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Should Pre-PAs Join State PA Associations?

Hola friends! It’s your trusty Pre-PA amiga Becky again.

This month has brought on a lot of fun things for me to work on, including school (lol), and growing my professional and social network as well. Y’all, I’ve been kinda busy, whew! As I get into my second month of my final undergrad semester, I decided to take a little break this past weekend and attend the “TAPA 46th Regional CME Conference”. So unless you’re from Texas and/or involved with PA’s in Texas, you’re probably wondering: “What in heck is TAPA??

TAPA stands for the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants and is a non-profit organization that helps advance the PA profession in Texas through advocacy and leadership development. As a Pre-PA, I joined TAPA a few years ago and have benefited from it greatly. So, at this point you may be asking yourself a few of the following questions:

  • “I wonder if my state has something like TAPA?”
  • “Why should I join my state’s PA association if I’m just a Pre-PA?”
  • “Does it even matter because I’m still not sure if PA is the right profession for me?”

Well guess what?!? These are commonly asked questions not just from Pre-PAs but from PA students and PA professionals as well. So I will do my best to answer them for you from my point of view.


“I wonder if my state has something like TAPA?”

The answer is YES! Most states have their own PA organizations at the state level and even some at the local level. You can check out Courtney’s post here to see if your state has one and to access the national PA association: the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). What’s also super neat is that most PA organizations have Pre-PA memberships and the fee is usually very affordable if not free. Once you find your state’s PA organization page, click around and check it out and see what they have to offer for Pre-PAs.

But Becky, my state doesn’t have a Pre-PA membership, what should I do?” Contact the PA organization and let them know you’re a Pre-PA interested in becoming involved with their organization. If that sounds complicated, no worries, I will post another blog soon that dives in deeper on how to do that and more.

By joining TAPA, I have been able to network with PA students and professionals all over the state.

Becky Popiel, Pre-PA Student

“Why should I join my state’s PA association if I’m just a Pre-PA?”

I love this question and here’s why. As Pre-PAs we can sometimes feel like we don’t belong to the PA profession just yet or that we haven’t put in enough grunt work to even earn a place at the table. “But Becky, I’m just a Pre-PA, what do I have to offer? How can I make a difference?” Hmm, does this sound familiar at all? Don’t fret because I thought that too and had to fight the imposter syndrome within me (post coming soon about overcoming my imposter syndrome) that prevented me from finding out “why?”, “why join?”.

Here’s my take on it.

By joining TAPA, I have been able to network with PA students and professionals all over the state. Up until last weekend, it was all done virtually. As a Pre-PA member of TAPA, I have access to all of their virtual meetings and seminars that they have throughout the year. Through networking at one of those seminars, I even found a mentor! They also have resources for Pre-PAs that cover topics like mentorship, PA programs, scholarships, and more. Joining as a Pre-PA has so many more benefits which I can dive into later but let me tell you, it will be one of your best investments for your PA future.

Joining PA organizations is just an extra tool in your toolbelt of your PA journey

Becky Popiel, Pre-PA Student

“Does it even matter because I’m still not sure if PA is the right profession for me?”

What a better way to find out if the PA profession is for you than being surrounded by PA professionals?? It isn’t a secret by now, I’m pretty involved as a Pre-PA and love, love, love this profession. “But Becky, I’m not there yet, I feel so overwhelmed and confused, AAHHH!!” I do too! I am also overwhelmed and can get confused at times throughout this process. Being in healthcare is already a great feat and wanting to pursue higher education to become a provider is admirable, so hats off to you for coming this far. But you what? You are in control of what you want to become and have it in you to fulfill your dreams. So to answer this question, it does matter. It matters because it can help you decide if this path is the right one for you. As a Pre-PA member of your states organization, you will have opportunities to chat with PAs who were in your shoes and were as confused and lost and we all are at times. They have been through the grunt work and have made it to the other side. If anything, you can get guidance to make your decision easier on you. It matters because it shows that you care about your future and want to be absolutely sure that this is the right journey for you. And if you find out it isn’t? That’s beyond okay as well. We all have a purpose and if becoming a PA isn’t for you, then I can help you find that purpose through guidance and resources. 

If you have gotten this far then keep going friends. Joining PA organizations is just an extra tool in your toolbelt of your PA journey. There are so many resources out there for us as Pre-PAs and I want to help guide you all through them. As a member of TAPA, I have grown not only as a student but as a person in healthcare as well. Surround yourself with like-minded folks and you’ll feel right at home. In the end, you are investing in your future profession through involvement, advocacy, networking and professional responsibility.


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Becky Popiel