Archive for Pre-PA HS

Here is a two minute endorsement of Rodican’s book. I used to recommend it on my Squidoo lens but that was before Squidoo was shut down. I posted this to YouTube. If you use the link I will post below, Amazon will give me a tiny percentage of the $19 purchase price. Here is my critique.

The Ultimate Guide to Getting Into Physician Assistant School, Third Edition

Categories : Pre-PA HS, Pre-PA Univ
Comments (0)

How to select a PA Program Comments

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Please leave your comments and questions below. I am interested to know where you are having trouble in this part of the process or any part for that matter. Share this information with friends and have them sign up for this weekly email. Where in the process of getting into PA school to you think you will have trouble? Grades? Application? Essays? Interview? Gaining experience? Getting good References? Please leave me or others in this stream a comment or two down below. Be gentle with others. I have thick skin. They may not and it is an act of courage for some to ask something they think makes them look dumb. Really the only dumb question is the one not asked.

Categories : Pre-PA HS, Pre-PA Univ
Comments (0)

I am not sure there is a best major. There are prerequisites. These usually include having a BS or BA degree from a 4 year college that teaches science majors. Most schools have courses that they require. Anatomy and Physiology separately or combined for two semesters. Several hours of chemistry including general, organic and biochemistry. Statistics and usually another math course. They like their students to have classes in Genetics, Immunology, Microbiology with a lab, embryology and epidemiology. You have to get these courses in, get a cumulative 3.0 and usually better if you want to go to a top 25 school. What major is best?

I you are like me, you need to focus. I needed to only focus on the courses I needed. I am not one who could major in a humanity and take all those courses on the side. I know great students who did just that and got 4.0 averages and are now great PA’s. I personally don’t look good in spandex or a cape. I focused on what I needed so I majored in a program – Applied Biology – that was intended to take you to grad school. All you could do when you graduated was take an entry position in a lab somewhere – probably processing stool specimens for parasites on the night shift. A dream job! But is was a good major if you wanted a PhD or to go to Medical, Dental or professional school in the sciences like PA school or similar medical career.

The video below is one I made earlier in 2012 while driving to work on a holiday. It addresses the issue of “What major is best if you want to be a PA?”
What should you do about it? Well the advice is general and not tailored to you. Consider it. If you really need help in your quest to become a PA
think about using me as your coach. Best wishes to you all on your PA Path.

Categories : Pre-PA HS
Comments (9)

I received a message thru the contact form of The PA Path about how to gain experience to become a viable candidate. This person was interested in the program located in the Anne Arendel CC in Maryland.

Looking at the PDF for the last 3 PA class profiles there, students commonly had these medical backgrounds:

Emergency Medicine Medical Assistant, Nursing Assistant,
Athletic Trainer and
Medical Technology

The last class had an average of 3681 hours of patient contact experience. This is true of most of the students but prior classes had 5000-6000+ patient contact hours of experience. This means they worked a year full time for every 2000 hours of experience gained and Emergency Medicine i.e. EMT/Paramedic were the preferred students. I advise Pre-PA students all the time that this is a great way to gain experience on a part-time basis. Many schools weight experience but do not require it. This particular program places a premium on it. They also have some great students with an average GPA of 3.39 on a 4.0 scale.

They have a list of preferred experience types that can be downloaded as a PDF.

It appears to be a competitive candidate, you must take their 5 prerequisite courses, listed on a PDF available from the Anne Arendel Community College PA Program website here. Those courses are:

General Microbiology with lab, Anatomy and Physiology 1&2, 4 credits of Chemistry like Organic 1 w/lab or Biochemistry w/lab, 3 credits of Psychology like Intro to P or Developmental Psych

They do take older students, with the upper ages in the mid to late 50’s. The classes are 65-90% female and about 15% have advanced degrees.

If you have a killer GPA and have all the science course plus some – (getting into these programs is quite competive – AACC gets 500 apps per year for the PA program and accepts about 30 students – a 6% over all acceptance rate – comparable to most programs) then I would opt for this type of experience:

Nursing Aide / PCT / GNA / CNA /PCA

Patient Care Assistant
Patient Transporter

Pharm Tech
Phlebotomist / Venipuncture

Phlebotomists are trained by lab companies and hospitals. Weekend and holiday help jobs are usually available. Volunteer for free for a while to just help techs and you should be able to get all the experience you can want. Think about taking Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support Certifications. Take a Terminology course and a course on Drugs (Exam Masters has one that is quite inexpensive). Get yourself medically educated – that is what they are looking for and that you have gotten time with helping patients under your belt. Depending on the opportunity, becoming an EMT and then do some volunteer work for a fire company, ambulance transport company, or hospital ER. You could probably volunteer in a NH and do vital signs and get certified as a medicine tech, esp with med term course and the drug course. All these types of experience could be obtained part-time evenings, weekends and holidays.

