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why are there not more schools?


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As I am becoming frustrated with th eapplication process this thought crossed my mind. If there are thousands of applicants for each school's 100 or less slots, how come there are not more PA schools out there? I know there are many of us out here who are well qualified to become PA's, yet are having a hard time getting into schools. I am from Maryland and we have 3 PA schools. It just seems like with such great medical institutions in the Baltimore/Washington area, there should be at least two more school choices. Why does University of Maryland or Johns Hopkins not have a PA program? I really feel there needs to be more programs available. Perhaps if I ever get into PA school, I will consider becoming a professor when I finish so there are more teachers available, if a professor shortage is the problem.

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Rotations are hard to come by. The didactic year of PA school is the lip of a funnel..as you get in deeper to the educational process, the available resources for students become even more finite and constricted. Pretty soon you'll be in clinical year hoping to score a sweet rotation in that Pediatric ER but now you're competing against all the Med Schools, DO schools, and NP schools. Where your view may be of just your classmate, that practice who has agreed to take students is suddenly dealing with a nation of schools begging for slots. Students slow down providers. Med Schools pay clinics to take their students, thus, the clinics giving slots to them first so that their slower production is some how compensated. PA rotations are all volunteer. So a preceptor has to agree to basically take a pay cut to teach. If said preceptor can know that their perspective student is both smart and experienced, then they may consider it but with the acceptance of decreased amount of direct patient HCE by schools, preceptors are getting tired of "teaching from scratch". Then of course, there is the job market...saturate it and your salary goes in the tank due to the laws of supply and demand.

 

There are over 150 PA schools in the country. If students are willing to move for school, their chances to get in are SOOO much higher. You live in Maryland, where there are 3 schools... but you live next to as many major airports where you can fly home to to visit on break. Don't be afraid to leave the nest. If you're dead set on not moving, you're going to have to rise to the top if you want to be selected. Competition breeds performance. Gotta bring your A game.

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Just Steve brings up some good points. Additionally, accreditation for a PA program isn't something that comes easy. A program just starting has to jump through many hoops to even get provisional accreditation, so I'm sure that deters some of the bigger name medical schools from also offering a PA program.

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These are some interesting insights. Unfortunately, I do not have the option to move. I have deep roots in Maryland...house, farm, family. Moving would be very difficult. So I guess I"ll just have to keep rolling the dice! I need the type of school that looks at an individual too. My undergrad GPA is right at 3.0...however my Masters degree in biotechnology I had a GPA of 3.67....so hopefully they will look at that and see I can handle vigorous upper level work. I am lucky that I'm close enough geographically to apply to most of the schools around Philly as well.

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Your masters GPA will be added to your undergrad GPA to form your overall GPA which is what schools look at. So really your GPA is probably a 3.2-3.3. I was like you, house / family / kids / wife / good paying job prior to this choice... But you can't keep spinning your wheels in the mud.. It's 2 years.. 1 of it you'll be so overwhelm with classes even if you're at home you're not going to see your family.. The second year is clinical rotations and most programs will do their best to accommodate students to rotate near their place of residence meaning there is a chance you could be staying back at home. So consider the big picture in my opinion and reassess your options.

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1 of it you'll be so overwhelm with classes even if you're at home you're not going to see your family..

 

^I have to disagree, from personal experience. You are right about the volume of information and work that is involved, but not that your not going to be able to see your family. My wife is currently in her first semester of PA school, 9 weeks into it at this point. She's had a few exams that require her to put in more time at school or to stay up studying until after I've gone to bed. But, if you are focused and use all your lab time and free time throughout the day you wont have to cram and ignore your family. PA SCHOOL IS TOTALLY DOABLE.

 

Our place is big enough for her to have her own quiet study space (desk, printer, white board). We see each other every morning, eat dinner together every evening, and even watch an hour of bad TV before bed. She prints slide and notes, and I take the time to quiz her. On weekends we catch a movie and dinner.

 

Yes, look at "the big picture" and make sure that you and your family know exactly what PA school is about. Make sure that you and them have reasonable expectations about what is involved in taking on the commitment of a medical education.

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Well, let's throw a little grease on this fire.

 

I learned this past weekend that there are 72 new programs in the pipeline for the next couple of years.

 

So.....wait?

 

Do you think this will lead to over-saturation and lower pay for PA's in the future? I know there are expected to be huge shortages in physicians with PA's hopefully filling some of the gap but still, this seems a little overboard with 170 programs existing to date.

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Do you think this will lead to over-saturation and lower pay for PA's in the future? I know there are expected to be huge shortages in physicians with PA's hopefully filling some of the gap but still, this seems a little overboard with 170 programs existing to date.

nope, but I think quality will suffer as they will have to lower hce requirements to fill the seats full of 22 yr old bio majors....

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nope, but I think quality will suffer as they will have to lower hce requirements to fill the seats full of 22 yr old bio majors....

