chrissyxf

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Nov 22, 2010
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So I know that this has been discussed ad nauseum but I'm not quite sure I can articulate what is going on in my head so I thought I'd try and get some opinions.
I am a new PA, just a few months out of school and working in an inpatient setting in a very specialized field. I love my job- I work alongside fellows and I have a lot of responsibility and flexibility and I only work Mon-Fri and I'm only 25 making a decent living. I actually had gotten into med school but, after deferring a year, decided against going for several reasons but mainly, as a woman, lifestyle with a family. I know I want a family someday and I loved that my mom was home with me and my siblings and I see dr's all the time with little kids who literally call the nanny mommy and I don't want that. I also really am sure I'd be bored in just one specialty and finally, I know I want to work in an inpatient setting but the life of an attending is not really my goal either- I would want to work in an academic setting where you have residents under you doing all the actual work and you just put your stamp of approval. If I did private world, you consult everyone under the sun to do the work.
Someone described PAs as being perpetual well-paid residents and that really is the case- and I like it...for now. I'm not sure how I'll feel when I'm 30 or 40. I'm guessing exhausted haha. But also, how will I ever have enough cash to really live worry free on a PA's salary? (not a surgical PA). Finally, I really really like the prestige that comes with being an MD and I will probably be really bothered some day when I'm 40 and some 28 y.o is bossing me around.
Some people are telling me to wait and see..but then I'll be too old to go back to school. As of now, most of my classes were >5 years ago so I'd have to retake them- and who really wants to go through orgo again? Plus I got into the med school out of high school and never had to do the MCAT so I don't even have a score for that. Help?
 

Paseo Del Norte

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Jun 11, 2009
606
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Land of Sand
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So I know that this has been discussed ad nauseum but I'm not quite sure I can articulate what is going on in my head so I thought I'd try and get some opinions.
I am a new PA, just a few months out of school and working in an inpatient setting in a very specialized field. I love my job- I work alongside fellows and I have a lot of responsibility and flexibility and I only work Mon-Fri and I'm only 25 making a decent living. I actually had gotten into med school but, after deferring a year, decided against going for several reasons but mainly, as a woman, lifestyle with a family. I know I want a family someday and I loved that my mom was home with me and my siblings and I see dr's all the time with little kids who literally call the nanny mommy and I don't want that. I also really am sure I'd be bored in just one specialty and finally, I know I want to work in an inpatient setting but the life of an attending is not really my goal either- I would want to work in an academic setting where you have residents under you doing all the actual work and you just put your stamp of approval. If I did private world, you consult everyone under the sun to do the work.
Someone described PAs as being perpetual well-paid residents and that really is the case- and I like it...for now. I'm not sure how I'll feel when I'm 30 or 40. I'm guessing exhausted haha. But also, how will I ever have enough cash to really live worry free on a PA's salary? (not a surgical PA). Finally, I really really like the prestige that comes with being an MD and I will probably be really bothered some day when I'm 40 and some 28 y.o is bossing me around.
Some people are telling me to wait and see..but then I'll be too old to go back to school. As of now, most of my classes were >5 years ago so I'd have to retake them- and who really wants to go through orgo again? Plus I got into the med school out of high school and never had to do the MCAT so I don't even have a score for that. Help?
I am not quite sure what to tell you about medical school. Perhaps the only advice I have is do not go if you are not totally devoted and willing to sacrifice many years to the cause. I would guess you already know that however.

With that, I am going to call you out on the 30-40 year old comments. Thirty to 40 is not that old. As far as bossing goes; I look at it like this: If said 28 year old is well qualified for the role and displays good leadership, I have no problem taking orders from said boss. In addition, you will never live worry free. I did not live worry free when I was making the bucks over seas. I do not imagine this will change if you were a physician. My primary physician has all the "prestige" of a doctor and he is anything but worry free. He has to worry about pay, staffing, billing, his family and so on. Also, it's a funny thing about life; at any time a profoundly life changing event can occur and change everything.

My thoughts for what they are worth. Good luck.
 

emedpa

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Sounds like you are the perfect candidate for the lecom pa to do 3 yr bridge program.they don't care how old your coursework is and as long as you have an mcat score on record you could probably go next yr.
in your position that is what i would do....don't wait.go back next yr....
 

bradt9881

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Yet another victim of the myth that PAs have more free time for a family life? The training is shorter, and you can certainly start earlier, but work is work; you will still need to drop kids off with the nanny.....

Go back to med school if that's what is going to make you happy, you will be done and fully employed before 35.
 