PA Programs consider your GPA, GRE scores, past education, experience, references and essays. If you have good GPA,GRE and experience, then it is the references and essays that get you an interview. The interview gets you accepted. You may want to take my “Getting Accepted Course” where I have tips on CASPA, the programs, essays and interviewing, some basic medical terminology and drug information. Over 20 weeks it can help you be better prepared in many ways. Or if you need help just with the essay or interview, hire me to coach you. Look at the navigation bar above to find these opportunities.

Categories : Pre-PA HS, Pre-PA Univ
Comments (0)

PA to DO Bridge Program

Posted by: | Comments (0)

After being a PA for 5-10 years, many PA’s wish there was a place to go on further. The natural progression is from PA to MD but there are many barriers in that process. The Doctor of Osteopathy my be the bridge a few PA’s are looking for. One program I saw and will link below, has an accelerated program for PA’s – 3 years.

The school is LECOM. It is located in Florida and Pennsylvania. The Erie, PA location will have the accelerated track for PA’s. It will be a 3 year, year-round experience. I don’t see that as accelerated. The doctor I work with was a PA. He graduated from the Duke PA program a year ahead of me. Like many PA’s of that ERA, he had some bad experiences. Low Pay, bad supervisors, unstable employment.

He went back to regular medical school and was able to finish in 3 years by going year-round at UNC. I think this is still possible. I don’t see how the 3 year track accelerates anything for most PA’s. What they are doing is holding 14 spots just for PA’s. This is taking 14 providers out of the workforce.

I think the barriers need to stand. If you want to be an Dr., go to med school and don’t whine about the cost, time, or difficulties getting in. If you want to be a PA, be one but find satisfaction in what you do. There is plenty there. There is plenty of work to do in advancing our ability to be reimbursed.

What is your opinion? Link to LECOM program.

Categories : Pre-PA HS, Pre-PA Univ
Comments (0)

Vox alio, Vox locus, Vox vicis

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Hey, one of the MA’s we trained where I work has an interview later this month. The title of this blog post tells you in Latin what you need to be to ace the interview. I abbreviate it, V4AL, in English I have always called it R3P2T (R cubed, P squared T). What is it? I will tell you later. At the end of this maybe or maybe in the audio. HEY! Stay right there and read! You will have your turn and you want to be R3P2T when you interview. Now I am going to tell you how, then I will tell you what the words mean.



You know that station. Everybody and I do mean everybody is listening to it. Yeah, EVERYBODY! It is the station with the most listeners. It is station ……….

What’s In It For Me! WII FM! The faculty when you interview for PA school are listening to that station. They want to know what you are going to do for them and their program. Are you going to bring good attention to it? Is your career going to be one they are proud of?  Or, will we read about you in the news for losing your license due to greed, drugs, alcohol or sex?  Those 4 are the only reasons.  They are trying to see if you can cut it and will be a good mix. Will you be an uplifter, or are you just listening to WII FM and no other stations.

They know you want to be a PA. You don’t have to convince them. They want to know if you are a real person, open, honest, someone patients will confide in, someone who will keep on learning after the classroom. You have a few hours to convince them your are better than the other person they interviewed for the seat. In the 100tips section here we give you tips about what to do from the time you decide to apply until you are accepted. I am not going to go into those, I am going to tell you how to have a good interview.

No Throw away Questions

In any interview, for PA school, for PA jobs, there are no throw away questions. How are You? Did you have trouble finding us? What so you think of the campus? What was the last movie you saw? or the last book you read? What do you do with your time off? Those are not pleasantries. Those are testing your attitude, your ability to follow directions, whether you are a critical person etc… They reveal that you have a life away from school and that you are well rounded.

What about the Program?

In your portfolio you should have a copy of the mission statement of the program. Here is one programs mission statement.

