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Aging Paramedic to PA Pros and Cons

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Hi Guy's,

Paramedic here, creeping up on my 40s and lurking in the shadows of the forum. I've been in EMS since I was 21. I think I still have some years of 911 ground pounding ahead of me, but I'm worried my body might not be capable of doing this into my 50s and beyond. Plus, the older I get, the more likely I'll be injured on the job. My undergrad is from WA state. I have a master’s degree in public health from a foreign university in Europe that I completed on campus (QS ranked top 50). I found public health boring and went back to being a paramedic... whoops.

I Look forward to subjective opinions below!

 

1. How old is too old to apply for PA school and will my age affect my chances positively or negatively? 

2. I might passively start taking the pre-req's at a community college once I hit 40 (just in case, super cheap at the CC and good information regardless)

3. Despite my education, I'm not great at natural science. My GPA in undergrad was about 3.3 (but sciences below 3) and in my master's program was a 3.0

4. I have zero debt. Speaking strictly from a financial standpoint, I wonder if this is worth it? In a few years I'll be making over 90k as a paramedic. Yes, I'll make a lot more than that as a PA but I'll incur a lot of debt.

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Former paramedic here- Something to consider: Part time PA programs. There are 3 of these left still. I attended the program at Drexel/Hahnemann. Typically they split the first year into 2 years, allowing you to work almost full time for 2 years, followed by a full time clinical year(normally the 2nd year, but the 3rd yr on part time tracks). I worked 24-30 hrs/week for 2 years and did event standbys only year 3. This option made everything both easier ( 3 classes at a time instead of 6), and more affordable. PA schools have folks from 22-60 in their ranks. You are never too old unless you decide you are. 90k is good money, but you could double that as a PA with a much nicer schedule. My full time job for example is 6 24s. I work more than this elsewhere, mostly because I wouldn't know what to do with my time if I didn't.

https://www.thepalife.com/physician-assistant-programs-offering-part-time-options/

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My experience is that being older is not an impediment. I applied at 57 and graduated at 60. I applied to three programs and was accepted by all three. I took all but one prereq in community college while I kept my day job. You will probably need to get your science GPA up considerably if it's under a 3.0.  You will probably not make lots of additional money as a PA (the salary range is fairly broad and it depends on where you work and in what field). Given your situation, I would thing that you either have to really want to do this or else just keep on keeping on with the medic job.

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17 hours ago, ExpatMedic said:

1. How old is too old to apply for PA school and will my age affect my chances positively or negatively? 

2. I might passively start taking the pre-req's at a community college once I hit 40 (just in case, super cheap at the CC and good information regardless)

3. Despite my education, I'm not great at natural science. My GPA in undergrad was about 3.3 (but sciences below 3) and in my master's program was a 3.0

4. I have zero debt. Speaking strictly from a financial standpoint, I wonder if this is worth it? In a few years I'll be making over 90k as a paramedic. Yes, I'll make a lot more than that as a PA but I'll incur a lot of debt.

Another paramedic here.  I'm not working as a paramedic currently but so far I've managed to keep my NR current but on inactive status.  (I'm having a hard time letting it go.  That's another discussion.)

Anyway.  How old is too old?  That depends on you.  The oldest classmate I had was almost 50.  There were a handful of us in our late 30's into 40's.  If you want to go back to school age is but a number to be ignored.  Go do it.

I retook many of the prereq's at a local CC.  It did not pose a problem for me when applying.  If you're concerned about GPA it may be worth it to pad the transcript with some updated coursework.  When I applied my GPA (without considering all the recent school work) was way worse than yours.  I was able to turn my recent coursework, and subsequently vastly improved grades/GPA, into a positive talking point during my interview for school.

Debt for grad school is certainly something to consider.  Don't let it be a barrier for you, though.  With smart budgeting and an aggressive payment schedule it can be managed pretty effectively.  I graduated with >$150K in student loan debt.  I was paid off and debt free four years to the day of starting loan repayments.  Sure, those four years were focused on paying off the debt.  Some sacrifices had to be made.  But to this day I still think it was worth it.

Ninety thousand a year in a few years sounds nice.  Are you working a typical medic schedule with built in overtime to reach that?  Depending on specialty you can make more than that working a "normal" 36-40 hours a week.  Sure, specialty dependent (e.g. EM), you may still be working nights, holidays, weekends.  But you'll still be home a lot more than the built in overtime schedule of working as a medic for less money.

All the best in your decision.  If you have other questions ask away.

 

Edited by dmdpac
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