Makati2008

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10+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2008
1,636
412
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Hey guys,
I rarely talk on the forum. I personally think LECOM is a good program but I hope they don't accept a PA that has been only working for 1-2 years as a PA. I think that is wrong for all of the PA's that took the lumps such as Emedpa and others to have a newbie stealing a spot from them.

As far as a decent living that is very subjective. I was making a little less than 200k a year with 8k in debt when I left to go back to school and I could say that the amount I was being paid is "decent". I am going to primary care and it will be a wash salarywise for me at this point but I am losing that salary X7yrs.(Reason I went back is due to job needing PCP and them offering to pay for it.)

You have to remember that even going to medical school and becoming a doctor you will deal with some of the same things you mentioned as well as having a nice six figure debt to go with it. Also family issues get harder to deal with( I am in medical school now and I can tell you we have lost quite a few already due to this among other reasons) and time is somewhat a commodity(most PA's can get through medical school and sleep 7 hours a night from what I can seen so far).

Personally,
I wouldn't do this journey all over again(I say that but I think I probably would just would take a lot more planning) and I am just starting. I miss my old job,friends, and family and the free time I have.

Have you considered another careeer maybe in ER? Rural Hospitalist after you get a few years experience? If you truly want to go back I would talk to several doctors in specialities that you want to go into so you can get a look at the other side because the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Sorry guys if it seems I am rambling, tired and in pathology lecture as I type this.

Anyway best of luck on whatever you choose.
E.
 

facetguy

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 10, 2008
3,581
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Hey guys,
I rarely talk on the forum. I personally think LECOM is a good program but I hope they don't accept a PA that has been only working for 1-2 years as a PA. I think that is wrong for all of the PA's that took the lumps such as Emedpa and others to have a newbie stealing a spot from them.

As far as a decent living that is very subjective. I was making a little less than 200k a year with 8k in debt when I left to go back to school and I could say that the amount I was being paid is "decent". I am going to primary care and it will be a wash salarywise for me at this point but I am losing that salary X7yrs.(Reason I went back is due to job needing PCP and them offering to pay for it.)

You have to remember that even going to medical school and becoming a doctor you will deal with some of the same things you mentioned as well as having a nice six figure debt to go with it. Also family issues get harder to deal with( I am in medical school now and I can tell you we have lost quite a few already due to this among other reasons) and time is somewhat a commodity(most PA's can get through medical school and sleep 7 hours a night from what I can seen so far).

Personally,
I wouldn't do this journey all over again(I say that but I think I probably would just would take a lot more planning) and I am just starting. I miss my old job,friends, and family and the free time I have.

Have you considered another careeer maybe in ER? Rural Hospitalist after you get a few years experience? If you truly want to go back I would talk to several doctors in specialities that you want to go into so you can get a look at the other side because the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Sorry guys if it seems I am rambling, tired and in pathology lecture as I type this.

Anyway best of luck on whatever you choose.
E.
Just to clarify, are you saying you were making 200k as a PA?
 

facetguy

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Jan 10, 2008
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Does it really matter?
Relax. I'm not being judgemental (nor should you). 200k jumped out as quite a bit higher than the oft-cited PA salaries. I think it's great if a hard-working PA can pull in that kind of cash.
 

chinocochino

7+ Year Member
Sep 12, 2009
913
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The salary figures show mature PA's as making 80,000 per year, with PA's in certain specialities reaching (and surpassing) 100,000. That is a pretty solid living in the United States. There are athletes that retire having made 40 million gross in their playing careers that are broke. Conversely, some people make 40,000 a year and are able to retire 10 years earlier than most at age 55.

Its harder, but you can make almost any salary or compensation level work for you. Some people will be broke regardless of how much they make; its all about proper financial planning, sound investing, and, perhaps most important of all, a modest lifestyle.