The mission of the Physician Assistant Program is to prepare and educate physician assistants to provide quality medical care in a competent, compassionate, and ethical manner. In addition, the department promotes research and academic endeavors which contribute to the advancement of knowledge and the education of fellow professionals as well as community service.

Here is that same programs vision statement:

The Physician Assistant Program will prepare and educate physician assistants to provide comprehensive quality health care to all, and to serve as academic and professional leaders of the physician assistant profession.

And here is the plan for implementing the vision:

1. Encouraging physician assistants to function as a patient advocate and as an integral member of the medical team to meet the health care needs of all.

2. Promoting research and academic achievements as a process of professional self-study and renewal.

3. Providing and encouraging continuing education for physician assistants at all levels of training and experience.

4. Promoting community service to meet educational and health care needs of the community.

5. Developing state and national leaders to serve the physician assistant profession.

You want to be a PA. You know the federal funds mandate the programs to produce primary care providers. You have written one essay and maybe two that they have.  Did you say anything in your essays related to the mission or vision of this program?

Here are somethings you probably said in some form in your essays:

  • I want to be a PA (and not anything else)
  • I like people
  • I want to be autonomous in delivering patient care.
  • I know PA’s from my personal health, shadowing, medical experience and I like what I saw.

They want PA’s to be Patient Advocates, to speak up for the patient with the medical team/community – you prepare a sound bite that may answer the question of why you want to be a PA that says …..and I want to help patients make good sick care and health care decisions. I want to be a guide for them.

They want and the profession needs people to do research to show how PA’s deliver care effectively and cost efficiently. If you have some research experience in your back ground, you might add something like …. I know we need data to prove where PA’s do well and how to utilize them effectively in various situations. I would like to be part of that research effort where ever I go as a PA.

They want to develop PA Leaders. Maybe you were in leadership positions in college like class president, or you network well or have worked on committees to develop legislation then a sound bite might sound like…. My background of networking and committee work on blank project will help me, after school, to find places on state PA society committees to serve the profession with in my state and as a liason to the national level.

You should expect some questions that are behavioral – How have you resolved a conflict with a co-worker? Tell about a situation where a patient complained to you. What did they say and what did you do?  Tell about a mistake you made and what you did when you realized it? What would you do if you knew a classmate cheated on an exam? Do a little research on behavioral interview questions on line. YouTube has some good videos. I post a few of them on my lens called Interview Tips for the Physician Assistant.

You should remember that you are in the interview the entire time you are on campus. You are on a tour with a student, they are deciding if you are someone they want in the program. You are sitting in a cubical alone. Some programs have cameras installed to see what you do when left alone. Some people looked good but did dumb stuff when they thought no one was watching.

Ready for the interpretation of the title to this post?

Right Person, Right Place, Right Time, R3P2T

What do you want to ask me or tell me? The comment section is below.

Categories : Pre-PA HS, Pre-PA Univ
Comments (0)

Bruce L Bair PAC

This survey will pop up for you to take and disappear when you are finished. Any final comments can be left in the comments below. You will receive the video link in an email in 30 days or when the quota has been reached, which ever comes first. If you are a Fan of The PA Path on Facebook, leave a comment so I can reward you. Be sure you leave your name and a valid email address. Your email can only be seen by me and I will get a note before it becomes public. If you don’t want your comment published, just say so and I will use the info you provide to match you to my Facebook fans and send you a reward and delete the comment. Thanks. Now click on the words “Take our survey” below Left. Sign up for our email news and get cool stuff including a salary negotiation strategy video.


First Name *
Last Name
E-Mail *
Zip *
Mail Format HTML Text

Categories : Pre-PA HS, Pre-PA Univ
Comments (0)

Physician Assistant School is very competitive. Only 5% of applicants get into top 10 schools and around 9% for all programs. You have to separate yourself from the pack. Over on my Squidoo lens I wrote an article of the same title. Here is a audio version of that article.

Categories : Pre-PA HS, Pre-PA Univ
Comments (0)

Spanish Podcast 3

Posted by: | Comments (0)

The podcast is about Chest Pain

Categories : Pre-PA HS, Pre-PA Univ
Comments (0)

Spanish Podcast 2

Posted by: | Comments (0)

This podcast covers symptoms like nausea, vomiting, etc…

Categories : Pre-PA HS, Pre-PA Univ
Comments (0)