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Med Student to PA?

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autumngigi

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i'm 26 years old and getting ready to get married next year. i thought i had figured everything out about going to med school, but now i'm second guessing myself again. i was admitted into med school last year, but deferred for till next august for personal reasons.

during this time off, my fiance has graduated from optometry school and is now practicing in a suburb of chicago, we've bought a condo, and plan on buying our first dog before the end of the year (and strongly considering having our first child about six months to a year after getting married). i feel like i'm essentially nesting, and don't know if i could go through with the med school tract. this was my concern all along - having a family and being successful in my career. i don't know if i'm having realistic expectations.

so instead of investing approx $200,000 in tuition, and at least another 7 years of my life into a career that won't even get started till my mid-30's, i was thinking about PA school. has anyone gone through a similar situation? especially you women out there?

i'd also be grateful with any insight into the application process. i know you have to take the GRE. how does that compare to the MCAT?

thanks for helping out a lost and confused soul,
g
 
D

deleted6669

Several things...
not all programs require the gre, only the ms level programs(probably your best bet since you already have a bs).
most programs require some prior medical experience so either get some if you don't have any or search for those programs that don't require any( very few programs)
a great source of general info about pa schools and the profession in general is www.aapa.org
optional residencies(paid) are listed at www.appap.org
pm me with specific questions
good luck
 

group_theory

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Another question to ask yourself is:

When you are in your 40s or 50s - will you be satisfied or happy with your career choice (being a PA) or will you regret not going to med school (or thinking of going to med school)

Obviously this will all be speculation but if you have time, talk to PAs who have been out in practice for 10+ years to get their perspective. Also, if you can find former PAs in med school or PA--> MD/DO, talk to them - get their perspective on why they decided to pursue medical school

In the end, it really is up to you (and your husband) but talking to lots of people w/ different perspectives will help let you make a well educated choice.

Good luck :)
 

scota

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I have the same dilemma as the OP. At my current rate, I won't get into (assuming that I get in the first time around) a med school until 2007. I'll graduate in 2011, and complete residency in 2015. By 2015, I'll be 33 years old. I don't want to go through all of this and realize medical was not the right choice.

On the other hand, I can begin a PA program in 2006. I'd be done by 2008, and I can actually start living my life! But I have to seriously think about it. I don't want to be 40, thinking, "I should've gone to med school."

The PA program I've looked into seems resonable, and I am sure I can easily get in (Western in CA). But my real concern is, will I be happy?
 

Skialta

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My personal opinion is that if you are thinking of not going to medical school because of the time involved then you will likely cheat yourself. You will probably end up either going back to school or you will regret your decision to pursue PA vs MD. I am in my mid thirties and am currently in med school after not pursuing what I really wanted to do the first time around. I don't necessarily regret my decisions but you do have to live with those consequences. Good luck.
 

scota

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I feel so lost :(...
 

Tic Tac

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It's all come down to why you wanted to go to Med school.Money, save the world or whatever.PA is a good choice since you want to have a family.3Yrs and you are done(masters) and good pay too.
 

12R34Y

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I agree with some of the other posters.

You do NOT want to go to PA school for the sole reason that medical school if too long. If that is what you want to do deep inside then you just need to go for it and enjoy the ride. Becoming a PA will only be a temporary stop gap.

That's if you really have always dreamed of being a physician.

I was in your same situation several years ago. I started out in undergrad as a gung-ho premed. got burnt out on NOT being a doctor immediately (very impatient) and dropped out after a couple of years and then became a paramedic instead.

I thought I was the cat's meow. I was intubating, defibrillating, running codes, cool traumas etc....while the rest of my friends were in organic chemistry and biology. That feeling lasted about 3 years and then I realized that I STILL really wanted to be a doctor like always and went back to school and am now a 3rd year med student. Never been happier.

I contemplated going to PA school, but primarily b/c it was quicker. I had talked to some PA's who went on and eventually became physicians and they told me that if you really want to be a doctor just do it.

Unfortunately, many people believe that if they go the PA route that they will have some sort of advanced academic standing for medical school in the future. This is not true. YOu have to start all over again.

just my opinion and I'm definately not bashing the PA route b/c it is a wonderful field and well respected.

later
 

Freeeedom!

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Listen you are never too old for medical school...and there is never a "perfect" time to start a family or have children. The top student in my medical school class had 3 children. Don't let someone discourage your attempt for medicine...I was 26 when I entered medical school now I ma fininshing residency and I have 1 child and I have never been happier or regretted a single moment. And Scota, don't think that a 1st year PA can "live a life", jobs sometimes are scarce and depending on where you live, only surgical positions are available...and that ain't a 40 hour a week job and it ain't glamorous. Don't ever let yourself think "what if".
 

