Why I Did the DMSc | Douglas L


I was enrolled in the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program at ATSU when I first heard about the DMSc program. I had spent most of my career with an entry-level degree (associate degree) from a community college, and I wanted more, which led me to the master’s program, and eventually, the DMSc.

When I graduated from high school, I joined the US Navy because I did not want to go to college. After some success with training courses in the Navy, I decided to be a Paramedic, a certificate I achieved at Lorain County Community College in Northeastern Ohio. With that success, I took PA education and an associate degree by storm. Once I graduated with that degree, I felt I was done; I didn’t need any more formal education. Was I wrong! The PA profession began mandating a master’s degree as the entry-level degree in the 2000s. Once I began to job hunt in the late 2010s, I realized I needed to go back to school. In 2018 I began the PA master’s program, found it challenging but not complex, so I enrolled in the inaugural DMSc program at ATSU immediately following my master’s graduation.

My most extraordinary support comes from my wife, Lynn. She has always encouraged me to reach for the stars. My kids were in college when I started the master’s program. One of my step-daughters was completing her Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree—it was at her undergraduate graduation ceremony that I decided I wanted to graduate with a doctorate.

I decided to participate in the DMSc program to break into a new career path. I stepped away from clinical practice a few years back and am now having difficulty gaining employment. Having a DMSc degree and new, additional education should boost my hiring potential.

I have always liked teaching, and the DMSc program offered an education track. I pondered the leadership track and eventually ended up in education. I felt that this track gave me the most opportunity for job possibilities. The DMSc alone should open up more doors, but having a specialized education track certainly will help get a PA education job, helping shape the PA job force of the future.

I wasn’t really worried about the financial considerations of the DMSc. I knew I would have to take student loans—luckily, I never had any before, my undergraduate work was paid for with the GI Bill from when I was in the Navy.

Going into the program, my expectations were high. I knew the program would be challenging. Not the work/school/life challenge, but the level of education and intelligence needed to complete it. The DMSc program met these expectations. The capstone project introduced me to research and how to do a research project, which most PA students now get at the master’s level, but I hadn’t.

I was ecstatic when I was accepted into the program. I was nervous about the application, having just completed the master’s program, but happy when I got accepted. I had to go from the master’s program graduation in June to starting DMSc classes in July. I would do it again if I had the choice. Furthering my education as an adult, and especially at ATSU, was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I was familiar with the program director, Dr. Randy Danielsen, and I was happy to have him as a class instructor for a few of my courses. I also was happy to have Dr. Bob McMullen as a professor again, who was also an instructor for the master’s program. I am also extremely happy for all of the people I have met, from the college staff to the students; I have made a wide range of connections and networking that I could have never gotten elsewhere.

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