Sep 29, 2019
Hello, I’ve recently graduated with a degree in finance, worked for 5 months and hated it. I have to much desire to help people and make a difference in their life to be stuck at a desk 8 hours a day.

I have shadowed a dentist and a PA. Loved both, and I am still trying to figure out my best path. At first I was almost committed to PA, however the idea of getting 2,000 hours of experience and not being guaranteed a spot into PA school is pretty intimidating. With dentistry, I wouldn’t finish until I’m 29 (which isn’t terrible).

I have recently looked into Nursing, and I could see myself doing that, and i have even seen that there are accelerated programs for people with bachelors already. I have started my pre reqs and I’m looking at finishing my pre reqs around a 3.8 GPA.

If I rule dentistry out, would I be better off going the nursing route or PA route? Prestige is not everything to me, However I would like to make good money, and have a nice work life balance, and I’d like to give myself the best shot of getting into whatever program I decide.


Staff member
5+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2013
Well an accelerated nursing degree is usually around 18 months give or take from what I've seen. PA school is usually between 24 and 36 months (most being 24-27 months), which is only 6 or so months longer than the accelerated nursing programs. Both have a fair set of pre-reqs with overlap. The longer route also requires experience as you point out, which takes time. 2000 hours is 1 full year of full time work, or 2 years part time.

If you can see yourself as a nurse, don't have any experience, and not only don't want to delay going to school, but would like to save a little time in going the route thats slightly shorter, then do nursing. If you change your mind, you'll be able to get hours via nursing anyway and PA school isn't going anywhere. If you don't mind putting in a little more time before starting and doing the slightly longer route, keep in mind that you'd also need to do some sort of training to become an EMT, a CNA, an MA, or something to be able to get the direct patient contact required for said hours.


7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2010
Other Health Professions Student
The PA school prereqs can tack quite a bit of time on to your pathway. The nursing prereqs are actually a bit looser with respect to chemistry courses and such. I always recommend that for someone starting from scratch, it can’t take roughly 4 semesters of pretty hard coursework to get the PA prereqs down. As far as health care experience, PA schools aren’t as picky in that regard like they used to be. The schools that used to want to see a lot of it still do want to see it, but many more have been built that don’t care as much. On the flip side, they want to see really good grades these days, and it’s really competitive.

an accelerated BSN is one of the best investments you can make, provided the price isn’t too high. You end up with a job that is in demand in so many places, and pays fairly well. A PA degree can be too, but you really are looking at more of a gamble as far as getting in. More investment in terms of time and money as well. I’m not saying it’s bad, but I’m saying the biggest bang for your buck first comes from getting that RN. My only regret is that I didn’t get mine sooner.

Helping people is great, but when you are in healthcare, you are really working hard for people, and the price you are paid doesn’t always match up with how much you put into it, though.
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