PA Student Interviews: Josh

Posted By: Paul   |   Interviews   |   34 Comments

It’s time to hear from the ones in the trenches — the physician assistant students.  Today I interviewed Josh about his 27 months as a PA student which will soon be ending with his graduation.  His strategy for getting into a PA program is very interesting, and proves that there are things that make up for not having gobs of health care experience.  I asked him after our talk about his grades and he said, “I wasn’t perfect, but I had a very strong GPA.”

34 Comments

  1. Emin Keshishyan October 8, 2014 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Hello Paul,

    First off I would like to say how much I appreciate your blogs and videos that I have been following for a quite a while now. I am currently preparing my application to apply to PA school for the year 2015. One thing that i couldn’t agree more on with Josh is how competitive the PA profession and especially the application process is.

    I want to add by saying, I am a 30 year old male with about 8 years of experience in the health care as a CAT SCAN Tech. I would say that I have learned and seen a lot in the filed and I would encourage others who are considering the PA field to gain as much as experience as possible. Not only it will the health care experience help them to be a stronger applicant but it will also make them competent health care professionals.

    Looking forward for more posts and videos in the near future as I prepare for the painful and inevitable application process.

    Thank you,

    Emin K.

    • Paul November 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Emin! You’re right, it can be grueling. But often people spend about as long unsuccessfully trying to skip steps as they do successfully putting in the time and work that it takes to become a strong applicant. So remember the tortoise and the hare — the tortoise always wins!

  2. Ronald October 8, 2014 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing; it was very interesting and informative!

  3. Sandy November 10, 2014 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Being as it, I am older than most of the current PA applicants (mid 40’s); I am greatly concerned with is age a major contributing factor in the applicant selection process ? I have lots of education as well as , have lots of medical field experience, including that of an autopsy assistant for approximately 1.5 years. I don’t want to waste time pursuing a career, when my possibilities are slim due to age. At this time I am preparing for my first GRE exam as we speak. Please Advise. Be very candid with your answers please.

    • Paul November 11, 2014 at 10:42 pm - Reply

      Dear Sandy, being in your mid-40s can be a distinct disadvantage. I was 41 when I began PA school, and there were students is all this 53 in my class. But probably three quarters of the class was under 35, and we even had a few 23-year-olds.

      I understand your sentiment of not wanting to waste time. But in the end, for me, it comes down to doing what you want to do. If this is what you know you want to do, you owe it to yourself and to your life and to the people you love in it to make it happen. No, they’re not looking for 30,000 40-year-olds for PA school. But they are looking for a few, and if you know that’s what you want to do, you can virtually assure that you will be one of them. It might not come as quickly as you would like or as surely as you would like, but it as sure as the day is long, if you don’t take no for an answer, the only answer left is yes.

      Am I an optimist? Well of course. But it’s the optimists who make things happen.

  4. Michelle January 8, 2015 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    I have a daughter in law in Colorado that is a Chiropractor, considering a change to PA. Would she have some of the required courses already with her past schooling, and would she have a better chance getting in the door. Also would she be able to take an accelerated course— just wondering if she would be a little ahead of the game, given her past schooling, and degree.

    • Paul January 11, 2015 at 3:06 pm - Reply

      It depends on how old her coursework it. Most schools require you to have the science prereqs within the last 5 years or so. Anatomy, chemistry, etc might not need to be retaken if they are in the last few years. If they are older than the cutoff for the schools to which she applies, she will need to retake them, no matter what, even as a chiropractor.
      Being a chiropractor will be some decent health care experience which could be helpful in getting admitted; I assume she can show many hours working with patients in a health care role.
      Sadly, there is no accelerated course, even if you are a physician. She will need to take each and every course that is required of non-chiropractors.
      It could give her a let up in school when studying neurology, orthopedics, imaging, etc.

