Q:hi, how did you get experience? I am thinking of becoming a PA but I have no idea how to get into PA school since I have no idea how to get experience.
So my path to becoming a PA was a bit of a meandering one. During my undergrad years, I volunteered at the hospital delivering flowers and patients’ labs. And I applied those volunteer hours to my PA school application, which really didn’t help me much during that first application cycle.
After I got my first Bachelor’s degree, I went and got a degree is Respiratory Therapy and then worked for a year as a Respiratory Therapist. So then I applied that year and those 1000+ hours of patient care experience to my second round of PA school applications.
The point in all this is that there’s no real clear cut way to “get experience”. If you’re thinking about becoming a PA, start researching. The American Academy of Physician Assistants website is a great place to start. Not only do they have information about the profession they also have links to state PA organizations if you’re interested in finding a PA to shadow. If you’re currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree, talk to the school’s Health Professions course counselors. Many of the pre-requisite courses required for PA school are the same as the pre-requisites required for medical school. If there’s a pre-PA student organization at your campus, go to a meeting and find out more about the profession in person. Send out emails or ask your family doctor if you could shadow them for a few hours a week or if they know anyone willing to allow students to shadow. Be assertive and be interested. Some healthcare professionals out there LOVE to teach and to mentor but aren’t interested in wasting their time with those with only passing interest.
I apologize for the delay in replying, Anon, but I hope that I was able to answer your question. Current PA students or pre-PA students and even pre-med students, what did you all do to get experience?