Paramedic or P.A. school?

Michael Iacono

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Im currently in an EMT Certification class at my community college and am finding it very interesting and really enjoy the stuff im learning.

I want to be more than just an EMT tho. And Im wondering what I should go for next...

Med school..

P.A. school...

or Paramedic school...

Ive kinda of thought that Med school would be the way but it will be a loooooong road and ALOT of work and I worried that I will "poop out" trying to go to school for the next 11 years (im 26.5 years old right now).

Paramedic seems like a really cool adrenlaine filled job but the money is simply not there.

So I look at P.A. school....I have an associates now in General Studies and would need to get the pre-reqs for P.A. school so it would be a good 5 years so so to get my degree. BUT, no residency or fellowship and alot less responsability than that of a doctor.



Is it possible to work as a P.A. AND a paramedic?

Im most interested in Paramedic but at the same time I want to make money. Is a P.A. combined with paramedic career smart?

Should I go straight for P.A. or should I do Paramedic first???

Ive found the field Im intersted in, but now I need to find what specific job!

Advice?
 

CANMAN

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Well I think it really boils down to what your end goals are?

If your looking for a career you can do well into retirement, with alot of job options, and the ability to make excellent money without having to work any part-time then PA school is your answer.

If your looking to do 911 or IFT type of calls, have less school, work for little money which most likely (depending on your lifestyle) will require you to work more hours and a part-time job, and also have a high potential for injury or burnout leaving you to find another career in the long run then Paramedic school is your answer.

Had I of known what I know now I would have gone to nursing school and went the CRNA route, or advanced practice nurse. PA is also an excellent option but an NP can setup their own practice.
 

Michael Iacono

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I talked to some councellors at school, and although I appreciate your advice about Nursing, I realized it is not for me.

Could i work as a P.A. and do paramedic maybe part time on the side????
 

Chewy20

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I know nurses and PAs who are also paramedic certified and will pick up a shift whenever they feel like it. Just need to find a company that does per diem. Also, they are paramedics because they spent a few years as one before getting more schooling. By the time you are a PA I highly doubt you would want to go to medic school. Just go work in an ER.

Trust me, from the outside EMS may seem adrenaline filled, when in actuality it is almost mind numbingly boring 99% of the time.

Try and do the PA thing. It's what most of us end up shooting for (or something else related) after spending really any amount of time doing EMS.
 

Michael Iacono

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Thanks guys. I guess the option will always be there if I want to go back to school and do it real quick. Theres an 8-9 month program in my area so Its not like i would have to get the associates degree in it and take 2 years....
 

Gurby

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You aren't old at 26.5, but you aren't young either. My recommendation would be the following:

Finish up your EMT cert, get an EMT-B job. While doing this, start working on a bachelor's degree at your local 4-year college (major in a science and knock out all of your pre-req's).

A year or so of working as an EMT and taking classes should give you a better sense of what path is best for you. You'll see if you enjoy working on an ambulance, and see if you can handle the high level of academics required for PA/med (you'll want a 3.6+ GPA).

Go spend a lot of time reading here: http://www.physicianassistantforum.com/index.php?/forum/441-pre-pa-general-discussion/
 

EpiEMS

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PA school + assistant police surgeon or something "tacti-cool", for example, may satisfy your need for adrenaline!
 

sparticus

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Honestly bro there are alot of grumpy burnt out guys that will steer you away from ems when you ask this type of question. EMS is a very relative job and is largely based on where you live. To the guy that said EMS is 99.9% boring. Small county ems service doing routine transports, maybe. Busy 911 environment in a major city is not boring, it's all about what you want to get out of your job and patients. EMS is a totally different breed of medicine. So to answer your question you really just have to work as a Paramedic to get a sense of what the job is like...

As a ER P.A you will be doing the same motor skills as a Paramedic. A good Paramedic can diagnose just as well as a P.A can. A mediocre Paramedic will just bring bodies to the ER drop them off give a lame report and head back out the door. You have to decide what type of Paramedic you want to be. That brings me to my next point, EMS has a huge disparity between quality of education, giving rise to our low pay. Our Paramedics are paid well. Zero experience and no degree starts you off at about 35k a year. Within 5 years you can be making close to 50k (EMS Rewards Experience) with Overtime some guys make 100K.

P.A school is a great option, you will learn more, and you may have the quality of life you are looking for surgical P.A's can make 150K. However Paramedics do the job, because no one else wants to. To be a Paramedic is to answer a calling. I never understood why guys would allow themselves to get so bitter to the point they deride their profession. A Paramedic is a noble job, be proud of it.
 

