Jun 21, 2017
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I was considering a career switch from EHS (Environmental Health and Safety) to likely a PA program. I already know for a fact I'll have to take a few more classes (Just 1-2 biology classes as I was Pre-Med before switching to safety). I was wondering if anyone on here has switched over from this sort of field to a medical field, thoughts on the transition process, tips, etc.

thanks!
 

pamac

7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2010
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Are you still in school, or are you out working in the EHS field?

A lot of folks I know that have gone in to PA have come from diverse backgrounds outside of healthcare. It might even make you stand out more. The key will be to get the best grades you can, and get the prereqs that each PA school requires. Good grades should be your highest priority, as that will open the most doors compared to anything else you can do.
 
OP
B
Jun 21, 2017
3
0
Status
Non-Student
Are you still in school, or are you out working in the EHS field?

A lot of folks I know that have gone in to PA have come from diverse backgrounds outside of healthcare. It might even make you stand out more. The key will be to get the best grades you can, and get the prereqs that each PA school requires. Good grades should be your highest priority, as that will open the most doors compared to anything else you can do.
Nope I am currently working in the field, and have been for over 5 years. Is there any classes you would recommend that would help further standing out?
 
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pamac

7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2010
1,352
414
Status
Other Health Professions Student
You'll probably have your hands full just getting your pre reqs done and/or getting them current. Beyond those, anything that could be medically related would be useful, like genetics, neuroanatomy, advanced anatomy and advanced physiology, pharmacology, cell biology...
 

pamac

7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2010
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Just curious... How much does someone make in your current field and what do you do at work?
 
OP
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Jun 21, 2017
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the range is between 52-110 K with anything over 110K is usually a Manager of a entire division and or VP level. Avg is 77 and I make just a little more than that.

As for work this is a brief overview:

  • Direct a proactive safety and environmental program.
  • Improve the quality of safety and environmental management processes following established regulations, policies, standards, and practices.
  • Ensure compliance with all safety and environmental programs.
  • Educate, train, and provide support to operations in the development and execution of consistent safety and environmental management programs.
  • Direct accident investigation programs, develop accident trends, and develop programs for improving performance

Since I'm currently an EHS Specialist for an oil and gas company currently my biggest things are usually what's listed above plus specific oil and gas hazards such as exposures to gases, slips trips and falls and dropped objects that sort of thing.
 

pamac

7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2010
1,352
414
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Sounds like a pretty comfy job.

So anyway, what I would do is start going to websites of schools you might be interested in attending. Find out what kind of students they like to recruit, and tailor your search to schools that you would be able to qualify for with the least amount of effort. There are plenty that have low or no patient care requirements (even though it always helps to have something you can refer back to that sparked an interest in healthcare). I know several people that had little or no health care background that got into PA school, so it can be done... you just have to find the schools that don't really care much about HCE. A good hint is to look for the programs with the higher GPA requirements. From there, find out what prereqs you need to take, and find out if schools you are interested in have a time limit on how recently you need to have taken the classes you already have. If they want your Anat and Phys class to be taken within 5 years, make sure you have taken it within 5 years.

All of that right there will probably take a decent amount of time and planning. If you are good to go with your prereqs, but want to take some more coursework to bolster your academic profile, work on some of the classes I've mentioned. If all of that is done, then maybe work on getting some token health care experience. I suggest only putting token effort into health care experience because realistically, you aren't going to be able to accumulate any significant level of experience that will make you stand out against folks with jobs like nursing, respiratory therapy, paramedic, etc. Everyone else pretty much gets lumped together with the entry level HCE. You could turn your life upside down working as a CNA or EMT-Basic, but I feel like that just complicates the lives of the folks who try to pull it off. You have a day job that is pretty good, and I say folks like you should play to your strengths rather than spin your wheels chasing grunt work jobs that won't build up hours fast enough to matter for you. You can tie yourself in knots just to rack up 1000 hours of butt wiping. The downside to avoiding that is that a lot of schools have a bare minimum of paid healthcare experience they require of their applicants, and you could expand your list of potential schools a bit by opening up that door, but like I say... healthcare hours come at the expense of other valuable things you could be doing. If you are juggling work, school, and your health care job, and your grades suffer, then its completely not worth it. Good grades are the most important factor to you getting into PA school. They are the most expensive thing to acquire, both in time and money. Bad grades are also the hardest thing to overcome, and a poor showing is never really recovered from because they always stick around and effect GPA.

Getting into PA school might be a long road, and the landscape is changing a bit for the career. Make sure that you see yourself enjoying the conveyor belt type of workload that comes with it. You will be looking at significant debt, then dealing with wages that aren't really much higher than your current potential given the new debt you will take on. The work hours and benefits might not even be as good as what you have right now. The people you deal with might not be as friendly as the folks you see now. The pace you keep as a PA will be driven in large part by production requirements. Your day will be driven by things beyond your control.

Healthcare is cool, but I remember a time when I wanted to be a PA instead of an NP like I am on track to become now. I had tunnel vision, and would have made some poor financial decisions if I had managed to get accepted to the PA schools I wanted to. Its hard not to be that way when you have to put so much effort into a path like a pre-professional course of study. Its not something that is easy to proceed with on the side.
 
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