 

I agree completely. You can spot the pre-med mind changers at the interviews after only listening to them speak for a few minutes. Luckily, many of the programs I have interacted with seem to still put a lot of emphasis on many hours of quality HCE, but the norm seems to be moving to the opposite end of that bell curve.

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^I have to disagree, from personal experience. You are right about the volume of information and work that is involved, but not that your not going to be able to see your family. My wife is currently in her first semester of PA school, 9 weeks into it at this point. She's had a few exams that require her to put in more time at school or to stay up studying until after I've gone to bed. But, if you are focused and use all your lab time and free time throughout the day you wont have to cram and ignore your family. PA SCHOOL IS TOTALLY DOABLE.

 

Our place is big enough for her to have her own quiet study space (desk, printer, white board). We see each other every morning, eat dinner together every evening, and even watch an hour of bad TV before bed. She prints slide and notes, and I take the time to quiz her. On weekends we catch a movie and dinner.

 

Yes, look at "the big picture" and make sure that you and your family know exactly what PA school is about. Make sure that you and them have reasonable expectations about what is involved in taking on the commitment of a medical education.

 

No offense, but your wife is only 9 weeks in. Most of the courses are undergrad refresher courses to make sure everyone is on the same page. Wait until the "real classes" start. My current semester (second) is nearly 30 credits. I have class from 8-4, and study for a majority of the time while at home. It makes home life rough, but I knew what I signed up for.

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A PA program is a huge cash cow for the institution that supports them. As long as there are 22y/o bio majors willing to plunk down the bucks PA programs will continue to expand and HCE and quality be damned. In many urban areas like SoCal jobs are getting harder to find. A doc will hire a new grad, pay them very little with no benefits, work them like a dog and when the PA catches on and makes waves they let them go and find themselves another new grad. Now if you want to work in Barstow or another rural boondock location you will do better. And there will always be a prison or indian res. with your name on it. As always YMMV.

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No offense, but your wife is only 9 weeks in. Most of the courses are undergrad refresher courses to make sure everyone is on the same page. Wait until the "real classes" start. My current semester (second) is nearly 30 credits. I have class from 8-4, and study for a majority of the time while at home. It makes home life rough, but I knew what I signed up for.

 

No offense taken. We both served in the military for 8 years a piece. That is why my advice was "have reasonable" expectations. Which is something that we both know how to do.

 

Plus, I am also applying to PA school to hopefully begin next summer/fall. All I am saying is to stay focused and being in PA school doesn't mean sacrificing family all the time.

 

I was replying to the notion that someone should "reassess" their goals because they will NEVER see their family. That is simply not good advice. That was my point.

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No offense taken. We both served in the military for 8 years a piece. That is why my advice was "have reasonable" expectations.

 

But also, the advice to "reassess" someones goals because they will NEVER see their family is not good advice. That was my point.

 

Never said reassess your goals in a bad way. It's more of hey.. You don't mind waiting and want to put all your eggs in one basket versus casting a wide net and increasing your chances. Didnt realize that was bad advice. And I'll ignore the score of PA students with families I spoke with that stated they were home physically but not really home at all. But it sounds like your situation is the norm and the dozens of PA students with families I've spoken with are the exceptions 9 weeks into a years worth of didactic schooling well past the review portion. Please pardon my foolishness and ignorance. I shouldn't give advice I don't take myself but feel free adding your 2 cents from the peanut gallery.

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I was just speaking from MY personal experience, thus far.

 

No offense, but, I don't agree with you --> "1 of it you'll be so overwhelm with classes even if you're at home you're not going to see your family.."

 

I don't give advice based upon what "scores" of people tell me. I only give advice from experience.

 

My 2 cents are just that.

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nope, but I think quality will suffer as they will have to lower hce requirements to fill the seats full of 22 yr old bio majors....

 

Which ultimately makes me more inclined to get involved in or with a PA program at the entry level, to have some say as to who should be admitted, instead of waiting to make an impression when I have them during their clinical year

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Well, the program I'm applying for just started taking applications for their very first class under provisional accreditation. I waited a year and a half after finding out they trying to get started, quietly taking pre-reqs and keeping my fingers crossed, and now it's here and I have a shot at being in the very first class :) Before that, there were only two programs in my state, the closest one an hour and a half away. They saw a need (I live near a very medically underserved area) and they worked to fill it. So keep your hopes up!

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Well, the program I'm applying for just started taking applications for their very first class under provisional accreditation. I waited a year and a half after finding out they trying to get started, quietly taking pre-reqs and keeping my fingers crossed, and now it's here and I have a shot at being in the very first class :) Before that, there were only two programs in my state, the closest one an hour and a half away. They saw a need (I live near a very medically underserved area) and they worked to fill it. So keep your hopes up!

 

I am contemplating applying to a provisional program as well. I am hoping they might not have as many applicants. Who knows...its worth a shot!

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