Why Do You Want To Become A PA?

We’ve covered a lot of the most common questions that you’ll face during your interview, but one stands out above the rest. Without any doubt, you’ll be asked why you want to become a PA. It makes sense that this is one of the most important questions you’ll need to answer because it gets to the root of who you are, shows what motivates you, and provides a window into the past experiences that have shaped your decision making up until this point in your life.

It’s important to be as specific as possible when answering this question. If we break down the question itself, you’ll notice that it’s actually specific to becoming a physician assistant. If they were trying to learn why you wanted to work in the healthcare industry in general, they would phrase the question differently.

When preparing your answer to this question, it’s imperative that your response is specific to you and not a generalization. A generalized answer is almost worse than not giving an answer at all because it’ll fail to make an emotional connection with your interviewers.

Here are just a few examples of generalized answers you should avoid at all costs:

  • “Working in healthcare is rewarding”
  • “I love helping people”
  • “I have always had a fascination for medicine”

If you read these answers and almost fell asleep from boredom, imagine how your interviewers feel after a day of hearing responses like this! To help craft a compelling answer, try answering these questions first:

  • “Why do I NOT want to be a physician?”
  • “Why do I NOT want to be a nurse?”
  • “why do I NOT want to be a nurse practitioner?”

Sometimes, knowing what you don’t want can help you pinpoint the things you do want. Once you’ve explored your reasons for not going into these other similar fields, you can begin to incorporate your own personality into your answer. Remember, your response should clearly answer the question and be as specific and unique as possible.

Here are a few examples of outstanding responses:

Example 1)
“I enjoy my role as a registered nurse, yet I feel that my career has to move on. It’s frustrating when my ability to help a patient is limited as a nurse. I want to learn more about medicine and would also like to work as a medical provider. IT would not be practical to go to medical school at my age because of the time and the cost. As a PA, I can practice medicine with a substantially small amount of debt and after only two or three years of study. In addition, I know I’d feel comfortable as a PA because I already collaborate with medical providers in my current role.”

Example 2)
“I like that PAs can work in several different specialties, whereas a doctor has to do another residency to work in a different field. I have always been a lifetime learner. I love growing and trying different things. There are many areas of medicine that I am interested in, and I might want to change specialties once or twice in my career.”

Example 3)
“I’ve considered several different roles in healthcare. I thought about nursing, but decided that I enjoy diagnostics and want to be the one to create the plan of action for my patients. I considered becoming a doctor, but found that the PA profession has many advantages that the MD or DO does not, such as a shorter time spent in school and a better work-life balance.”