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This is just a quick shout out to all of those pre pa students with "unconventional" health care experience. There is a feel among the pre pa community that being a paramedic or a nurse is the way to be the perfect applicant. I know that not everyone thinks this, but I hear it enough to where I want to give some hope to those who may have some experience that is a little different. I am a COA (Certified Ophthalmic Assistant) this is a valid form of HCE(Health Care Experience) for pre pas. COAs: Collect histories of present illness. Have knowledge about the effects of common systems diseases i.e. Diabetes, Hypertension, Hyperthyroidism,Ischemia. (For more eye specific review of ocular diseases see my post here.) Instill medications in the form of dilation drops and anesthetic drops Assist optometrists and ophthalmologist in clinical procedures Volunteer abroad such as my trip to Mexico Scribe for ophthalmologist and optometrists Code using IDC 9/CAPT This is just one example of what some may say is not real health care experience. I heard of pas who were ultra sound techs, physical therapy aids, lab assistants, and some even had no health care experience (not recommended). Don't get me wrong I think that Paramedics, EMTs(I am one of these to), and Nurses rock. I just think that it is important to get out of the idea that you have to be a "cookie-cutter" applicant to get accepted. Do what interests you and be great at it!