Health Care Experience Share This OHSU Content

A minimum of 2,000 hours (accumulated as of the September 1 deadline) of health care experience in a position of responsibility is expected of all applicants. The 2,000 hours is basically the equivalent of one year of full time or many years of part time.   If an applicant applies early and will still be accruing hours, the hours will be projected and counted up through September 1.  This allows applicants to apply early and still be able to count hours in a current position up through 09/01. 

Preference is given to candidates with health care experience that involves direct, 'hands-on' patient care, working with more acutely sick or injured patients in a hospital or clinical setting. The experience can be obtained through paid or volunteer positions.  Hours obtained as a student (for credit) or for certification cannot be counted toward the 2000 hour minimum requirement.

Health care experience is evaluated on the following criteria: 

  • whether or not the experience is direct patient care or health care-related
  • the total number of hours
  • the setting
  • the specific duties performed and/or skills acquired
  • the description of the duties
  • the patient population
  • the level of supervision
  • how recent is the experience (must be within the past 10 years to be considered)
Applicants are encouraged to be very detailed in their description of health care positions in their CASPA application.

Shadowing experience, although highly valued, does not count toward the total number of hours. Applicants should enter any shadowing or intern types of opportunities under the health care related area of their CASPA application.



Types of Health Care Experience

The Program doesn't necessarily base decision on a position's title, but rather the duties and skills involved with the position.  However, we offer the types of experience below as suggested avenues for obtaining health care experience.  There may be other acceptable experiences, but just not mentioned.  Please use the criteria above when determining the type of experience to obtain prior to applying to PA school. 

  • medical assistant
  • emergency medical technician (EMT)
  • paramedic
  • medic or medical corpsman
  • peace corps volunteer
  • lab assistant/phlebotomist
  • health care-related technician
  • RN
  • emergency room tech
  • surgical tech
  • other hospital tech positions
  • clinical nutritionist or dietician
  • clinical research assistant
  • community health worker
  • certified nursing assistant (CNA)
  • physical therapy aide
  • medical technologist
  • phlebotomist
  • scribe