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NP or PA*** PLEASE HELP

Posted
jaye927 jaye927 (New) New

Hello everyone,

Idk if I'm posting this on the right forum but here it goes. I'm kind of in a sticky situation and really would love some advice from an NP or PA, or even anyone else who is in a similar situation. Okay here we go...

So I am currently an interdisciplinary studies major. I have one more semester left of college that starts in September and ends in December. I've taken all the science pre reqs required for both NP schools and PA schools with just one more class missing depending on which career I choose. If I go the NP route, I need to take developmental psych, and if I go the PA route I need to take organic chem. I've looked into schools for both and this is what it narrows down to at this point. I have a 3.5 GPA and projected to be higher by the time of graduation. I am wondering if I should go the NP route or PA route. Both have great benefits and flaws. I've done my extensive research and learned that the only real difference is that PA's work under the supervision of a physician. NP's can practice independently depending on the state. I plan on living in Arizona for my career if everything works out, so I know they can practice independently there.

The biggest issue is that since I don't have a BSN I need to do an accelerated BSN program which can take anywhere between 15-18 months. After that I can take the NCLEX and become an RN. I wanted to know if I can go directly into NP school after getting my BSN or do I need clinical hours? This is really holding me back even though I want to become an NP because I have completed a 4 years bachelor, and then another 1.5 years must be done then approximately a year of work and then another 2-2.5 years for NP school to become a FNP. It's a lot more schooling, money investment and time.

If I do go the PA route, then I have a masters program of just 2-2.5 years after after my bachelors. I know I need the clinical hours to get into PA school but most schools that I am looking into only require about 500 hours which I am almost done with.

I take into factors such as job opportunities, diversity (such as switching specialties), independence, and pay (even though its not the main factor, its still very important). I know that as a NP I can work independently whenever I choose to, but it is not as easy to switch specialties like PA's can. I'm not saying its the easiest for PA's, but you don't have to go back to school for it. What I am also confused about is the pay scale. I find online a mix of pay scales. Sometimes I see that PA's make more money and sometimes NP's. Is the pay significantly different or are they practically the same. My goal is to eventually at least be making 120k a year in one of these two professions. I know thats not guaranteed with experience, but I know its possible with more hours and hard work.

So is it worth going into NP school for more time and money to be making the same pay, but at least know that I can practice independently whenever I want or should I go the PA route since it offers all the same options except independence? Either seems like good fields, but I am not sure if the extra things for NP school are worth it if the pay is about the same.