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I am new here and this is my first post. I am currently finishing a masters program in NYC to become a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC/LPC) but have lost passion for the discipline. In fact, my heart was never really in it and did it as a safety net. My true passion was always for medicine. I recently decided to follow through on this dream because I am miserable doing anything else. I have worked as a CNA in 2 hospitals for 1 year and fell in love with medicine. I miss working with the nurses, doctors, and medical staff and even patients families to help patients. My plan after graduating next fall with my MA degree in mental health is to become a volunteer EMT-B. After that, I want to fulfill the pre-reqs for PA school but I have no idea how I will afford it or how to do it. I have no pre-reqs except for stats and psychology. Thank you for any feedback.

How do most post-bacc students afford pre-reqs? 

Is it okay to do pre-reqs at a community college? or should I do a post-bacc program? 

How do students afford a post-bacc pre-PA program? 

How long does it take to fulfill the pre-reqs? 

How expensive is it to fulfull the pre-reqs? 

What is the age cut off? I'll be in my 30s when I apply. Is that too late?

Does mental health counseling/substance abuse counseling count as direct patient care hours?

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I can't speak to how most people afford pre-reqs.  I was an adjunct instructor for the university and could take 1 class for free for every one I taught.  I also worked a 48 hour weekend shift at the FD while doing my last year of pre-reqs full time.  Before this, I took classes at night, usually 1 at a time, while working my prior FT job (corporate IT).

Absolutely it is OK to do pre-reqs at a community college.  It's much more affordable, smaller classes, usually taught by actual faculty vs teaching assistants.  There's no particular advantage to a post-bacc program.   It's also what I did - branch campus of the University of Cincinnati.

Expense depends totally on where you take your classes.  I don't know what it cost me, but my out of pocket was less than typical.

Since I started off part-time: 1 class at a time, I think it took me about 6 years to do my pre-reqs, but it could be done in 2-3 going FT.

Since I entered PA school at age 53, I don't think you have to worry about any "cut off".

I'd ask several PA schools, but I don't think counseling would count as patient care hours, but I think they would be impressive to a school.

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