So I know that this has been discussed ad nauseum but I'm not quite sure I can articulate what is going on in my head so I thought I'd try and get some opinions.
I am a new PA, just a few months out of school and working in an inpatient setting in a very specialized field. I love my job- I work alongside fellows and I have a lot of responsibility and flexibility and I only work Mon-Fri and I'm only 25 making a decent living. I actually had gotten into med school but, after deferring a year, decided against going for several reasons but mainly, as a woman, lifestyle with a family. I know I want a family someday and I loved that my mom was home with me and my siblings and I see dr's all the time with little kids who literally call the nanny mommy and I don't want that. I also really am sure I'd be bored in just one specialty and finally, I know I want to work in an inpatient setting but the life of an attending is not really my goal either- I would want to work in an academic setting where you have residents under you doing all the actual work and you just put your stamp of approval. If I did private world, you consult everyone under the sun to do the work.
Someone described PAs as being perpetual well-paid residents and that really is the case- and I like it...for now. I'm not sure how I'll feel when I'm 30 or 40. I'm guessing exhausted haha. But also, how will I ever have enough cash to really live worry free on a PA's salary? (not a surgical PA). Finally, I really really like the prestige that comes with being an MD and I will probably be really bothered some day when I'm 40 and some 28 y.o is bossing me around.
Some people are telling me to wait and see..but then I'll be too old to go back to school. As of now, most of my classes were >5 years ago so I'd have to retake them- and who really wants to go through orgo again? Plus I got into the med school out of high school and never had to do the MCAT so I don't even have a score for that. Help?
 

militaryman

7+ Year Member
Aug 21, 2009
70
2
Status
Medical Student
So I know that this has been discussed ad nauseum but I'm not quite sure I can articulate what is going on in my head so I thought I'd try and get some opinions.
I am a new PA, just a few months out of school and working in an inpatient setting in a very specialized field. I love my job- I work alongside fellows and I have a lot of responsibility and flexibility and I only work Mon-Fri and I'm only 25 making a decent living. I actually had gotten into med school but, after deferring a year, decided against going for several reasons but mainly, as a woman, lifestyle with a family. I know I want a family someday and I loved that my mom was home with me and my siblings and I see dr's all the time with little kids who literally call the nanny mommy and I don't want that. I also really am sure I'd be bored in just one specialty and finally, I know I want to work in an inpatient setting but the life of an attending is not really my goal either- I would want to work in an academic setting where you have residents under you doing all the actual work and you just put your stamp of approval. If I did private world, you consult everyone under the sun to do the work.
Someone described PAs as being perpetual well-paid residents and that really is the case- and I like it...for now. I'm not sure how I'll feel when I'm 30 or 40. I'm guessing exhausted haha. But also, how will I ever have enough cash to really live worry free on a PA's salary? (not a surgical PA). Finally, I really really like the prestige that comes with being an MD and I will probably be really bothered some day when I'm 40 and some 28 y.o is bossing me around.
Some people are telling me to wait and see..but then I'll be too old to go back to school. As of now, most of my classes were >5 years ago so I'd have to retake them- and who really wants to go through orgo again? Plus I got into the med school out of high school and never had to do the MCAT so I don't even have a score for that. Help?
I am PA-C with 6 years of experience starting medical school at my state universitity Aug 2011. I don't believe you need to retake classes. I completed my undergraduate almost 10 years ago and I got accpeted but it might depend on the school. Do not let the thought of having to retake classes discourage you unless you did poorly in them.
 

emedpa

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200k is doable as a pa but you are almost working 2 full time jobs to get it hrs wise.
in my group of 15 em pa's one guy makes 200k, several make 150-170, and most make 110-130. the guy who makes 200 works 24-26 shifts/mo(240+ hrs).
I know of a derm pa who made 187 k working 4.5 days/week last yr(lots of procedures....).
I made the big bucks for a few yrs but have other priorities now so I work less and make less but still am very comfortable and have no debt aside from a home mortgage.
 

sam6

Sam6
Nov 20, 2010
3
0
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
I am considering doing pa and I was wondering what was the process like for becoming a pa? I deciding to do this because med school is too many years and lots of money. How is job like and what could your salary be like? Some people tell me that pa get paid at most about 95,000 is that true?
thanks :)
 

Denatured

Hawkeye
7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2010
229
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I think you will find it difficult to get into PA school with no direct patient contact experience and the GPA you stated in your post in the pharmacy thread.
 

primadonna22274

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Disagree that there is a "too old" to return to med school (fir the sake of argument, let's arbitrarily cap that age at 50) but don't assume you would have to repeat prereqs unless you need better grades. I completed most of my prereqs in 96 and no med school has asked me to repeat them--just have to finish one physics course I never took. It did take quite a bit of brushing up on my own for the beastly MCAT but not a big deal.
I felt what you are feeling a few months out of PA school. Ten years later I'm going back...although the financial sacrifice is tremendous. My advice? Pay off all debt. Don't get married or divorced...cuz poof! All your hard-earned $$ goes to that instead of preparing to return to med school. Don't get too used to making a nice living. And go back soon--because it gets harder the longer you're out of school. I've talked myself out of it at least 4 times but the desire never goes away.
Good luck!
Alternatively, learn to be a happy PA and settle down and enjoy a family Etc. LOL ;)
 

keregg228

AA-s
Oct 15, 2009
41
1
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Other Health Professions Student
I took a lot of the pre med req’s AP in HS or the summer right out of hs (chem and bio). So I am 24 (soon to be 25) and my courses are already “expiring”. I did well on the MCAT and have had no problems applying to med school or AA school with my old courses. Usually the program says if you have 25 or higher on the MCAT then your courses don’t expire.

