What type of clinical job experience should I look into doing for PA programs?

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Sabrina in Pompano Beach, Florida

60 months ago

I graduated with a BA in Sociology and had a job doing research afterward. I heard about PA and I really think I would do well at this job and enjoy it.

I am starting to get discouraged though because I am really not sure what type of job I can find under a Physician because most schools are requesting the 2000 hours of clinical experience or the recommendations from a health clinician you have worked under and I have no medical training really. Whatever I did at my last job was with no formal training or certification even though it was similar to being a medical assistant.

I have looked into respiratory therapy, emt, certified nursing aide, and so on. All these programs require that you do a training program and then sit for certification and some just take way too long. I am already working on doing my science prereqs which are gonna take at least 2 years.

Are there any jobs I can get under a PA or a Physician where I wouldn't necessarily have to get any certification or anything like that to work? I will work for free!

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Kristina in Blountville, Tennessee

58 months ago

I'm in the same boat that you are! I was an English Secondary Education major, but after spending some time outside of school, and doing some research, I really feel like being a physician assistant is the route that I want to go. It's going to take me a good year and a half to two years to complete my pre-reqs, and I have no medical experience, but don't know that I have the time to get the certification needed to get good hands on experience. I'm planning to shadow PAs to make sure that this is something I want to do, and I want to get as much experience as possible, but I'm not sure how to do it!

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Erin in Atlanta, Georgia

58 months ago

And I'm in the same situation as both of you, too! I have several hours volunteering and shadowing in an orthodontist's office, working at an animal clinic, and volunteering at a children's hospital, but I have absolutely no "direct patient care" as an EMT, nurse's aide, etc., that many of the PA programs seem to be looking for. I was a Spanish major at Georgetown, so I'll need to get almost all of my pre-reqs before applying. I'm thinking of enrolling in a formal post-bac program, but I'm not sure which is the best fit. I haven't been able to find much information on people in our situation looking to enter the PA field as a career change with little experience/prerequisites.

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Wes Johnson in Birmingham, Alabama

58 months ago

I'm a senior in the Respiratory Therapy program at UAB in Birmingham, Alabama. I'm planning on applying to PA school next year and they assured me that I would have preference because I'll have a BS in Respiratory. This is because we are one of only a few programs that will accumulate several hundred hours of clinical experience before we even graduate. So that might be something you want to think about.

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acatpac in Luling, Louisiana

58 months ago

Sabrina in Pompano Beach, Florida said: I graduated with a BA in Sociology and had a job doing research afterward. I heard about PA and I really think I would do well at this job and enjoy it.

I am starting to get discouraged though because I am really not sure what type of job I can find under a Physician because most schools are requesting the 2000 hours of clinical experience or the recommendations from a health clinician you have worked under and I have no medical training really. Whatever I did at my last job was with no formal training or certification even though it was similar to being a medical assistant.

I have looked into respiratory therapy, emt, certified nursing aide, and so on. All these programs require that you do a training program and then sit for certification and some just take way too long. I am already working on doing my science prereqs which are gonna take at least 2 years.

Are there any jobs I can get under a PA or a Physician where I wouldn't necessarily have to get any certification or anything like that to work? I will work for free!

You could apply for an ER tech at any busy ER we have plenty in our department and you can put this on your CV. Hope this helps

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joy in Tacoma, Washington

58 months ago

I am also looking into what I need to get started. I have a BA in Global Studies and I'm interested in community/global health. I think an ER tech sounds interesting. There is an EMT program here that is 8 weeks or phlebotomy, would those be acceptable? What about an LPN. The school I am looking at wants 4000 hours of professional experience with direct patient care, volunteer is helpful but doesn't actually count towards the hour requirement, neither do internships.

