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Online Courses the Right Fit for Paramedic

Sean Doherty

Online Prerequisites Student Profile: Sean Doherty, MPAS ’19

Working long hours and irregular shifts as a paramedic, Sean Doherty couldn't have imagined qualifying for MGH Institute's Master of Physician Assistant Studies program without the flexibility of the school's online prerequisite courses.

"I was working as a paramedic in Cambridge, and in that job you have to work a lot of overtime to get by," Doherty says. "The online courses were perfect because I knew when my days off would be and I could plan to study then."

In less than two years, Doherty became familiar with the building blocks needed to change careers, taking courses such anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and microbiology. He particularly liked how materials for experiments were sent to his Arlington home so he could benefit from hands-on learning without having to lose precious time traveling to a laboratory.

Doherty found Institute faculty readily available to answer questions. After completing one of his courses, for instance, he felt he wanted to get an even better understanding of some of the topics, so he emailed the professor who sent links to more materials.

Instead of investing seven years to become a podiatrist, his original career aspiration, he chose the IHP’s two-year physician assistant program because it will allow him to begin his new career more quickly where he hopes to enter emergency medicine or the all-around work of a general practice.

"There was a high yield of information in the online courses, but a lot of it is being brought up again," says Doherty, who is scheduled to graduate in 2019. "The way the faculty presented the material helped me retain it longer, and I could pick up difficult concepts better. Now I have a solid base for a lot of subjects I'm studying."