My experience is mostly with DO schools.

I know three PA's that work in the OR; CT 2, and 1 ortho that make about 150k for 40-50ish hours a week. (10-20 years experiance) They love their jobs. 2-3 days in the OR/rounding on the floors and 2-3 in the office with follow ups.

Another hosp i work at I know a PA that works in the hospital on the floors and makes like 70k and works 60+ hours. The nurses that have been there for 20 years (at hospital number one) make 45$ an hour . I told him he is crazy and under paid, but he likes his job and where he lives.

best of luck
 

sam6

Sam6
Nov 20, 2010
3
0
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
I think you will find it difficult to get into PA school with no direct patient contact experience and the GPA you stated in your post in the pharmacy thread.

Well then what if I raise my gpa with taking more science courses and do more volunteer work? I am not planning to apply any time soon, just looking at other majors. But this is my back up, I do not know if I could have a chance though
 

Denatured

Hawkeye
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Apr 21, 2010
229
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Well then what if I raise my gpa with taking more science courses and do more volunteer work? I am not planning to apply any time soon, just looking at other majors. But this is my back up, I do not know if I could have a chance though
Raise the GPA and get a job where you actually touch patients (taking vital signs, helping bath, whatever) and you could have a shot.
 

Orthodoc40

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Oct 21, 2005
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OP, if one of your big concerns is having enough cash, remember that going to medical school is going to (a) give you four years without income, and (b) raise your debt up to $300,000 or something (depending on the school of course). That's a lot to have hanging over your head, no matter what you're earning when you graduate. As an older med student, I can say I really would rather have gone the PA route, had it been an option for me.
 
OP
C

chrissyxf

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Nov 22, 2010
304
25
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So I made a decision and I am going back to school-or at least I'm going to try really hard to do that. I signed up for the second semester of organic chem (because I've never done that one) and will be taking the MCAT in May.
Primadonna really helped me see it the way I've been avoiding seeing this-> that the desire won't ever really go away so it's better to get back into it sooner rather than later.
As for the debt, it's not always about the money- if it were, i'd go into something other than medicine because-it's been said a million times- there are alot easier ways to get rich. I'm pretty much done paying off my undergrad loans and can manage getting my PA school loans down about 25% before med school starts. I know it will be hard but really, you only live life once so you might as well be happy :)
Thanks everyone for their input!
 

primadonna22274

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Chrissy: glad I could help.
If you really love medicine, go all-in. If you just want an interesting and fulfilling job that pays well, PA is a great career, but you will be frustrated by what you don't know and can't do as a dependent provider if you live & breathe medicine as I do. For me, it comes down to this: I'm 36. I'm gonna work another 30 years. I can't work under some attending's thumb for 30 more years. There is nothing I want to do for 30 more years other than medicine, so I made the decision to do it totally--but I'm not quite sane :p
Good luck to you!
 

FFwannabeMD

10+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2006
74
1
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So I know that this has been discussed ad nauseum but I'm not quite sure I can articulate what is going on in my head so I thought I'd try and get some opinions.
I am a new PA, just a few months out of school and working in an inpatient setting in a very specialized field. I love my job- I work alongside fellows and I have a lot of responsibility and flexibility and I only work Mon-Fri and I'm only 25 making a decent living. I actually had gotten into med school but, after deferring a year, decided against going for several reasons but mainly, as a woman, lifestyle with a family. I know I want a family someday and I loved that my mom was home with me and my siblings and I see dr's all the time with little kids who literally call the nanny mommy and I don't want that. I also really am sure I'd be bored in just one specialty and finally, I know I want to work in an inpatient setting but the life of an attending is not really my goal either- I would want to work in an academic setting where you have residents under you doing all the actual work and you just put your stamp of approval. If I did private world, you consult everyone under the sun to do the work.
Someone described PAs as being perpetual well-paid residents and that really is the case- and I like it...for now. I'm not sure how I'll feel when I'm 30 or 40. I'm guessing exhausted haha. But also, how will I ever have enough cash to really live worry free on a PA's salary? (not a surgical PA). Finally, I really really like the prestige that comes with being an MD and I will probably be really bothered some day when I'm 40 and some 28 y.o is bossing me around.
Some people are telling me to wait and see..but then I'll be too old to go back to school. As of now, most of my classes were >5 years ago so I'd have to retake them- and who really wants to go through orgo again? Plus I got into the med school out of high school and never had to do the MCAT so I don't even have a score for that. Help?
Based on your opening story, I am seriously concerned that people are encouraging you to go the MD route.

