Has anyone considered becoming a physician’s assistant instead of an MD?

Home Forums Premed Students Has anyone considered becoming a physician’s assistant instead of an MD?

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    I am considering this if i dont’ get in this year. I am just wondering if anyone has ever explored this option. please tell me what you discovered and what you know about the profession.


    I am a Physician Assistant in emergency medicine. Overall, it has been a great path to take – allowing me to practice medicine at a high level, do procedures, and (most days) make some difference in my patients’ lives. I think the thing I appreciate the most is that I am able to be in a satisfying career but did not have the give up so many years in school (though, in all, I went through 9 years of higher education – still a lot).
    It’s a great career path to consider….


    I considered PA this past Fall, and even though I want to stick with the MD, I highly recommend you look into it if you’re interested. The profession has a lot to offer in terms of lifestyle, shorter schooling, and access to practicing medicine.

    Two things; One, find a PA to talk to /shadow, and Two, try the PA thread on the SDN forums. There are some very helpful and knowledgeable folks on there. (a grain of salt, some of the members are very “enthusiastic” about defending the profession and get a bit huffy. 😉 ) There is also a website for PA’s, I’ll PM you with it if I can remember the name!
    Good luck!


    I, too, seriously considered becoming a PA, both while I was doing my post-bacc work and while I was applying for med school. I talked with a few PA’s, one in particular that loved her job in the cadiologist’s office I was shadowing. What she loved about it was that she had a child and the schedule worked better for her than doing the med school route. She is able to work with patients, and is more or less autonomous with her decisions (just runs them by the cardiologist to be sure, and she is able to spend a lot of time with her family. . Since I majored in Criminal Justice and Political Science, I had taken just the “basic courses” required to apply for med school. I checked into the pre-reqs for PA school here in Pennsylvania and found I only needed one more course before doing the 600 clincal hours I needed to become a PA. Even though I did not need the class for med school apps, I took it anyways. I figured it could do nothing but help me if I did get into med school. If I didn’t, I would be able to jump right into PA school in the fall. I don’t think there is anyting wrong with being a PA. It is a great way to make a decent living and still have that patient-to-patient contact we all yearn for.

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