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Junior Next Fall: Should I switch goals from Neuropsychologist to PA?

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l_studybuddy_l

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Hi, I'm a current upper sophomore in undergrad majoring in Psych, minoring in Biology, and minoring in Neuroscience. I plan on going to school for my PSYD in Clinical Neuropsychology. So far I don't have any clinical experience, but I was a researcher's assistant last semester and got promoted to a researcher this semester in a lab I that I work in for college credits. I really like what I'm doing, but many people are telling me to go for PA instead because it's quicker and easier. I looked into it and I really like the job description, and the education isn't too long after Bachelor's. Should I switch to PA? I have not taking Bio or Chem yet, and I looked at the general requirements for PA school. Also, instead of taking general chem 1 and 2, and orgo 1 and 2, can I take chem for health professions and orgo for health professions if I consider the PA route or do I need a year of general each? What are the pros and cons of PA, and what does anyone think of nuropsych? How competetive is PA? Is it too late for me to change routes and still graduate in 4 years? Does research make a PA student stand out? What are the chances of getting into PA school right after undergrad, is it possible? I know people who got into med school at the age of 21, right out of undergrad, what about PA? I did some planning for PA, bare with me. I have most of the requirements for my degree, I can drop the Bio. minor and take the PA pre-reqs. I already took stats for Psych. My college offers 2 summer semester between spring and fall semesters. I don't have any clinical experience, should I build up on that and would I be able to squeeze in my hours? I can get my BA in Psych now or take 3 more classes or the BS, and I need 3 more neuro classes for my degrees. I'm going to finish all of my Liberal Arts classes over the Winter semesters, I got most of them down and there are no Psych or Pre-Health classes offered that time.

Fall 3
Bio 1
anatomy and lab 1

Spring 3
Bio 2
anatomy and lab 2

Summer 1/2
Anatomy and Physiology 1

Summer 2/2
Anatomy and Physiology 2

Fall 4
orgo 1
Microbio


Spring 4
orgo 2

I'm looking for any kind of feedback, good or bad, I just need help. Is it possible to graduate in 4 years, should I take a gap year for clinical experience only after I graduate? Is my Psych degree and neuro minor good enough for a PA? I heard health and nutrition science is a better degree but too late to switch, do they look at my degree? Will this diminish my chances at all? How's my chances looking as of now? My GPA is 3.69 now. My college has psych under the science department and not the social sciences.
 
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deleted778763

First thing you should do is shadow a PA preferably in ED and family medicine . It's not an easy program at all. Yes it's 24 months masters but it's very intense and you really should like clinical medicine . Such as touching and examining people . You'll have to do pelvic exams, rectal exams, sutures , ect.... that's the big unknown here . If you can't stomach blood and touching people stay with neuropsychology . Mostly though know that the PA program is not easy nor is it a shortcut. I've taught in one and also been a PA forever . Good luck !
 

l_studybuddy_l

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First thing you should do is shadow a PA preferably in ED and family medicine . It's not an easy program at all. Yes it's 24 months masters but it's very intense and you really should like clinical medicine . Such as touching and examining people . You'll have to do pelvic exams, rectal exams, sutures , ect.... that's the big unknown here . If you can't stomach blood and touching people stay with neuropsychology . Mostly though know that the PA program is not easy nor is it a shortcut. I've taught in one and also been a PA forever . Good luck !

I don't mind getting touchy (physical) with the patients at all. Is my future semester plans alright? Can I get enough clinical experience by the time I graduate? If I start from this summer, can I get enough experience from then until the end of my gap year after senior year? Does my research help at all?
 
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deleted778763

Your gpa , clinical experience and shadowing a PA are important factors for admission. Working as a paramedic, scribe , er tech are all great if you can do them during the summer. Also research which prerequisite courses are required by each program to which you want to apply. Check out Caspa website (central application for physician assistants ) . You still have plenty of time to make it work if this is really what you want. First I would shadow a PA ASAP to see if you enjoy the role . Some programs require a certain number of hours shadowing so keep track of any hours you get in . Research may help for some programs esp if it's a combo mph/pa degree but it's usually not a requirement .
 

pamac

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You should read older posts, go visit the non sdn physician assistant forums, and start looking at individual PA school websites. You have a ton of questions that are legitimate, but they are questions that you can find answers to before you even ask someone on a forum. So let your fingers do the walking, and not by just asking.

The best advice anyone can give you, above all else, is get the best grades you can. Everything else is secondary. Grades are king. Focus on that and it will get you farther ahead than becoming an EMT, or any other activity you would spend time on. If you get awesome grades, you can even have the option of med school. Doesn't mean you have to take it, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to choose. PA prereqs are hard enough and similar enough to med school prereqs (if not identical), that if you have good grades, it makes sense to have that on your plate if you change your mind later on.
 
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deleted778763

You should read older posts, go visit the non sdn physician assistant forums, and start looking at individual PA school websites. You have a ton of questions that are legitimate, but they are questions that you can find answers to before you even ask someone on a forum. So let your fingers do the walking, and not by just asking.

The best advice anyone can give you, above all else, is get the best grades you can. Everything else is secondary. Grades are king. Focus on that and it will get you farther ahead than becoming an EMT, or any other activity you would spend time on. If you get awesome grades, you can even have the option of med school. Doesn't mean you have to take it, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to choose. PA prereqs are hard enough and similar enough to med school prereqs (if not identical), that if you have good grades, it makes sense to have that on your plate if you change your mind later on.
Become a PA - AAPA This is a great place to start and also has links to the requirements for every program . My old program is now a masters only program and now requires the GRE and 1000 health care experience hours which is a change from 20 years ago when I applied . So make sure you look at each program individually to cover their requirements ! Good luck !
 
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deleted6669

Become a PA - AAPA This is a great place to start and also has links to the requirements for every program . My old program is now a masters only program and now requires the GRE and 1000 health care experience hours which is a change from 20 years ago when I applied . So make sure you look at each program individually to cover their requirements ! Good luck !
yup, things in PA education are really changing. when I applied there were 54 programs. most were at the BS level. typical applicants were paramedics, RNs, and Resp therapists with years of experience. no gre. no ochem. gpa had to be > 3.0 As a 27 year old paramedic with 10 years of work experience I was among the youngest applicants to my program. most students were male.
today there are something like 210 programs, mostly MS level, and avg experience is typically 1000 hrs as a cna or emt. most places want full medschool prereqs, ochem, GRE, etc 75% of applicants today are female.
 
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