Updated: Nov 20, 2022
This may be a controversial thought, but trust me when I say you do not want to major in certain areas if your hopes are to become a PA
The entire reason you are attending college is to get a job. There are more steps to be taken when applying for professional positions. Your undergraduate degree and focus will make you or break you! College is a business! These universities will make money as long as you are attending...whether you fail a class or not.
If you want to become a PA, you want to look at the programs you are interested in and make sure you are meeting their admission requirements. No matter your major, you must meet the admission requirements.
When choosing a major, I think one of the most important things to consider is what you will do with your undergraduate degree should you change your mind, you need more patient experience, it takes you several cycles to get accepted, or you need to take a gap year. What types of jobs are you able to get with your undergraduate degree?
PA schools want you to have patient care and healthcare experience. So many pre-PAs focus on the end without proper preparation. They did not consider the whole healthcare experience thing before graduating, now they are struggling to find a to get that done.
We must work smarter not harder.
Here are my recommendations when it comes to majors and routes:
Go to a technical college to earn a certificate or associate’s degree in an area where you can gain the best kind of patient care experience. Choose majors such as medical assistant, certified nursing assistant, licenses practical nursing, phlebotomist, EMT, physical therapy assistant, dental assistant, respiratory therapist, x-ray tech. You will get the best patient care experience in one of these roles or roles similar to this. YOU WILL ALSO MAKE DECENT MONEY! More money in some positions versus others, but money nonetheless.
Choose a major in traditional undergrad where you can breathe if your application process does not go as fast as you planned. For example, registered nurse, x-ray tech, respiratory therapist, and others. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in nursing. For electives, I took science classes. I just made them fit in my schedule. When I applied and interviewed for PA school, my stress level was low. I knew if I was not accepted at that time, I had a career where I had income. I felt peace as I interviewed.
If you are in the middle of your undergraduate program, budget your financial aid to help cover a certification program. So, you may be well into your undergraduate studies and never considered this. You know you need patient care experience and money to apply as well as the interview. The next upcoming semester, if you are anticipating a refund, use that to take an online medical assistant, pharmacy tech, or CNA class. YOU MAY HAVE TO SEARCH FOR ONES THAT WORK IN YOUR STATE, but they do exist.
Take a gap year! Sometimes, you’re forced into a gap year because you were not accepted into the program. This is not a time to panic! This is a time to grind. Get your patient care experience, retake a class if necessary
Don’t rush the process! So many pre-PAs want it right now and right away. They have their 4-5 year plan and that is not how it often goes. There are more applicants than available seats. People often apply more than once, some several times, before getting accepted into PA school. You want the most competitive application and this takes some time as well as planning. It is ok to have your preferred list of schools, but also look to see which programs are a better fit for you based on what criteria you already meet.
Ultimately, you want to meet your desired program’s requirements. You really could major in anything as long as you meet the required admission criteria. Be intentional when choosing your major, consider the possible outcomes of your choice, and be strategic.
What is your major?
Jackie the PA