Getting Healthcare Hours for PA School


Hi everyone! I hope everyone is well. Along with maintaining a good GPA and making sure you have a competitive GRE score and good letters of recommendations, getting healthcare experience (HCE) is another requirement when applying to PA school. On average, most schools require at least 2000 hours of HCE, which seems like a daunting and impossible task for some. I get a lot of questions from individuals who do not know where to start to obtain HCE hours and I get questions all the time for PA candidates about how I obtained HCE hours for school. 


I was an emergency room scribe for 4 years prior to PA school, which is how I maintained the majority of my hours, and for 6 months I worked in pediatric orthopaedics. I worked for a company called ScribeAmerica (link provided), which employs individuals who have a desire to go into healthcare all over the country. I started working for them while I was still in undergrad, and what I loved about the company is that it is your peers that are running the day to day business. The company is very flexible when it comes to your schedule, and they understand that the majority of the employees are college students. Originally, the company was only based in the ER, but over the past few years, it has expanded into outpatient clinics such as orthopaedics, urology, internal medicine, etc. I was also blessed with the opportunity to have an onsite management position, so after a year, I was promoted to an onsite trainer, and then I was promoted to quality assurance specialist, which I held that role for a year, until I was promoted to chief scribe, which I was for 6 months prior to school. Aside from learning about different diseases and how things ran in the ER, I also gained valuable leadership skills, which I might not have been able to gain previously. 

If becoming a medical scribe is not for you, you can either become a medical assistant or patient care tech. Some facilities do not require you to have any type of certification to become a MA or PCT, so I would look around to see what places do and do not require certification.

Another option that requires schooling/certification is becoming a phlebotomist or EMT/EMS. Though, paying for school seems like an expense that might not seem worth it for some, but when it comes to your education and your future, I feel that this expense is necessary. An advantage of becoming a phlebotomist or EMT/EMS is that some PA schools require direct patient care hours, and some of the other methods of obtaining HCE (such as being a scribe) is not considered direct patient care hours. I have provided a link to the site ThePALife, which details the required HCE for at least 200 PA programs, and it further breaks down how to obtain these hours and how long it might take.

If you have any further questions on how I obtained my HCE, do not hesitate to ask! 

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