You seem very turned-off by the idea of having to put your plans of starting a family on the backburner. By the time you finish your pre-reqs for med school, interview, get in, spend 4 years of in-school training, and AT LEAST 3 years of near 80-hour work weeks during residency (and that's only if you want to be a primary care physician), you are going to be at your mid-30's. Not old, mind you, but getting up there in age for starting a family. I've met very few primary care doctors that start out as an attending working a cushy 40 hour week. Usually they have to "pay their dues" in a practice by working the most hours and holidays, especially considering that the average med school debt is well over $150,000 and starting PCPs make little more than you're making as a PA. So being a stay-home or part-time mom does not easily fit into this equation unless you're willing to wait until your late 30's to start a family.

And you're talking about being in academic medicine? We're talking more hours and less pay. There are plenty of intrinsic rewards to working in a training hospital, but they definitely aren't tied in to monetary compensation or lifestyle outside of the hospital.

You mentioned that you would be bored staying in one specialty. Once you've picked a specialty in medicine, you are locked in unless you want to repeat your residency training or do a fellowship (and yes, that means going back to near 80 hr work week for another 3+ years).

If you're thinking of making the "big bucks" in a life-style friendly specialty (dermatology, radiology), add on an extra year or two of residency. And you can't just wake up one day and say "I'm sick of staring at X-rays, I want to go work in the emergency room" and switch careers.

Going for an MD based on the idea that "I really really like the prestige that comes with being an MD" is TERRIBLE justification for all the work and debt you'll be going through. I plan on having kids, but that's after residency training and with the understanding that I simply can't be a part-time doctor for a very long time - my kids will have to be taken care of by someone else during the day. I'm ok with that. I'm also graduating with $175,000 of debt (that's with in-state tuition, no previous debt, and help with some costs by my family) and won't be getting that debt paid off easily on a pediatrician's salary.

I have no regrets about going this path, but I think every person needs to think long and hard about the sacrifices involved. If you were an undergrad giving me the same story, I would've told you to strongly consider the PA route. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questoins.
 

bradt9881

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I've met very few primary care doctors that start out as an attending working a cushy 40 hour week. Usually they have to "pay their dues" in a practice by working the most hours and holidays, especially considering that the average med school debt is well over $150,000 and starting PCPs make little more than you're making as a PA.
As a PA, I have to "pay my dues" every day. I have to arrive earlier than the MDs in order to review all the lab work for the clinic for both my patients and those of the MDs. My appointment schedule ends at 5:45 PM. The MDs schedules end at 3:45 PM. On top of that, I have to pull 100% of the telephone call versus none for the MDs. All for one third of their pay. I am glad to be a PA, but if I was the age of the OP when I started I never would have done anything but med school. The end justifies the hard road you have to travel to get there. Perpetual scut monkey, more hours, less free time equals the PA profession....
 

emedpa

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As a PA, I have to "pay my dues" every day. I have to arrive earlier than the MDs in order to review all the lab work for the clinic for both my patients and those of the MDs. My appointment schedule ends at 5:45 PM. The MDs schedules end at 3:45 PM. On top of that, I have to pull 100% of the telephone call versus none for the MDs. All for one third of their pay. I am glad to be a PA, but if I was the age of the OP when I started I never would have done anything but med school. The end justifies the hard road you have to travel to get there. Perpetual scut monkey, more hours, less free time equals the PA profession....
totally agree- pa 's exist to do the work docs don't want to do at places and times they don't want to do it....early am rounds, er consults, hospital discharges, postop clinics, rural/inner city coverage, nights/weekends/holidays, etc
I know very few pa's who work less than the docs they work with. in my group pa's work 160-180 hrs/mo and no doc works more than 144 hrs with most working significantly less. we do 10,12, and 16 hr shifts, they do 8 and 9 hr shifts...
knowing then what I know now I would have sucked it up and taken a few more prereqs and gone D.O. after finishing medic school....I may still do the pa to do bridge in my mid 40's if I can find a way to finance it AND keep my family in our house and pay the month to month bills........
 

