I hold a bachelors degree in Biology with pre med courses. I was interested in getting into a PA school since my Sophomore year and took all the required prerequisites in two different colleges. I failed my organic chem course during my summer semester and retook it again in another college. So when I applied to school on CASPA, the application service would only take up my first attempted course of my organic chem which I failed. Since, I retook the course in another college, the application service wouldn’t average it either. I spoke with few school admissions office explaining my situation and none of them heard me out.
I took an gap year, to get more healthcare experience as most schools stated that healthcare experience > GPA. I reapplied again after having more than 700 hours of medical scribing experience and still got rejected. Some schools came back asking me to work as an EMT or as a nursing assistant. I am not motivated to do any of those jobs as I know they won’t guarantee my admission into schools.
I’m so confused at this point, I thought of doing masters in public health/ medical sciences to improve my GPA. Upon, speaking to some of the nurses at my work place, they said that my prerequisites grade would still be carried on. And my current problem will remain unchanged.
I didn’t want to retake the organic chem class for the third time at the college I failed since most of the college do not accept three attempts for a prerequisite.
Can anyone please guide me what to do? Thank you.
PA Schools care ALOT about patient interaction/care experience which is why your medical scribing job isn’t going to move the needle. Many PA schools look for thousands of patient care hours (think 1500+ minimum) not hundreds.
Think of PA school as sort of the reverse of medical school. In medical school you do two years of academics and then two years of clinical/patient care. With PA school they usually look for the applicants to have meaningful hands-on patient interaction/care before they even begin school (atleast a year or 2). So to have a chance for admission you need to seriously consider being an EMT or nursing or medical assistant where you have actual patient care.
Just to give you a little hope my son’s fiancée was accepted to several PA schools without the thousands of patient care hours. (she starts in August) She is a CNA but only worked a little as one. Did have work with the homeless community with a group providing free health care. They seemed to like that. She did have a stellar GPA though. You may have to reach out to several PA schools and talk to them and maybe one will give you the answer you need about your coursework.
So why do you want to be a PA? The original idea of being both a PA and NP is to give people already in medicine an advanced practice degree to have more responsibilities in medicine. I agree with above that if this is your desire you should work in medical roles, as a nursing assistant, medical assistant, paramedic and get lots of experience and then work towards getting into PA school. Training in PA school gives very limited hours in patient care, if you go in with none you will be very very far behind.
Thank you. This gives me hope
Yes, I want to be a PA. Thank you, this gives me a break through
Because of Ochem, my GPA is down to 3.0. Will I be able to get into a PA school if i have more clinical experience?
Are you able to attend any virtual open houses? You may gain some useful information. My daughter started doing that 2 years before applying to any programs (health care).
You might also want to set up an individual meeting with a few schools to get some advice regarding courses and gpa.
There’s no guarantee of admission. There are many competitive applicants, limited PA programs and PA classes tend to be on the smaller side. It’s a numbers game to a certain extent. Your GPA may make it more challenging. I’d recommend reaching out to the admissions departments of the schools you’re interested in attending and discuss your situation. There maybe a way to get your second OChem grade considered.
As far as work experience, my understanding of PA admissions is that clinical/patient care is an integral and important part of the application (except for those schools that have a joint undergrad/PA program). Without it you are unnecessarily handicapping your application.
Would any of you recommend me to do a Masters degree to improve my GPA? I thought an Masters degree wouldn’t help because my prerequisites grade is going to carry anyway….
Why do you want to be a PA and what role do you see yourself in as a PA? I would suggest starting with a clinical medical job that is associated with that role. If it is emergency medicine work as a paramedic, if it is working in a surgical specialty get a job as a surgical assistant, if it is working in a general or specialist medical office get a job as a scribe or a medical assistant. It is so confusing to me that there is such a focus on academics in a field that is meant for extension of clinical work.
I think the academics in a PA program would be pretty challenging so they want to be sure incoming students are prepared and up to the task. Also entrance to PA school is very competitive so academics is one way to compare applicants.
I guess I dont know enough about admissions so I shouldnt be commenting about the academic part. The current shift in medicine to young people going right into PA and NP school as an alternative to the MD/DO pathway is flabbergasting to me and I didnt think that the PA schools would encourage it, which is why the previous requirement of lots and lots of experience in a field that the OP wants to pursue would be more important than academic performance but I guess that has changed.
PA classes include labs, ethics, anatomy, health history courses etc. I have a degree in a different area of health care and we spent many many months just learning how to do a case history for an evaluation. We also spent many months learning how to interpret tests and write reports. We had to work for a long time with licensed clinicians before going out on our own.
My daughter shadowed orthopedic surgeons in a teaching hospital. There were PAs in the department who she spoke with while she was there. Their job was to bring the patient in, take the history, do a preliminary exam and come up with a possible/likely diagnosis before bringing the patient to meet with the MD. I don’t think they could do their job without the proper academic background.
She also shadowed a pediatrician and spent time with the NP. The NP did physical exams, wrote prescriptions, worked with babies having syndromes, diagnosed illnesses, etc. Again- you need an academic background in order to do the job. Going back to my career, I had to be well versed in genetic syndromes when I graduated.
I do believe the future of primary care will involve PA/NP’s, however ….MDs are still very important and valued for many, many reasons.
** Physicians may have more schooling, but my knowledge in my field far exceeds that of some physicians who we currently work with. We often get reports that give no information other than a parent summary ( which may or may not be accurate). My reports are detailed, and paint an exact picture of what is happening with a particular child. Just my experience….
This is definitely not the place for this discussion, PA/NPs definitely have a place in medicine and this young person I am guessing wants to go to PA school to be a PA because that is the role that he/she is best suited for. The difference in training and qualifications for the different roles in medicine is clear and should remain that way so that people will continue to get the best health care possible. I have worked with some excellent NPs and PAs in my career and I am sure that you are one of them.
I agree with you. NP/PA are mid level practitioners and do not have the training or schooling of MDs. You will never hear me say otherwise- I apologize if this was not made clear.
I am not an NP or a PA.
Let’s get back to the OPs question now.
I would contact a few different programs and ask for their advice regarding a masters program.