The Office of Personal Career development is working with the Office of Alumni Relations to bring the expertise and advice of UD’s outstanding alumni network directly to students. When the panel goes live, UD students will be able to peruse the background of participating panelists and pose questions to alumni from a variety of career fields. Here’s one of our panel members.
Rachel La Costa, PA-C
BS Biology, 2011
Career Sector: Medicine
Graduate Degree: Master of Physician Assistant Studies
UT Medical Branch, Galveston
Current Employer: Children’s Medical Center
What career path led to your current position?
I was always interested in pursuing a career in medicine, and when I discovered the Physician Assistant field, I knew this was a perfect match for me. While at UD, Dr. Doe was an insightful and knowledgeable advisor who helped to ensure that the courses in which I enrolled and extra-curricular activities which I pursued would align with my goal to become a PA. I was accepted to the PA program at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and obtained my Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies. Following graduation, I have worked in pediatric oncology and truly enjoy caring for patients as a PA.
What kind of credentials, education, training, prior experience are needed to pursue this path?
PA school has many requirements for admission, including an excellent GPA, required prerequisite courses, the GRE exam, and health care experience. The application process is extremely competitive. Upon completion of an undergraduate degree and acceptance into a PA program, completion of the Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies is required to sit for the board exam, called the PA National Certifying Examination. Upon passing this exam, the “PA-C” designation is granted, allowing the PA to apply for a state license and subsequently practice as a licensed PA.
How was your major and/or your degree from UD related to your current work?
My biology degree from UD was pivotal in preparing me for my future studies to become a PA. The courses I took as a UD student were challenging, but fascinating, and inspired a curiosity about the biological sciences that supported my desire to pursue the practice of medicine. Equally instrumental in my preparation to become a PA was the high caliber of the professors in the biology department at UD. The biology professors sparked and kindled my interest in the biological sciences. They took the time to answer my questions inside and outside of the classroom. They allowed me to participate in their personal research projects. These experiences prepared me to study efficiently and inspired me to pursue my career of interest as a PA.