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PA to DO at LECOM, is it worth it?

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6 years 1 month ago #86338 by sahmd
Maybe there is some kind of middle ground where you work as a PA yet get a lot of continuing education in topics related to cardiology. That would enhance your ability to take care of patients but would not involve the huge sacrifices of medical school, residency, and cardiology fellowship.

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6 years 1 month ago #86352 by ElliePA
Do you guys think it would be a better choice to maybe work a few years as a PA to pay down some student loan debt and then look into applying to LECOM? I would be older, probably 26-28??? I am just having a hard time excluding the med school option all together. I know this is something I will always want but I do not know if it is a financially realistic dream. Thank you guys again for all of your input!!! I respect and value all of you! :)

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6 years 1 month ago #86357 by lyn2006
You know, that option might also help you see whether you would be happy being a PA. It's true, that the option of medical school will still be there so you could apply a bit later.

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6 years 1 month ago #86388 by PAmom2be

ElliePA wrote: Do you guys think it would be a better choice to maybe work a few years as a PA to pay down some student loan debt and then look into applying to LECOM?

YES. You will have much more insight into whether a PA is right or wrong for you, and frankly, I think it will look better on any medical school application that you've at least tried being a PA first before deciding you want to quit.
I do feel for you, and I sometimes think about what it would have been like to be a doctor. However, keep in mind that a lot of the differences are in your head. You can be a fantastic PA or a crappy PA, or a fantastic doctor or a crappy doctor (I've met people in all 4 categories!) Being a PA shouldn't preclude you from learning whatever you want to learn. In the best PA jobs, you should have autonomy and the decision to get your attending's help comes from you, so I do think that as a PA you can have an enormous amount of ownership over your patients, but still get help whenever you need it. I didn't mean to imply that you were just in it for the money (I think very few clinicians actually feel this way), but money DOES make a difference to quality of life. If you are in a great big hole of debt you might care less about what your title is and more about the fact that you have to work until you're 85 to have enough money to retire. Also, can't remember if you said you have children, but LOTS of women I know feel a paradigm shift once they do--their kids are now first and career is second, and it may be a let-down to discover this just at a time when you're required to be away from them for the majority of their waking hours. Just some things to think about.

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5 years 11 months ago #87079 by ElliePA
Sorry to re-visit this post again, but this is still sooo heavy on my mind. Again, I do NOT want to make this post about money or that money is the most important factor, becuase I know I truly would love being a physician and I know I have what it takes. I love my patients and this profession. .......

Ok, so after talking with about 15 female physicians, some in internal med, hospitalists, ER, and one cardiologist- they all said it is highly unlikely to make less than 180k when you are done with an internal med residency. Now, I live in MT, so I am not sure how these salaries compare with the rest of the nation, but they said that FM may start around 150 at the lowest, but IM and hospitalists can easily make 180k out of school and more depending on the hours. The female cardiologist I talked to said they started her out at 250k which she said was low, but she really wanted to live in this area.

Sooooo, though I would pursue med school for many many other reasons besides income potential- I do feel, even though the huge debt would exist, that the income to debt ratio is still better for physicians due to the higher salaries over time. The most that PAs make around here is 90k with lots of experience. Some may pull in a bit more, but their hours are insane.


I just don't know what to do. I know without a doubt, if I were to go to med school I would not regret it. However, the time and money is still scary.....

Anymore advice???

Thanks!!!

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5 years 11 months ago #87080 by southernmd
DO NOT go to medical school for money. Everything in healthcare is changing, so only go to medical school if you want to be a physician. DO NOT base your decision on salary. I cannot emphasize that enough. The jobs of a PA and a physician are similar, but not the same. I encourage you to search inside yourself for what would truly make you happy for day-to-day practice and decide based on that.

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