General What are the differences between MD and PA scope of medical practices?

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Jun 11, 2010
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My son is considering PA study instead of MD after he disappointed receiving scored 500 MACT. His undergraduate GPA was 3.94. According to his argument, PA can do a lot of medical care for the patient as MD. The question I have is what an MD can do that PA cannot or not allowed to do?

To apply for PA studies, he will need to take more pre-requisites courses not covered in his BA degree plus clinical work hours for 4,000 hours in order to be competitive. With his current situation, he could apply for the MD program without any further application requirements and lost time. He worked for AmeriCorps for one year and PeaceCorp in Rwanda for six months. Unfortunately PeaceCorp evacuated 7,000+ volunteers due to COVID-19.

Shouldn't he would be better off applying for MD school now? Vs. taking two to three years of his time to be even qualified for PA application?
That MCAT score is lethal for MD unless you live in a very lucky state.

It's fine for nearly all DO schools. I suggest: Any DO school except the NY and CA Touros, CCOM, and AZCOM. I can't recommend LUCOM, Wm Carey, BCOM, ICOM nor Nova for different reasons. MSUCOM? Read up on Larry Nasser and you decide. CalHS is too new and appears to be too limited in rotations sites. UIW refuses to post their Boards scores, which is fishy.
 

MusicDOc124

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MD/DO scope of practice is full no matter what state.

PA has different limited depending on the state, and by default must have a supervising or collaborative physician. In some states they can simply be reachable by phone, and others must be on site. Further restrictions can be added in some cases by the office/hospital/physician with whom they work.

Physicians generally have more knowledge due to school being two years longer plus a required residency in a specific field. Therefore they will be more capable of handling the less common cases.

The difference is seen more with specialization and the mentioned less common cases. For instance when looking in primary care for your common cases, things will be virtually the same between the two professions. Then look further down the road in surgery - only a physician can perform surgery. A PA cannot, but they can assist in surgery. All of the fields in between of some variation between the two "poles."

Also, the autonomy, which was somewhat described above.


PA trains you to be a generalist, and because of that, one can switch fields as they please, or work in multiple fields (i.e. full time in cardiology, with part time or per diem emergency room shifts).

Physicians, while training as generalists upon graduation, must enter residency for a specific field. Even though initially training as a generalist, the residency provides specialization. To switch specialties, one must complete another residency. Residency is 3-7 years long plus potential (optional) fellowships to further specialize.




His GPA is fine for either. His clinical hours are fine for either. His MCAT is on the lower side, but with his PeaceCorps and Americorps volunteering and clinical experience, he will have a solid shot a DO. The MCAT is simply too low for MD. Some PA programs may still require the GRE, and I believe an entrance exam for PA was just created, so there may be a need for that exam now as well, plus he needs the pre-reqs.

Whether he should apply for MD, DO, or PA should not be as much a matter of how many classes he needs, or what MCAT score is needed on a retake, but rather what would he prefer with his long-term goals. Then this becomes less of a comparison of taking classes vs taking MCAT. At that point, once the decision is made based on wants, needs, and career goals, then he will simply have a plan that needs to be completed.
 
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Jun 11, 2010
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We live in North Carolina. According to UNC-Chapel Hill med school they do not recommend retaking MCAT unless it is significantly lower than 500. UNC accept the latest score not average or higher from the past. For in-state NC applicants, 500 is considered minimum to be competitive. Is this policy established for the benefits of NC residents than out of state? Do you NC consider a lucky state?
I do consider NC a lucky state, meaning, they favor the home team.

The median MCAT score for U NC acceptees is 515, that's quite high. For those out of state, it's 518!

But the 10th %ile for NC residents who were accepted is 506. Your son's 500 score just means that he wouldn't get an auto-reject, but still is not competitive.

Now Brody has a median of 508 and for IS, a 500 is right at the 10th %ile.

So he's in striking distance for Brody, but not UNC. If he wants the latter, then a retake is required and he needs to score > 510.

As of right now, beggars can't be choosy. He needs DO schools on the list
 
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