FFwannabeMD

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Nov 21, 2006
74
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As a PA, I have to "pay my dues" every day. I have to arrive earlier than the MDs in order to review all the lab work for the clinic for both my patients and those of the MDs. My appointment schedule ends at 5:45 PM. The MDs schedules end at 3:45 PM. On top of that, I have to pull 100% of the telephone call versus none for the MDs. All for one third of their pay. I am glad to be a PA, but if I was the age of the OP when I started I never would have done anything but med school. The end justifies the hard road you have to travel to get there. Perpetual scut monkey, more hours, less free time equals the PA profession....
I'm not saying that PA's don't work long hours. But you are afforded the flexibility of saying "hey, I don't like this type of medicine" and switching scopes of practice without re-doing a residency. To be fair, I've only met dermatologists and OB/Gyns that had PAs or NPs. But I've never met a private practice primary care MD who consistently left work at 3:45. The family doctor I worked for got to the office between 6:30 and 7 AM and left work between 7 and 9 pm when paperwork was done (and said that this was typical of his colleagues). Many of the internists I precepted with worked similar hours. The academic generalists get to the hospital later and often leave later, plus answer calls overnight and sometimes have to come back in. I don't see them handing the pager over to a PA so they can go play golf (if this happens where you are, I want the zip code!)

Clearly I think that the ends justify the means, but I came in with different expectations for my future. There's a lot of "the grass is always greener" syndrome going on. It sounds like the OP ultimately wants to raise her children without relying on a nanny and thinks that switching to an MD will automatically mean great hours, great salary, and endless career flexibility. If it were really that straightforward, we wouldn't be so short on primary care physicians in this country.
 
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totally agree- pa 's exist to do the work docs don't want to do at places and times they don't want to do it....early am rounds, er consults, hospital discharges, postop clinics, rural/inner city coverage, nights/weekends/holidays, etc
I know very few pa's who work less than the docs they work with. in my group pa's work 160-180 hrs/mo and no doc works more than 144 hrs with most working significantly less. we do 10,12, and 16 hr shifts, they do 8 and 9 hr shifts...
knowing then what I know now I would have sucked it up and taken a few more prereqs and gone D.O. after finishing medic school....I may still do the pa to do bridge in my mid 40's if I can find a way to finance it AND keep my family in our house and pay the month to month bills........
Are PAs in your group paid more than the median for EM? I feel like most PAs I know work the standard 40-45 hrs/wk, but then again they're the ones that generally make less than 6 figures. Almost all employed PAs that I know who make >120k work abt the same/more hours as the physician they work with.
 

emedpa

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Are PAs in your group paid more than the median for EM? I feel like most PAs I know work the standard 40-45 hrs/wk, but then again they're the ones that generally make less than 6 figures. Almost all employed PAs that I know who make >120k work abt the same/more hours as the physician they work with.
significantly more than avg for significantly more hrs...avg is around 100k in em. our group range is 110-200k/yr.
 

FFwannabeMD

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significantly more than avg for significantly more hrs...avg is around 100k in em. our group range is 110-200k/yr.
Holy sh**. I'll be making 1/3 to 1/4 of that in exchange for 240-320 hours/month for the next 3 years (or 6 years if I specialize). And my pediatrician salary at the end of the rainbow probably won't even reach that amount.
 

Makati2008

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Holy sh**. I'll be making 1/3 to 1/4 of that in exchange for 240-320 hours/month for the next 3 years (or 6 years if I specialize). And my pediatrician salary at the end of the rainbow probably won't even reach that amount.
I wish peds. would get reimbursed more. They don't get paid nearly enough for the services they provide in my opinion.

And yea I was in EMED's range. I made 186k right before starting school and I think I made 160/170ish the years before. I had the schedule to die for as well but the only bad thing(and one reason which helped me solidify my decision to go back even though I might complain at times) was that the PA hours were the first to get slashed. Otherwise the scut work didn't bother me I could be doing manual labor like my Dad has too which would suck. Being a PA with the worst scut work is no match for back breaking labor.

