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Job or Surgical Residency right out of school?

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Hello everyone.

I am a a PA student on the last 2 months of PA school. I am taking my PANCE June 3rd! I am wondering what some of your experiences have been right out of school.


In December I was dead set on going to a Surgical Residency program if I got accepted, however, since then I am on the fence. I applied for jobs in the area just in case and got a job offer for exactly what I want to do, General surgery covering several different specialties including thoracic, vascular, plastics, etc. I said yes to the job, and because it is "At will" there was no contract to sign. That was about 2 months ago. Since then, I received an invitation to an interview at the Yale/Norwalk surgical residency program scheduled for April. I have decided on attending the interview because, well, why not?


My hesitation if I got accepted is that I have heard that these residencies work their PAs from 40-80 hrs a week, getting paid a very low stipend (Yale is 42K). I would also have to relocate to CT for the year. The job I accepted has offered over 90K. Furthermore, I have asked every PA I've met their opinion on residencies: Those who have gone through one swear by it, those who took jobs right out of school are just as talented and claim there you really don't need a residency.


Any insight, especially from Norwalk or surgical PA residents, would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

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There are programs strongly tilted towards surgical PAs( Cornell, Monefiore). These grads have no problem getting into and excelling at surgical positions.


For the rest of us, it is residency or see-one, do-one OJT.


You do NOT Need a residency ( yet), but, given the option, take it.


Residency or CAQ will be required in the next 2 decades, I am pretty sure.


The low pay and high hours at Yale is the price you have to pay to get from the program what you need to VE able to command higher pay and better positions in the future.


I am a pretty good PA. Hands down the best PA I ever met came from that program... She was the epitome of a natively crack sharp and exquisitely well trained PA.


You pay your dues for 12-15 months, then walk out super studly.


You will not achieve such studly-ness without a residency without decades of practical experience.


This is a no brainier.. You get what you pay for.


Good luck.

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I'd see if you got accepted into the residency and then take a long look and weigh out the pros and cons. The surgical PAs at Duke pretty much have all done surgical residencies and they absolutely swear by them. But yes, they said it is 6 days a week of 12-14 hours with a pay of 50k. Big decision, good luck!

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I was told by one of my CT surgery preceptors (who completed the Duke Residency) that if I could get a surgical job out of school to take it instead of doing a residency. (I was also told at the PA school interview at the program which I attended that surgical residencies weren't necessary because the program provided more surgical training than others, but looking back realize that was probably our former program director trying to "sell the program" to us, oh well). I agreed with his point that you can get paid twice as much and work half the hours and still learn a lot during that first year working so I decided to just go the job route. I graduated in December, passed PANCE in January, and have been applying for surgical PA jobs for 4 months (November, December, took a break in January while hardcore studying, February and March) and do not have any offers yet (despite 8 interviews and probably 20 applications sent out). I actually wish I had applied for a surgical residency now, despite the low pay and work hours, because then at least I know I'd be getting some excellent training and that it would give me that "one year experience required" that all jobs seem to desire. Unfortunately, by the time I realized this it was too late for the March deadline. I agree with the others that you should see if you get accepted to the residency and if so, make your decision then. If you don't get accepted it sounds like you have a nice, interesting job to fall back on!

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