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WS in San Diego, California

52 months ago

I myself am in a similar predicament. However the programs I have spoken to have given me some guidance about how to get these clinical hours. First off, it's important to recognize some programs have an "entry level" track, for students who have not been allied healthcare professionals for several years, which some programs prefer. So if you are looking into a PA program that is not entry level then you should get certified in EMS, emergency medical services, it's a short program, 4-6 weeks offered at community college--very inexpensive and fast! however if the program is entry level you can go two routes that don't require certification, one is working in a hospital in "transport services" or whatever the hospital in your town calls it, basically it's when you shuffle the beds around, transporting people from the ER to radiation or surgery or what have you. Otherwise, you can get employed within a physical or occupational therapy clinic working as an aide or tech, not an assistant... these jobs are relatively easy to come by and all the programs i spoke supported this as clinical experience. good luck.

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Kelli Johnson in Pippa Passes, Kentucky

34 months ago

I also want to become a physicians assistant. I have an easy opportunity to work as a physical therapy aide or occupational therapy aid and I think I am just going to go ahead and do that. I am a sophomore in college and have no time to take extra classes or pay extra money for them and this gives me an easy way to get my 1000 hours required for the University of Kentucky Physicians Assistant program. What do you think? Has anyone else you know got accepted with hours working as a physical or occupational therapy aide?

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Lisa1978 in Rutland, Vermont

29 months ago

Sabrina in Pompano Beach, Florida said: I graduated with a BA in Sociology and had a job doing research afterward. I heard about PA and I really think I would do well at this job and enjoy it.

I am starting to get discouraged though because I am really not sure what type of job I can find under a Physician because most schools are requesting the 2000 hours of clinical experience or the recommendations from a health clinician you have worked under and I have no medical training really. Whatever I did at my last job was with no formal training or certification even though it was similar to being a medical assistant.

I have looked into respiratory therapy, emt, certified nursing aide, and so on. All these programs require that you do a training program and then sit for certification and some just take way too long. I am already working on doing my science prereqs which are gonna take at least 2 years.

Are there any jobs I can get under a PA or a Physician where I wouldn't necessarily have to get any certification or anything like that to work? I will work for free!

I am in the exact same boat. I majored in Social work and graduated with a BSW. I have decided that I want to completely change careers and become a physician assistant. I enjoy working with people but not in a mental health capacity. It seems experience for the PA program is didfficult to ontian when one does not have any prior medical knowledge or experience at all. from what I understand, volunteering as a first responder or in a hospital can be sufficient to obtain entry into a PA program. However these programs are competitive. It might be worth the time to invest in an EMT training course, etc.

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yamamascentme in Durham, North Carolina

18 months ago

Sabrina in Pompano Beach, Florida said: I graduated with a BA in Sociology and had a job doing research afterward. I heard about PA and I really think I would do well at this job and enjoy it.

I am starting to get discouraged though because I am really not sure what type of job I can find under a Physician because most schools are requesting the 2000 hours of clinical experience or the recommendations from a health clinician you have worked under and I have no medical training really. Whatever I did at my last job was with no formal training or certification even though it was similar to being a medical assistant .

I have looked into respiratory therapy, emt , certified nursing aide, and so on. All these programs require that you do a training program and then sit for certification and some just take way too long. I am already working on doing my science prereqs which are gonna take at least 2 years.

Are there any jobs I can get under a PA or a Physician where I wouldn't necessarily have to get any certification or anything like that to work? I will work for free!

I am in the same predicament. Graduated from 4 yr university in Microbiology and Biological Sciences though kinda always wanted to be a doctor. Drs education is long(8yrs with speciality-Ortho for me) so decided to do the PA route. 9 yrs later due to working(and making excuses) Sorry got off tangent but Ive volunteered in a Hospice for a yr as well as research associate working with patients(homeless ppl) yet I dont feel I will be competitive. I want to do the Peace Corp thing but Im a scientist I think they want teachers carpenters etc(maybe my application wasnt great). I think imma do the EMT course though as many have echoed it seem redundant to take yrs for a class JUST to get clinical hours and unfortunately most majors in college dont set you up well to obtain those hrs....if u really want it you may have to "grind"

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