PA Programs

Hi everyone,

Looking for insight on Physician’s Assistant paths. Anyone researched or pursued this route? Also curious if it can be bridged to M.D. - taking into consideration that the P.A. part would likely begin at age 40. Many thanks.

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Right now there is no stateside PA-to-MD program, but I know there is a PA-to-MD program in the Caribbean that will allow you to practice in I think 32 states. The bridge idea has been discussed ad nauseam on The PA Forum:

Also, the technically correct and preferred title for PAs is Physician Assistant (or, sometimes, Physician Associate). Don’t tick-off a bunch of PAs using Physician’s Assistant as their title.

When I asked University of Washington about the PA program and the MD program, they told me it was 2 different paths. Plus, UW is now requiring 2000 clinical hours to apply to the PA program. Since I am not in the medical field that would take me a few years to clock those hours. So it made more sense to go the MD route. Each PA school is going to be different, have different requirements. But, you will want to ask a school if their programs are bridged.

For me, it would mean 6 years (plus clocking the clinical hours, so an additional 1-2 years in medical field before applying). Then if I wanted to become an MD add another 4 years of their program. Then add whatever your residency amount is. In my mind I thought I should just go for what I really wanted…MD. A professor at UW said that PA is the way to go. PA’s are able to do a lot of what doctors are able to do, with lower insurance. That’s great and all, but, the time for me would have been the same.

Best wishes. Please remember to not take anything for fact on this site. You must research it for yourself.

I do not know if this is true or myth. I have a few friends who are practicing PA’s and have told me in PA school they make it clear that it is highly frowned upon for PAs to try for medical school after the fact. Also, PA programs frown upon failed med school applicants, meaning if you apply to med school and do not get in, they want the applicant who from the start wanted to be a PA, not an applicant who wants to be a doctor, and have them work as a PA. Its a mind-set thing from what I have heard from PAs themselves.

Take it for what it’s worth. I’m just the messenger.

My experience suggests that it is an “either / Or” situation - not both. PA programs I think tend to frown a bit if they think you might be applying to Med school. There is a tendency to think that you really want to be an doc but are applying to PA program as a back up.

Research what it means to be a PA. As many have described, there is a lot you can do as a PA, and it is a great profession. You can have a great career, but will be disappointed if you think it is a substitute for becoming an MD. As far as a bridge program to medical school, it was best described by someone on another site - there is no bridge program that exists for PhDs, dentists or other doctorate professions, so making one for PAs doesn’t make any sense. I have been a PA for almost 20 years, and in spite of my experience and training, wouldn’t expect a medical school to grant me “advanced standing”. There is only one real way into medical school - hard work and prerequisites.