E.
 

emedpa

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the pa who makes 200k is almost working the equivalent of 2 full time jobs. he works a lot of doubles and frequently goes 2 weeks+ without seeing his family for dinner, etc
I've never made more than 150k because I want to have a bit of a life too.
makati is right about the hrs though. we work lots of nights/weekends/holidays.
pa's in my group work 1 in 2 holidays, docs work 1 in 4. pa's cover all of the night shifts at our satelite facility. the doc swing shift ends at 1 am at our primary facility. the pa swing shift ends at 3-4 am. pa's start at 7 am. docs start at 9 am. etc, etc, etc
my job is probably the best em pa job within 100 miles but it's still not perfect by any means but we are compensated fairly and have a great benefits and retirement package.
I recently quit a per diem job which would have paid me 180k/yr if I was there full time and worked 1 extra shift/week. it wasn't worth it. they REALLY treated the pa's like crap....
 
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Makati2008

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the pa who makes 200k is almost working the equivalent of 2 full time jobs. he works a lot of doubles and frequently goes 2 weeks+ without seeing his family for dinner, etc
I've never made more than 150k because I want to have a bit of a life too.
makati is right about the hrs though. we work lots of nights/weekends/holidays.
pa's in my group work 1 in 2 holidays, docs work 1 in 4. pa's cover all of the night shifts at our satelite facility. the doc swing shift ends at 1 am at our primary facility. the pa swing shift ends at 3-4 am. pa's start at 7 am. docs start at 9 am. etc, etc, etc
my job is probably the best em pa job within 100 miles but it's still not perfect by any means but we are compensated fairly and have a great benefits and retirement package.
Man that sounds like we are working in the same place lol. We do ER coverage as call though and the PA are the ones who take up the bulk of that. Also our facility is very kind to PA's/Docs. If we are covering so much that we cannot get away(which it gets hairy my old SP was 17 pts down when one of the girls texted me leaving work this pm) then there is a little house/trailer that your family can stay in until you have time to take a break and grab a bite,see the baby, etc...
 
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Holy sh**. I'll be making 1/3 to 1/4 of that in exchange for 240-320 hours/month for the next 3 years (or 6 years if I specialize). And my pediatrician salary at the end of the rainbow probably won't even reach that amount.
Really, just think of residency as training; it is really just that. And for that matter, 200k is probably what 95 percentile of PAs may earn. The 95 percentile peds salary could probably be close to half a million.
 

emedpa

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Really, just think of residency as training; it is really just that. And for that matter, 200k is probably what 95 percentile of PAs may earn. The 95 percentile peds salary could probably be close to half a million.
PROBABLY CLOSER TO THE 99TH % FOR PA'S...
I know very few pa's who make > 200k. most own their own practices and are making money off the business. a pa near here owns a string of urgent care clinics and makes bank. another runs a bariatrics practice and makes 500k/yr. he has something like 20 pa's and 6 docs on his staff.
110 k is around the 90th % for pa salaries. the folks who make more than that work em, surgery, neurosurgery,or derm. a buddy of mine made 187k last yr as a derm pa working 4.5 days/week. lots of procedures....
 
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I am in the exact same boat as the original poster...I did an early acceptance program, I am on a year off, and I'm seriously considering PA (though I still have my acceptance to med - I started and took a LOA). I'm already accepted into a PA program, so at this point I just need to decide which way to go. Which has definitely been the hardest decision of my life.

Can you (the original poster particularly, but also anyone!) elaborate a bit more on your frustrations with being a PA? The regret of giving up the early acceptance? I burned out a bit in college and the PA route was sounding perfect - less time in school, more time outside when you're done, less stress, decent pay in specialties, ability to move around between specialties...but I was worried about the lack of autonomy. One thing that attracted me to MD to begin with was not really having a boss...but as I grew older I realized that in a lot of ways, the MDs do not have free reign between the insurance companies, being very careful about malpractice, dealing with the other MDs they run the practice with since I've heard it's generally very not lucrative to own a private practice individually, seemingly more paperwork and bureaucracy...and PA kept getting rated as a top profession while MD surveys seemed to show that a huge number of doctors aren't happy in their specialty or the field at all.

From anyone with experience, do PAs have less bull to deal with in terms of malpractice and paperwork and such? Do they really work fewer hours and have much less stress? Stress is a huge factor in swaying me. I've shadowed with many, many doctors, and most flat out admit to being cynical. Some genuinely seem to love what they do, but they're total workaholics. I absolutely love medicine, but I also want to have a life outside of work, or I'm going to be miserable. But from the sounds of it, if you actually want to have enough money to be comfortable and do things like travel, do you have to work resident-style hours to make it? And does the frustration on the job of not being the top seem to negate the happiness gained by coming out of school earlier? Any advice is veryyy greatly appreciated..
 