CTS-PA

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My fellow classmate, a very bright guy, was in a similar situation. He was accepted to Med school in 1999 and opted not to go, instead he started PA school in 2000. We both graduated from PA school in 2002, both in our early 20s and he has been practicing as a PA in Orthopaedic Surgery since. His hours are reasonable (~55hr/wk) and recieves great compensation. He recently got engaged and bought a condo with his Fiance who is also a PA and a fellow classmate of ours. We have talked about this at great length and its clear to both of us, that all if this would not have been possible if he didn't make the seemingly "difficult" decision that he made. I hope that helps.
 

scota

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Thanks for all the feedback (although I wasn't the op :)). I've considered PA school not becuase of the length of medical school, but because I feel that (assuming I get in) it would be unfair for me to take a spot away from someone who really wants to be a doctor. I also realize that it would be unfair for me to take a spot from someone who wants to be a PA (if I don't like it, etc.) If I become a PA and like it, great! If I don't, I can always go back for medical school, right?

I know this sounds cliche, but I think I need to do some soul searching. I have a few months to decide: continue the pre-med route with o. chem and physics I next semester, or go the PA route with microbio, anatomy, and physiology...

Has anyone else gone through what I am going through?
 

CALIFORNIA PA-S

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There are pros and cons to each side. I think the most important factor is knowing yourself and what makes you happy. No regrets!!!! :D
 

autumngigi

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your replies have been great. it's hard for me to say that i won't have any regrets about my decision in the near future, but that's with any decisions i make (marriage, having children, continuing living here in chicago). i'm curious about whether those replying are male of female. just curious.

g
 

bobby6

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Justed wanted to post that medicine sucks. Make sure its definately for you and not the "ER" fantasy you think it may be. Be prepared to work like a dog. Its a never ending battle of who is better than who and watching your back to avoid either getting sued or screwed over by your fellow colleagues. Its a competitive environment and severely humbling no matter what kind of hotshot you may be. Both PA and medical school is tough. Would I do medical school over again if I had the chance? Probably not. I didn't realize what kind of sacrifices I would have to make.

However, if you're the gung ho, gunner of all trades, loving working yourself to death, then medicine is for you. Many people are happy in medicine but than again they like the fiercely competitive environment and endless hours of work.
 

12R34Y

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take bobby6's comments with a tiny grain of salt.

I love medical school. Have had 1 baby at end of first year (i'm male). my marriage has not suffered nor has my family life.

I'm in clinicals now and they are also doable. you prioritize your life more. I would definately go to medical school if I had to do it over again. Very rewarding and I've very little interaction with the type of people that bobby6 is referring to so don't let that sway you at all.

later
 

CVPA

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Scota:

I have been in your shoes before. I know the struggle that you are feeling, although I am a man, not a woman. I wrestled with the thoughts of pursuing medical school after I had become PA because, like you, I was about to get married. I ended up staying a PA after a great deal of "soul searching" for the following reason and I think this may help you:

I had to decide how I defined myself: I came to the conclusion that I am a husband and father first, and a clinician second. Once I did that, PA was the obvious choice for me. For you, you will have to truly ask yourself where your priorities lay. Once you have determined that, the choice will be obvious.

Good Luck.
 

12R34Y

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Just to throw in. I'm also a husband and father first..........way first and clinician second. Medical school was the obvious choice for me as well. I definately think medical school is not nearly as bad as everyone seems to make it. I have plenty of time (3rd year) and the first two years were even better as far as time with family goes.

I wouldn't do it any other way. Again, don't let people say to you that you have to be a psychopath with screwed up priorities to go to medical school.

later
 

bobby6

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Ahhhhh. You got to love the optimisim of the 3rd year medical student. Hope that you don't change through the course of your training.
 

12R34Y

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I have yet to meet anyone like you (your attitude towards medicine at least) so far. that includes many many friends, family that are residents and beyond.

don't plan on changing, but you definately have an interesting (although uncommon) perspective.

later
 

autumngigi

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just wanna let you all now that i'm female, so things may be a little different. i'll be the one pregnant for nine months and having to deal with morning sickness, back aches, and physical recuperation as a medical student.

g

ps - thank's to the poster who said that they were a father and husband first, then clinician. that really put things in perspective.
 

