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Hi!

I'm new to this forum and desperately need the help of people who has knowledge of what it takes to become a PA! I'm a current undergrad student, a sophomore majoring in Global Public Health with a possible minor in Biology. I'm on the road to obtaining all my prerequisites, but I'm really struggling with the patient care experience hours needed. Most schools I'm viewing need 1,000 plus hours which seems insane to me. I feel like most of the jobs acceptable for direct patient care contact are things that need even more schooling, such as an MA or EMT. I've applied many places to become a Medical Scribe, or PT Aide but haven't heard back. Am I doomed to take a gap year after I get my bachelor's? I don't know how to get the needed experience without prior experience. I wrote on all my applications I'm open to complete volunteer work but still nothing. 

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks. 

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The PA profession was designed to take personnel with medical experience and put them in an expedited, rigorous, basic med-school with a fire hose program and produce medical professionals capable of autonomous and team-worked based medical care.  

The original PAs were military corpsman and medics, who obviously had a medical background, and were given a crash course in autonomous advanced patient care and treatment.

The 1000 PCE requirement, or even higher for some programs, is there to ensure that applicants have a basic understanding of healthcare which, in turn, bolsters chances of success in this intense program. Nursing, MA, paramedic, etc. experience allows for applicants to have a foundation.

 

To answer your question, a gap year is not only common but often encouraged. Licenses and certifications take time but, many MA and scribe positions will train you on the job. Do not get discouraged but understand that the 1000 hours is not insane but, as some would argue, necessary. 

Edited by Sw3605
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9 minutes ago, Sw3605 said:

The PA profession was designed to take personnel with medical experience and put them in an expedited, rigorous, basic med-school with a fire hose program and produce medical professionals capable of autonomous and team-worked based medical care.  

The original PAs were military corpsman and medics, who obviously had a medical background, and were given a crash course in autonomous advanced patient care and treatment.

The 1000 PCE requirement, or even higher for some programs, is there to ensure that applicants have a basic understanding of healthcare which, in turn, bolsters chances of success in this intense program. Nursing, MA, paramedic, etc. experience allows for applicants to have a foundation.

 

To answer your question, a gap year is not only common but often encouraged. Licenses and certifications take time but, many MA and scribe positions will train you on the job. Do not get discouraged but understand that the 1000 hours is not insane but, as some would argue, necessary. 

That makes sense. It's surely a profession worth pursuing, just seems a bit difficult trying to transition straight from a bachelor's program instead of a medical profession. I'm not sure where to start to gain that valuable experience. I'll look more into MA and scribe positions due to the training. Thanks for your input!

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As above, the PCE component is there for a reason. Those who don't have a decent amount of clinical exposure tend to struggle (at least initially). Remember, once PA students graduate, most do not get an extra 3-5 years of training like our physician counterparts, so experience beforehand goes a long way.

Getting PCE can be difficult. I would consider applying to medical school as they don't have the PCE requirement and oftentimes that is a better fit for those who are coming straight from undergrad.

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Hi! I'm a pre-pa student too in my undergrad (very very new to this forum too). I've been working as a medical assistant for 3 years and I would have never considered PA if it wasn't for that. I got my certification while I got my AA degree, however, there are many schools that have a 8 month program and they help you get a job as well! I read too that being a scribe may only could as healthcare experience, not patient care experience (very confusing).

It seems daunting taking a gap year (I worked full time for 2 years as an MA and very slowly started my bachelor's program - I should have been applying to PA this year 😞 ). However, it may be worth it to get that experience! Being an MA was/is extremely rewarding 🙂

You got this! Wishing you the best!

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