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I actually have more bull to deal with. As i stated before, PAs are permanent scut monkeys. That paperwork that the other poster alluded to keeping the doc late at night like med refills, and certificates of medical necessity for supplies? They fall on me to fill out, not the docs.

Yes, it's a good profession. As a general internal medicine PA, I made 88k last year. My SP makes three times that for less hours and no call. You are accepted to both a med school and PA program. The ball is in your court, but if it was me, I would go MD. I went PA because It was a second career for an old fart; I graduated PA school at 50. Imagine finishing med school and residency at 55, then trying to pay off debt before social security age. That was essentially my choice, and PA was the best choice. If you are young, go MD/DO.
 
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I'm wondering if a lot of it depends on the practice you get into. I shadowed with PAs at an ortho office in upstate New York and they worked 8-4 or 5 with some call, while the doctors were in 7-7ish with similar call. They were both very happy with their jobs, said they had way less crap to deal with than the doctors, though I don't think they made that much money (they were both also new - one had been there less than a year and one had been there for three). They did mention that the older PA in the practice was "just a cranky person in general" and that I shouldn't bother talking to her. But now I'm wondering if they just hadn't seen many of the downsides yet...
 

FFwannabeMD

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I'm wondering if a lot of it depends on the practice you get into. I shadowed with PAs at an ortho office in upstate New York and they worked 8-4 or 5 with some call, while the doctors were in 7-7ish with similar call. They were both very happy with their jobs, said they had way less crap to deal with than the doctors, though I don't think they made that much money (they were both also new - one had been there less than a year and one had been there for three). They did mention that the older PA in the practice was "just a cranky person in general" and that I shouldn't bother talking to her. But now I'm wondering if they just hadn't seen many of the downsides yet...
I think it very much depends on where you practice. Like I previously stated, I've yet to meet a PCP doctor who didn't take call and got to delegate all the undesirable paperwork and such to someone else. In the context that I've worked with PAs, they have functioned to help lighten the load of an already ridiculously over-scheduled doctor so that the doc's hours are more manageable. It sounds like these magical lands where doctors never have to do scutwork exist, but I haven't visited them. I wouldn't go into an MD program thinking that one day you'll get to stroll in from 9-4 and then drop your pager off with a PA or NP every night/holiday/weekend. I've had people say that they'd rather forge the MD/DO route because the idea of being called "boss" or "doctor" makes doing the annoying stuff more bearable. But I'm pretty sure the gratification that comes from the title alone wears off pretty quickly, and I've yet to meet a patient who wasn't equally as grateful for their PA/NP.
 
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Right, that's how it has seemed to me thus far, but I've only seen ortho and primary care in a mid-sized city. Did you ever consider PA?
 

FFwannabeMD

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Right, that's how it has seemed to me thus far, but I've only seen ortho and primary care in a mid-sized city. Did you ever consider PA?
Right before I applied to medical school, I did a little research about both the NP and PA route. To go the NP (or "clinical nurse leader") route straight from undergrad would have required a whole different set of coursework than I had taken has a pre-med, and I didn't want to prolong my undergrad education.

I had never heard of the PA route prior to attending a session that was held by a PA school recruiter at my undergrad. Unfortunately, the guy didn't do a great job of selling the idea. He mentioned some of the pros: no residency, less tuition, entering the workforce sooner, more flexibility in hours and in scope of practice with a good salary. But he kept saying that what you do day to day and how independent you are varies drastically from place to place, and therefore he wasn't really able to paint a good picture for me about what I could do as a practicing PA. I didn't know any PAs, so all the information I got was vague and I didn't want to change my life plans at the last minute without really understanding what I was getting into.

So you're doing well already by going straight to the source :)
 
Jan 31, 2011
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Yeah I am worried about the lack of consistency about how PAs operate. A GP PA told me she loves her job and has way less stress than the MD she works with, who wasn't even at the practice the evening I went in - she had great autonomy. And she had been there for a long time. The ortho PAs also only talked to a doc if they had a question or were being trained in something new. All of the docs seemed to collaborate whenever one pulled up an x-ray anyway because they were all just generally interested in taking a peek.
I'm wondering if it's safe to assume that with the 29-39% predicted job growth rate that I'll be able to shop around a bit for a situation that I enjoy. I'll also know a few doctors eventually since I went to med school for the first few weeks and have gotten close with a lot of people in the class...haha. I just don't want any regrets, like the original poster seems to have, and we went through the exact same route...