raf1ki

2+ Year Member
Jul 10, 2016
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Medical Student (Accepted)
I am interested in mental health and psychiatry. I have over a year of experience as a research assistant in a mental health psychology lab, and over a year in a neuroscience lab to back that statement up. I would consider myself more well-informed about mental health and illnesses that most, so I believe I can make a compelling argument about my interest in psychiatry. It is probable that my personal statement will revolve around this interest in some fashion (although I recognize the value in being open-minded and spinning these statements to reflect more on general patient care).

I'm going to apply in the upcoming cycle, and I'm currently lacking meaningful clinical experience. I have 100 hours of hands on clinical experience from completing an EMT course, but I have not taken the national registry exam yet. I will take multiple avenues to getting clinical experience, and finish my EMT certification either way, but paid employment may take up the bulk of it. Could it hurt me to get a job as an MHT rather than an EMT? I can apply for MHT immediately. It could be several months before I am an EMT.

MHT pays about 12/h in my city, and EMT only 8/h
 
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aldol16

2+ Year Member
Nov 1, 2015
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Is this your sole income source for the coming year? It's very hard to live off of $8/hr - minimum wage is above that in many locales. You need to make a choice that you can live with - whether or not something is good or bad for medical school can come later, after you've figured out how to survive.
 

mcatjelly

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Dec 21, 2013
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Similar background here. I was a psych tech for almost two years after graduating college, where I was also involved in many mental health-related activities (leadership, advocacy group, research, etc.). I absolutely loved being a psych tech and thought the job provided me with great depth and breadth of patient interaction; you really can't beat exposure to psychiatry than through a position like this. I highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in the field, and add on the fact that it pays more than being an EMT, I don't see any downsides of working as an MHT.

That being said, I do recommend making sure you have some experiences in other areas of medicine. I never encountered anyone in my application cycle who explicitly gave me grief about my love for psych, but there's a small part of me that wonders if it hurt me, and in any case, it's better to be safe than sorry. I personally had some shadowing hours and worked with EMR at a primary care office to show that I had an idea of what medicine was like aside from psychiatry.

If you have any other questions about working as a tech, feel free to ask!
 
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raf1ki

raf1ki

2+ Year Member
Jul 10, 2016
211
161
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
@aldol16 This would be supplemental income. I'm very fortunate to have my parents supporting me through undergrad. Along the same lines, I'm wondering if some types of volunteering are more equal than others. For instance, I might be more personally interested in volunteering in a child crisis center/homeless soup kitchens, but if I have a general clinical experience gap in my application, I wonder if I should look for more cookie cutter clinical volunteering.

@mcatjelly Sure! Can I PM you my cover letter? I don't have the "preferred" qualifications they ask for, but that didn't seem to matter for my girlfriend, who got a job as one. With your experience, I'm sure you know what they are looking for better than I do.
 
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aldol16

2+ Year Member
Nov 1, 2015
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@aldol16 This would be supplemental income. I'm very fortunate to have my parents supporting me through undergrad. Along the same lines, I'm wondering if some types of volunteering are more equal than others. For instance, I might be more personally interested in volunteering in a child crisis center/homeless soup kitchens, but if I have a general clinical experience gap in my application, I wonder if I should look for more cookie cutter clinical volunteering.
I think you should pursue your passions. The medical school stuff will come naturally. It's easier to talk about an experience you are passionate about than something you did just for the sake of doing it. And if the former just happens to pay more, well, that's just icing on the cake.

However, I do have to say that since you've already taken the EMT course, it seems like a waste to just not use your certification (once you get it). Perhaps you can volunteer your spare hours as an EMT somewhere?
 

mcatjelly

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5+ Year Member
Dec 21, 2013
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@aldol16 This would be supplemental income. I'm very fortunate to have my parents supporting me through undergrad. Along the same lines, I'm wondering if some types of volunteering are more equal than others. For instance, I might be more personally interested in volunteering in a child crisis center/homeless soup kitchens, but if I have a general clinical experience gap in my application, I wonder if I should look for more cookie cutter clinical volunteering.

@mcatjelly Sure! Can I PM you my cover letter? I don't have the "preferred" qualifications they ask for, but that didn't seem to matter for my girlfriend, who got a job as one. With your experience, I'm sure you know what they are looking for better than I do.
Sure.