PACtoDOC

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autumngigi said:
just wanna let you all now that i'm female, so things may be a little different. i'll be the one pregnant for nine months and having to deal with morning sickness, back aches, and physical recuperation as a medical student.

g

ps - thank's to the poster who said that they were a father and husband first, then clinician. that really put things in perspective.

Having been through PA school, and now 3 years of medical school, I can safely say that there is no real difference in your quality of life as a student of either profession. If you want to make it happen, you can have children, spend time with family, and still pull off passing all your classes. It seems that the popular time to have children is sometime around the end of 3rd year for most medical student females. Residency can be brutal though depending on what you choose to do. But there are many rather comfortable residencies that are mother-friendly. School goes by so fast that you should really consider your long term goals, and not your short term comfort level. It seems like yesterday that I started PA school, but now I have been a PA for 6 years and will graduate medical school next year. My personal opinion is that the honeymoon period for the PA profession has come and gone, and I don't think being a PA will ever be as good as it was in the early to mid 90's. Veteran PA's are okay because they are locked in, but the other 20,000 to graduate in the next decade will doubtfully be so lucky.
 

tupac_don

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scota said:
I have the same dilemma as the OP. At my current rate, I won't get into (assuming that I get in the first time around) a med school until 2007. I'll graduate in 2011, and complete residency in 2015. By 2015, I'll be 33 years old. I don't want to go through all of this and realize medical was not the right choice.

On the other hand, I can begin a PA program in 2006. I'd be done by 2008, and I can actually start living my life! But I have to seriously think about it. I don't want to be 40, thinking, "I should've gone to med school."

The PA program I've looked into seems resonable, and I am sure I can easily get in (Western in CA). But my real concern is, will I be happy?

Bottom line is what you value more. If you are the type of person who values your time off and having a decent income, then go PA hands down. But if you want more autonomy, want to be in charge. Becoming a PA will not be a good option. In the short term PA school sounds fantastic, hey only 2 years and you will be making 60-70/year. But what about 10-20 years from now. Question to ask is will I be satisfied as a PA. And do you mind always being under the doctor. If you don't mind, hey the choice is clear. But if you do mind, then seriously consider med school. Best of luck.
 

Bandit

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PA school is roughgly three years (year round!) and as of 2006 it MUST be graduate school.

PS: my first year out I earned 90k---second 125 and never looked back. Very viable profession.
 

FoughtFyr

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scota said:
I have the same dilemma as the OP. At my current rate, I won't get into (assuming that I get in the first time around) a med school until 2007. I'll graduate in 2011, and complete residency in 2015. By 2015, I'll be 33 years old. I don't want to go through all of this and realize medical was not the right choice.

Be gentle, some of us are starting residency at 33 and have 3 years (+ 2 yrs fellowship) to go! That said, I do not doubt I made the right choice for me.

:love:
- H
 

flighterdoc

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autumngigi said:
i'm 26 years old and getting ready to get married next year. i thought i had figured everything out about going to med school, but now i'm second guessing myself again. i was admitted into med school last year, but deferred for till next august for personal reasons.

during this time off, my fiance has graduated from optometry school and is now practicing in a suburb of chicago, we've bought a condo, and plan on buying our first dog before the end of the year (and strongly considering having our first child about six months to a year after getting married). i feel like i'm essentially nesting, and don't know if i could go through with the med school tract. this was my concern all along - having a family and being successful in my career. i don't know if i'm having realistic expectations.

so instead of investing approx $200,000 in tuition, and at least another 7 years of my life into a career that won't even get started till my mid-30's, i was thinking about PA school. has anyone gone through a similar situation? especially you women out there?

i'd also be grateful with any insight into the application process. i know you have to take the GRE. how does that compare to the MCAT?

thanks for helping out a lost and confused soul,
g



When I was thinking of getting into healthcare, I asked a PA friend of mine (who was just on the verge of retiring after 30 years or so). He said that nobody should become a PA if they will be unhappy not being the person in charge - even with all the autonomy PA's have, they still are not physicians.

Something to consider.
 

scota

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Wow, 90k after your first year?! What state are you practicing in ;)? The only school I am applying to, WesternU in Pomona, CA, is only two years. It is an MS program!

Bandit said:
PA school is roughgly three years (year round!) and as of 2006 it MUST be graduate school.

PS: my first year out I earned 90k---second 125 and never looked back. Very viable profession.
 
D

deleted6669

90 K Is A Little High For The 1st Year Out On Avg( I Made 75) But After A Few Years It Is Very Doable. I Have Made About 5 K More Each Year In Practice And Am Currently Over 125k/yr Doing Em 18 Shifts/month
 
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