PharmBoy90

7+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2010
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This is gonna be a kind of long post, so anyone who can read it and offer me some advice, just know that it's truly appreciated. So here's my situation:



I'm 23 years old, and I don't even have my Bachelor's yet but I have about 90 credits. I've always wanted to be in the medical field, but I've always seemed to struggle with the science courses (I do blame myself for not trying hard enough). I've changed my major and switched schools several times. I originally wanted to be a pharmacist, and I have several years of experience as a Pharmacy Tech at both Walgreens and CVS.



I then decided that Pharmacy was not for me, so I left my job as a tech to pursue something totally different - a sales rep for a sign company that one of my friend/co-workers from CVS was starting. I do enjoy the job, but I'm not sure I can make a career here. My heart is still telling me to try and harder and pursue a career as a PA. I've always wanted that direct contact with patients, and I have experience as a Physical Therapy Aide.



Here's the thing - I have about $50,000 in student loan debt already. I can go back to my private 4-year school and get a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences in 3 semesters, and then start applying to PA programs. Or, I can just settle and go to a local state college and get my Bachelors in Business in the same amount of time.



My biggest concern is the money. Is it worth it for me to try and finish my Bachelors and then apply to PA school? I'll have a significant amount of debt, and that's before starting any PA program. I feel like if I really dedicate myself, I can get through these courses but I'm afraid of screwing up again. I don't know that I'd be happy with a business degree, since the job market is tough and it's not really my passion (although I don't dread it either).



What would you do if you were in my situation? I'd like to go back to school next month, and I still have enough time to choose either path. I'm just scared of making the wrong decision.
 
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PharmBoy90

7+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2010
136
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Is your gpa good enough to get in?
I have about a 2.9, which I obviously plan on working on when I go back to school next month. Also, I forgot to mention that with the Health Sciences bachelor degree, I'd also have a minor in Business Administration which I guess is a good backup plan if PA school doesn't work out...
 

sb247

Doer of things
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Jul 5, 2012
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I have about a 2.9, which I obviously plan on working on when I go back to school next month. Also, I forgot to mention that with the Health Sciences bachelor degree, I'd also have a minor in Business Administration which I guess is a good backup plan if PA school doesn't work out...
You are going to find it's very difficult to raise a gpa once you have a ton of credits. It will be hard, good luck
 

NightWindDriftr

7+ Year Member
Nov 5, 2010
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My biggest concern is the money. Is it worth it for me to try and finish my Bachelors and then apply to PA school? I'll have a significant amount of debt, and that's before starting any PA program
Try giving PAs a sniff test too. Like you, I used to be pre-pharm, became a tech, and didn't like it a whole lot. You can shadow PAs like you do a physician. Maybe you'll decide you don't like that either. If you decide you do like it, it may make the difference when you decide if the debt is worth it.
 
Apr 23, 2013
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You should keep in mind that many PA programs have substantial clinical hour requirements prior to enrollment--your pharmacy tech hours may or may not count. Also, PA program prereqs are not standardized to the extent that premed requirements are, so you need to know where you would ultimately want to apply to figure out what courses you need to take. I know that the variety and lack of consistency to prereqs for PA school has been an ongoing aggravation to several of my friends who want to go that route.

So in your case you really need to do the research to figure out if PA is the right choice for you, and if so, start making your school decisions based on that. The goal would be to finish your bachelor's in the most efficient way possible taking into account the prereqs you need. Then finish additional prereqs in a post-bacc if needed and eventually apply, contingent on that clinical hour requirement. Good luck.

If you want to go this path you need to figure out why you can't break 3.0 in your classes. PA school is not easy, and you need to learn a lot of scientific information in a very condensed period of time. You need to diagnose and fix your academic problems as soon as possible.
 
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PharmBoy90

7+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2010
136
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You should keep in mind that many PA programs have substantial clinical hour requirements prior to enrollment--your pharmacy tech hours may or may not count. Also, PA program prereqs are not standardized to the extent that premed requirements are, so you need to know where you would ultimately want to apply to figure out what courses you need to take. I know that the variety and lack of consistency to prereqs for PA school has been an ongoing aggravation to several of my friends who want to go that route.

So in your case you really need to do the research to figure out if PA is the right choice for you, and if so, start making your school decisions based on that. The goal would be to finish your bachelor's in the most efficient way possible taking into account the prereqs you need. Then finish additional prereqs in a post-bacc if needed and eventually apply, contingent on that clinical hour requirement. Good luck.

If you want to go this path you need to figure out why you can't break 3.0 in your classes. PA school is not easy, and you need to learn a lot of scientific information in a very condensed period of time. You need to diagnose and fix your academic problems as soon as possible.
I actually have done research on PA programs that I would like to apply to, and what pre-reqs they require. If I do the Health Science bachelor degree option that I mentioned in my first post, I will have completed all of the pre-reqs for any of the PA programs that I want to apply to.

As far as clinical experience goes, my uncle owns a physical therapy practice and I worked there for several months. I plan on going back to work there/volunteer if I choose to go the PA route. And I've checked the schools that I want to apply to, and all of their PA programs accept Physical Therapy Aide as clinical experience.
 
Apr 23, 2013
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Medical Student
I actually have done research on PA programs that I would like to apply to, and what pre-reqs they require. If I do the Health Science bachelor degree option that I mentioned in my first post, I will have completed all of the pre-reqs for any of the PA programs that I want to apply to.

As far as clinical experience goes, my uncle owns a physical therapy practice and I worked there for several months. I plan on going back to work there/volunteer if I choose to go the PA route. And I've checked the schools that I want to apply to, and all of their PA programs accept Physical Therapy Aide as clinical experience.
In that case, if you want to be a PA, then go for it. As a PA you will make a good income so debt should be manageable if you do not do foolish things with your money. But you definitely need to improve your grades for the rest of your undergrad.