NP in many ways, but in your situation you might want to consider post-bacc 12 month accelerated nursing program ➞ NP school. That is the one shortcut that exists which would utilize your unrelated bachelors degree and life experience.

Thought #2: Before deciding to go PA, be sure you're going to be a strong applicant (ie. previous GPA, etc), otherwise it's going to be an expensive waste of time without anything to show for it.

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I wasn't an entrepreneur, I was an IT manager, but I made the switch.  It did take 2 years of prerequisites/leveling on top of my BS/CIS degrees.  I wouldn't go back, even though I miss a lot of things about the corporate IT world.

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Everyone above  is correct.  PAs are all around you, you just don't realize it.  Call your local health care system and ask for the office manager.  Explain to them your plans and if they could put you in contact with a PA who would be interested in helping.  Explain you want to talk to them initially.

google PA association (your state).  Explain the above.  If this is what you want to do, you should get used to talking to people and developing a rapport instantly.

 

Lastly, a lot of people seem to think life is a ballistic type of movement, where once started, there is very little one can do to change the course.  They seem to think there's a big plan, or they need a master plan they must follow.  Trudging through life.  Trudge trudge trudge.  I don't know if that's right, maybe it is.  I've had a rather roundabout course, wandering through the woods, stopping periodically to examine the view.  Come to think of it, a plan would have come in handy, but I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in t...

lol. You get the point.  If you think you are too old or if you think you aren't, it's true. 

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Hi -

I didn't see any option to reply individually so I wanted to address those who were kind enough to take time out of their schedule to offer help. It is greatly appreciated. 😀😀

Great advise on finding PAs and to get that exposure upfront to see the day-to-day (including mundane tasks) that is my goal in the next few weeks to get enough of a perspective vs reading online.

I appreciate the Venn Diagram idea, at the moment I have a word doc I should upload here for others once it's finished. The main point there is to hold on loosely and account for 20% missed classes vs a tight schedule things will for sure change, or be delayed - no doubt.

Coming from another industry it helps to hear Rev not regret the decision.  I am sure he can relate coming from an IT field that there is a sense of emptyness that is difficult to explain working directly with technology/computers 95% of the time. Especially if your personality enjoys working with others.

I understand every career/job has it's drawbacks and am super grateful of the realistic answers, these help. For me, trading flexibility and working toward a career that works with others, is stable financially and has an element of helping, outweighs being locked to a computer screen, working from home, pushing numbers.

The ballistic movement is a good example, I 100% understand this decision would be to keep on my toes, keep moving towards the end goal and account for a lot of variables. The whole timeline is something that I would need to be mature about (~3 years -5 years). The benefit I do have is my clients are on retainer and require very little direct contact so I plan to design my week around the initiatives above up until I would actually get into a program.

Sacrifice would be the name of the game, I've been long overdue to change courses and it's something I would take very seriously. These answers are a big help to get me more data and a realistic view of what's next - Thank you all.

I really appreciate everyone's time and straightforward answers. It sped up my research efforts greatly and I am sure someone else in the future in my similiar shoes will find this
specific thread of great value.

Big Thanks Again

Edited by Codes

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