Chewy20

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Honestly bro there are alot of grumpy burnt out guys that will steer you away from ems when you ask this type of question. EMS is a very relative job and is largely based on where you live. To the guy that said EMS is 99.9% boring. Small county ems service doing routine transports, maybe. Busy 911 environment in a major city is not boring, it's all about what you want to get out of your job and patients. EMS is a totally different breed of medicine. So to answer your question you really just have to work as a Paramedic to get a sense of what the job is like...

As a ER P.A you will be doing the same motor skills as a Paramedic. A good Paramedic can diagnose just as well as a P.A can. A mediocre Paramedic will just bring bodies to the ER drop them off give a lame report and head back out the door. You have to decide what type of Paramedic you want to be. That brings me to my next point, EMS has a huge disparity between quality of education, giving rise to our low pay. Our Paramedics are paid well. Zero experience and no degree starts you off at about 35k a year. Within 5 years you can be making close to 50k (EMS Rewards Experience) with Overtime some guys make 100K.

P.A school is a great option, you will learn more, and you may have the quality of life you are looking for surgical P.A's can make 150K. However Paramedics do the job, because no one else wants to. To be a Paramedic is to answer a calling. I never understood why guys would allow themselves to get so bitter to the point they deride their profession. A Paramedic is a noble job, be proud of it.
Lol I work for one of the biggest if not the biggest 911 only third service in the country, in the 13th largest city in the country. Yes, its still boring "bro".
 

mgr22

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To the OP, I suggest you get a bachelor's degree in anything that interests you. That will give you a base to build on for whatever comes next, even if you decide you don't want to pursue medicine.
 

Ewok Jerky

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If it will take you 5 years to get your BA I would focus on that as it is the most bang for your buck, plus it's really the 1st thing on the list for anything beyond a career on an ambulance.

When I was in your shoes, I decided that I would not be a competitive candidate for med school because I was coming to the party kind of late and had no great extra curricular experience since finishing undergrad. I focused on PA school with medic/fire as a backup plan. By the time I got my ducks in a row for PA school I would be around 30 with a wife and planning on having kids so a career that I could support my family with was important. I decided to stay an EMT and put off medic school. If I hadnt got into PA school after 2 tries I would have gone to medic school instead and tried to join a firehouse.

In my state, as a PA I can challenege the medic test and if I can find find a job I can work as a medic for about $40 less per hour as I would working as a PA. If adrenaline is that important to you, I would imagine a lot of states have the ability to challenge he medic test for PAs.

You may also find that another field of medicine might be more interesting than emergency too. But I would definitely think twice about going to PA school "for the money".

Get your EMT and work a while while you get your BA. As long as you are not spinning your wheels you have plenty of time to figure out what comes next.
 

JosephDurham

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Michael,

I commend your desire. I am 30
Yrs old and have a new baby girl, now 8 months old, a 11 yr old son that is in every sport known (lol), a wife, and a full time job. I just finished my emt-b training, and now I'm in fire school. The paramedic program begins in August as soon as fire class ends. And that'll keep me busy, God knows.

I've considered going to med school instead, but where will I be able to make the biggest difference? Not knocking P A's at all!! But where will you be the happiest?? And, can you hold out
For all the education that a P A is required?

Things to think about,

Joseph
 

Remi

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I started out as a paramedic and recently graduated CRNA school. Before I started CRNA school I did urban 911, rural 911, CCT, and HEMS, both as a nurse and as a paramedic.

PA or MD are of course great options, if they are what you want to do.

But for someone who really wants to do EMS and eventually get into advanced practice, and have plenty of safety net along the way, I think it's tough to beat nursing. You could go from paramedic (or EMT) to NP without ever missing a paycheck. And if at any point you need a job that pays better than EMS or doesn't require you to haul 400 pounders down several flights of stairs every day, you can always go to work as an RN.

But in a way I'm glad that so many EMS folks say "nursing isn't for me". Less competition for those of us who thought differently.
:)
 

Tigger

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It's worth adding that it's significantly more difficult to get into PA school than it is a medic program (the same goes for nursing). You'll have to do well on your prerequisites to be competitive, among other things. Meanwhile for medic school, you'll have to pass them before class (maybe).

Unlike EMS, you can't just snap your fingers and get into school.
 

Tigger

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Sure, but it takes time to get to that point.
 

SandpitMedic

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PA programs are now (as of 2015) Masters Programs. Sooo consider medical school.

There aren't any "easy" or "quick" PA programs.
 

Chewy20

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PA programs are now (as of 2015) Masters Programs. Sooo consider medical school.

There aren't any "easy" or "quick" PA programs.
Stanford doesnt even require an associates degree to attend their PA school, they are huge on clinical exp. Granted most applicants already have their 4 year degree. Thats how PA school used to be until the whole you NEED to go to school thing started and bachelor degrees basically became associates degrees.
 
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