How to survive AFTER PA school & BEFORE your first paycheck
It’s obvious that choosing to pursue a future as a Physician Assistant was a fantastic decision, a great investment into your future, and of course dedicating your life to medicine is always praised.
You go through your undergraduate years living off Ramen noodles & when you decide to break from the books you utilize every single drink special possible. You know all of the best deals in town & how to live off an extremely tight budget.
Then you get into finally get into PA school…Here you’re so dedicated to the books, you will buy anything (*among reasonable prices*) and do whatever just to make it quick / convenient enough to get back to the studying & make it out without too many battle wounds.
You make it through school, you pass boards, & then…..you automatically start making the six figure salary that Forbes refers to? No.
You’re left with a national certificate, a diploma, multiple job applications, & ~160,000 in loans…
It’s honestly crazy how absolutely NO ONE warns you of this in PA school, but if I can help you in any area it’s to PREPARE FOR THIS.
Let me put things in perspective for you, our last loan disbursement was in October 2018….It’s currently March and I have had no income & by the way things are looking that will likely be my reality for at least not for another 100 days or more. That’s 6-7 months using the same exact allotted disbursement given in 3 month increments of disbursement while in school
While every program will be different in their loan disbursement periods, this is a hot topic for new grads everywhere and something you need to be warned of.
For the most part here’s what were all doing while we either wait:
- Living at home with our parents (attractive, I know…)
- Picking up jobs like dog walking, babysitting, house sitting, or working at an old profession prior to PA
school (seems to be a common trend)
- Becoming professionals at watching Netflix & scrolling through Instagram (another trend among cohorts)
- Working PRN at your program when they need preceptors
- Rely on previously saved money either prior to PA school or living off of their loans remaining (like myself)
- Living off of spouse / significant other’s income.
The waiting game is reflected upon receiving your state licenses, get certified through the hospital (which takes an average of 100-120 days), or actually FINDING a suitable position.
WORD TO THE WISE: Start working on your state license & what you will need to send in while you’re studying for the PANCE / as soon as possible. Getting this through has the potential to be suchhhh a rate limiting step in getting credentialed & will decrease your time without pay if done as soon as you can.
Have any tips or recommendations? LEAVE EM BELOW
This post was simply to bring awareness to those who still have the opportunity to approach this time period without it being a complete surprise. Let me reassure you: choosing the PA route was a GREAT decision- truly. But to those still in school or about to be, just keep a budget in mind for this. Don’t let it be a discouragement, but be aware of the lengthy process.
A post specifically about budgeting and how to tackle the credentialing process coming soon!
As always I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips, or anything I may have left out!