This is a post i put on a non-medical board I frequent. Please give me your advice/opinions:
I am changing careers, 33 yo female, MS and BS degree. Currently working in the engineering field. It would be helpful to have perspective from others to think this through.
I was accepted to a school (for the fall) with a PA (Physician Assistant) program. PA’s are dependent practitioners who can perform about 85% of what a physician does, however they are under the direct supervision of an MD and do not have the final word. PA school for me means 1 year of mandatory pre-requesites (many are the same as a pre-med program), 1 didactic year (classroom), 1 year clinical rotations. My specific interest is in surgery.
This university is $30K/year, however I was awarded a partial grant guaranteed for all of the 3 years of school. Once graduating, I would sit for a cert exam and begin practicing and making money ($80-110 K/yr) However, my only reluctance is that I feel I may possibly not be satisfied being a PA and not being “in charge”. Additionally, many nurses that I work with (I am not a nurse) tell me to not to bother doing PA.
I feel that i am capable enough to become an MD and would be good at it. I am an “older” non-traditional student (some med schools do not like this). There is an inexpensive pre-med post baccalaureate program I could apply to for rolling admissions and attend in the fall. I would need to attend the post-bacc. program to do mandatory pre-requesites for at least 2-3 semesters, but could be as many as 4 semesters before I would apply to med school. They have a committee which assists you with reccommendation letters to med schools and the like. After (hopefully) being admitted to med school, it’s 4 yeard as a med student, and then 4 years in residency. That’s a total of 8-9 years - 4 on loans, and 4 on a resident’s salary (which is crap). I really love the idea of being an MD, but as I’ve learned, you need to live it yourself to know what a job is really all about.
The tuition here is about $6K/year. This is a public school and the classes are much larger, sometimes the professors are lousy. The administration can be just plain mean.
My dillemma is that I am really uncertain which path is right for me due to inexperience (I am in an unrelated field and I volunteer in a surgical hospital on the weekends only).
- Do I attend the expensive scenario 1 school and try to figure it out so as not to jeapordize my grant money (which is huge) and then risk being behind in some of the pre-med prerequesite classes?
- Or do I give that opportunity up, go to scenario 2 school (which is much cheaper) and potentially wind up dissatisfied and wishing that I had just stuck to the original plan?
ALSO - To complicate things further…Due to a family circumstance I can’t leave the NYC regional area for at least 4-5 yrs (I need at least 1-2 years of pre-med reqs).
I am already makig a huge change, so once I walk down a road, i really don’t want to walk back.