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OTA to PA?

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Hi all! I need some advice. I am a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. I have a BA in psychology, and an AAS in Occupational Therapy. I work in acute care and in-patient rehab, and have really enjoyed working alongside MD's and PA's. I have recently began researching what a career shift to PA would be like. I am realizing how much I am interested in the medical side of things and could see myself enjoying a career as a PA. Here's my dilemma: I would need to take chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, and genetics to fulfill the pre-req requirements. The community college in my area doesn't seem to offer these courses online (which is what I need since I work full-time)... and they don't offer a genetics course at all. Did anyone take these courses online, and if so, where did you take them? Also, I'm 26, and I feel like I'm a little late to the party. Can anyone that took a non-traditional route to becoming a PA maybe send some encouragement my way? I feel the career shift would be worth it... but it seems like it's going to be a very long journey before I get the school; especially considering most people don't even get in on their first try!  

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Guest PAhopeful85

I was a PTA for five years and I start PA school this month. I switched to multiple PRN jobs in order to take the prereqs. Also I’m in my early 30s so you’re not too late. I would advise looking into programs that only require up to organic chemistry. That way everything you need can be taken at CC. 

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Hi! I also worked full time during my post bacc. I took all my prerequisites at my local community college. Do they have any evening or weekend options? Or can you flex your schedule or work with your supervisor to accommodate the four classes? I did not take any of those classes online, and I would suggest you avoid that option if you can. Most schools require a lab component, and will not accept online labs.

Also a fellow nontrad! I started the process shortly after turning 26. 28 now, applying for my first cycle, and I've had several interview offers. Nontraditional students have a wealth of experience and knowledge to bring to the table. Most schools value that! Use this to your advantage in your personal statements/LORs/supplemental essay, etc. If you are passionate about the shift, and you feel like it's the right choice for you, I say  go for it 🙂! It's never too late. Good luck!

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