  5. Danielle P January 19, 2015 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Hi Paul! I stumbled upon this video of Josh by searching ” pre-physician majors” I really enjoyed listening to him. Great advice. I am 26, and I am currently a pre nursing major…. my road map was to head on up the curricula ladder to get my masters. However, just like Josh mentioned the inflation of the program, Nursing, as I’m sure you know, is HIGHLY impacted. Emphasis on the impacted lol. So, I had wondered back and forth from nursing to PA. I didn’t even know the field existed. I guess my question(s) is what major do I choose? Could I continue on the route of nursing and apply once I finish nursing school? Since, realistically, if I don’t get in my first try to nursing school I could work on the remaining requirements for PA school (although they are about the same as nursing school) HOWEVER, you need a bacholers before applying. Unlike nursing school which awards the bachelors. I also do not have ANY health care experience. I have been a personal trainer for over 9 years, not sure is that counts for anything lol. Any way, bounce some thoughts off me, thanks! 🙂

    • Paul January 20, 2015 at 12:44 am - Reply

      Typically you would choose a science major, but if that would add too much time to your bachelor’s then I guess I would suggest you complete your BSN. Usually you wouldn’t major in nursing unless that’s what you wanted to do. You might read one our articles or listen to our podcast on the topic:

  6. jennie mora February 2, 2015 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    This is a great video, thanks for sharing. I am a 17 year old who is very interested in becoming a PA. I really need advice on where to start and what is the best things to do. I want to know what courses should I take in college, ect. And if there is anything I can do that can make the process faster?

  7. Stephanie February 25, 2015 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    I have a BA in Biology (graduated in 2006). I have no experience in the medical field, but I have always been interested. I actually have barely used my degree. To keep it brief, I’ll simply say that life took me down a different path for a while. Now at 31, I’m wanting to go back to school and pursue a career in medicine. Can you tell me what steps I need to take to get started? Is it even realistic at my age and with no experience? I’m a little discouraged being so far behind and could use some truth and direction. Thanks!

    • Paul February 28, 2015 at 8:13 pm - Reply

      I started PA school at age 41, so it’s definitely not too late. But you will need to begin accruing health care experience, to say nothing of the pre-requisite coursework you will need to take. Here’s a link to a step list on the process.

  8. Dreamer February 25, 2015 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Im currently a freshmen in high school, I typically get made fun of because I know what I want to do and be when I get out of highschool. I am really interested in becoming a PA. I was wondering if you had any insightful tips for someone my age (14) to get me to where I want to be 5 years from now?

    • Paul February 28, 2015 at 8:09 pm - Reply

      Stay focused. Do well in school and don’t just focus on medicine. Well rounded people make better, happier PAs. When you are old enough, you might look into becoming an EMT. You can get certified in CPR now and maybe start volunteering in an emergency room or clinic. But do yourself a favor. Don’t kid yourself about what it takes to get in. Keep your grades up — all of them, and you’ll have no trouble when the time comes.

  9. Andrew Page-Willis March 4, 2015 at 11:53 am - Reply

    I’m currently in the military, not a medic, I’m 21 and getting out soon, I’m confused on the medical assistant and (PA). I was going to get (MA) certificate so I could work part time throughout college for experience, is that a good idea ? Since its only 7 months, or could I get hired just because of my major (HealthS) and desire to be a PA?

    • Paul March 11, 2015 at 11:33 pm - Reply

      You could get hired without an MA certificate. But it will be easier. Even so, I suggest you concentrate on your studies and wait just a little longer before delving into medical experience. Once your grades are recorded, there is no changing them, and they are the single biggest factor in PA school admissions.

  10. eliot April 7, 2015 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    how about if i am a RN or CNA and i was graduated. how long is gonna take me when i want to start the PA program. is it going to be 6 years or less than that.
    please give a lot details.
    i am a foreigner and i came to use a few years ago. i think your details will help me a lot.
    i really want to

    • Paul April 10, 2015 at 4:27 pm - Reply

      RN is always better than CNA. After your bachelor’s degree (in nursing or anything else), it usually takes about 2 years to acquire enough hours of healthcare experience. Sometimes applicants have far more than 2 years worth, so the important thing is to consider this a long term project. If you really want to do this, another 2 or 3 years preparing to make sure you have a good chance of getting in, it NOTHING. Put in the time and don’t try to get in quickly. Here’s an article about that that you should probably read (click here).

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