Should I finish my degree online or in person? All prereqs are done. A list of pros and cons to both.By Tarantino
Hi, everyone. I'm a non-traditional student, wrapping up my associate's degree in psychology from a small state school (not a community college) in Georgia. This college only offers 3 bachelor degrees, which is why I would finish elsewhere. I was a student at Arizona State Online, but transferred to take my prerequisites and labs in person. All my science prerequisites with in-person labs for PA programs will be done prior to transferring to the next college for my bachelor's degree. Now that I'm almost done, I was originally planning to then finish my degree through ASU, but am now considering finishing it at my local university for various reasons. Here's the two options I have:
Option A: Finish my bachelor's degree in psychology at my local university.
PROS: Graduate with less than $10k in debt. Get hands-on experience in research. More than likely get a stronger letter of recommendation.
CONS: It would take longer to finish. I would barely get by, working part-time and living paycheck to paycheck. I would have to devote more time to in-person classes, which would take away from my income and time to do other things. Less volunteer hours. ALL clinical hours will be in private EMS, so my hands-on experience and skills won't be utilized as much, as it's 95% mostly transporting stable patients.
Option B: Finish my bachelor's degree in psychology at Arizona State University (online).
PROS: Accelerated program and can finish in 1.5 years instead of 2.5 years. Work in 911 EMS, which means better hands-on experience and utilizing my skills more - I think this will also make me a better provider in the future. More time to work, which means more income. More time not in a physical class, which means more time to volunteer, which is less stressful since I also have more money in general. Still get to go graduate in person.
CONS: Graduate with around $30k in debt. Weaker letters of recommendation. Little research opportunity. Obvious I finished my degree online because the college is 20+ hours away.
Although it would cost more to finish at ASU, I could become a PA faster, which means it would actually be better financially IF I were to get into both at the same cycle.
I am looking for some insight from any PA practicing in outpatient psychiatry, especially is TN or VA
I heard from a colleague that there has been some issue with reimbursement in the outpatient psychiatry realm that is specific to PA services
I wondered if anyone currently practicing in this specialty or anyone with knowledge about the situation could weigh in.
Are PAs reimbursed at the normal rate or at a decreased rate?
Are there discrepancies between reimbursement for medicare/Medicaid and commercial insurers?
Thank you all in advance!
I have a friend who is a fellow new grad PA, and she is considering a 2-year residency program in psych. She has a passion for psychiatry and could see herself making big differences there, however she is worried that she may begin to forget general medicine if she only works in psych for 2 or 3 years. Her other passion is ortho surgery (and other general surgery). She has also considered pediatrics and inpatient neonatal as other close-2nd choices.
So, I'm wondering if anyone has had to decide between two fairly distinct specialties or switched between the two, years down the road. In particular has anyone here gone from a psych residency program to another specialty (or moonlighted / floated elsewhere)... or any other residency program to something else?
In general, how difficult is it to find a general medicine or even surgery job after working only in psych for a while?
IMHO there is a great deal of potential in this specialty.
This article is a few months old but the numbers are solid...
According to this article ' Nationally about 1,800 PAs, or roughly 2% of the total number practicing, specialize in psychiatry'.
Looking at Psychiatrist shortage ' From 2003 to 2013, the number of practicing psychiatrists declined by 0.2%, to 37,889 nationally by 2013. During the same decade, the number of adult primary care doctors increased by 9.5%, to 211,121 total, and by 14.2% to 862,444 among physicians overall'. ' By 2015, 60% were 55 years or older'.
I know.... You are thinking that new grads need experience for this type of work. This is not true. The right personality and an opportunity are all you need.... That and a desire to work in mental health, I should say...
Of course you can apply for a clerkship. I found 7 programs here:
I'm attending Arizona State University online. I live in Georgia and I'm 24 years old. ASU is a quarter-based system, which means I get college credits on a quarterly basis instead of a semester basis. All PA and AA schools (I'm interested in both) require a certain amount of prerequisite hours, but at ASU, I would be about an hour or two short in a lot of them, like biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, etc. So, me getting a degree in biology from ASU is kind of pointless, because I'd have to take some additional prerequisite classes at my local college anyways. I should also mention I have a job (in aviation) that pays pretty well - about $60,000 a year. I am also in the process of getting my Surgical Technician certifications, but this will take a year or so. With this being said, I have two options:
A: Get my Surgical Tech school done and take a really low course load at ASU for Biology to ensure I maintain as close to a 4.0 as possible. Get about 60 of 120 credits from ASU (amount needed to transfer), then transfer to the University of Georgia. Finish my degree in biology, but live off loans. Try to find a part-time CST job while in Athens to keep them as low as possible. Continue with a low class load to keep a good GPA. This way, I'm keeping my grades high, but still getting some crucial clinical experience. Eventually graduate from UGA, a highly respected school in Georgia, with a degree in Biology. Then apply to programs. Most will be far away, so if I get accepted into one of those, I'll also probably have to live off loans for the two years of AA or PA school. Lots of debt, but better undergrad, experience (in life and classwork), and higher caliber school.
B: Buy a mobile home for a great price ($13k practically brand new) - a home right next to my parent's. In 3 years, it'll be paid off and cost me half as much as renting. Continue my degree at Arizona State University (online) in something like psychology, since my prerequisites won't count the same anyways. Minor in personal health. Get my Surgical Tech school done and work part-time while attending ASU. Finish my psychology degree, then take the right prerequisites at my local college. Don't live off any student loans until I get accepted into AA or PA school.
Option A seems nice. I can go to UGA, graduate with a degree in Biology, have that prestigious college (at least for my state) attached to my degree, finish everything on a physical campus, have easier access to volunteering in research studies at the campus, have 100% of my focus on my school and GPA (this is important as grades don't come naturally to me), and pretty much devote my life to making sure my prerequisites and overall GPA are top notch. The bad - I'd live off loans and accumulate a lot more debt and UGA is harder (could be a good thing for preparation) in their expectations. A lot of good, but the two bad are related to more debt and harder to get a good GPA.
Option B seems good too, but not as appealing. I'll undergrad in psychology and minor in personal health (biology/chem/etc not available). Take all the right prerequisites at a local college that should be easier to pass versus UGA's standards. Save money by working as a Surgical Tech and paying $500/mo in a mortgage payment versus $1,000/mo for an apartment.
SORRY TO RAMBLE. What's your opinion?