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Confused On How To Obtain HCE Hrs While Still In Undergrad


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Hello, 

 

I am new to this forum and I am seeking some advice. 

 

I am currently going onto my 3rd year of undergrad and I plan to acquire healthcare hours after I graduate. This is were I am confused:

 

it seems that most pre-PA hours are obtained by becoming a CNA, EMT, CMA, PCT, LVN etc. But every time I look up for one of these positions the usual requirements are a 2-year certification before you can start working. So do most people finish these 2-year certification AFTER they finish their bachelors? and then work for a couple more years before they apply to PA school? 

Bachelors -> 2-year certification -> HCE -> PA school ?

 

or do you guys do your 2-year certifications for these jobs along with your bachelor classes? Because if you guys do that, then how are you able to manage all those classes at the same while completing both degrees? 

 

Bachelors + 2-year certification -> HCE -> PA school ?

 

I am missing something here? How are people getting around this. I know there is shadowing and volunteer options, but it seems schools prefer "paid working" hours. Also after I finish my bachelors I need to make some kind of money to survive, I can't just be shadowing/volunteering my whole time for free. 

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I would do more research, many of those certifications you listed can be done in ~6months or on a parttime basis.

Also there are plenty of jobs you can get that don't require certification. I think there are a few threads that this has been discussed in before but there are non-certified MA's, psych assistant, physical therapy aids, etc.

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Look into being a physical therapy tech. It does not require any certification and its considered direct patient care hours. You won't get to do as much hands on wise as you would as a CNA or EMT but it still counts and you still learn a lot. That's how I got my HCE hours during undergrad

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There are CNA courses you can take over breaks (spring break, etc) then schedule clinicals around classes. There are EMT classes you can take during evening/weekends around classes. There are phlebotomy courses you can squeeze into a weekend. Lots and lots of options for getting certified and starting to collect hours while in school. Patient care technicians, at least where I'm from, didn't need to be certified. Also, there are a great deal of MA positions that you don't need to be certified for at places that aren't large teaching institutions. Look for some of those in your community. 

 

As far as a certification course on top of a full time class load, though - it may seem hard to handle, but PA school is harder. Any PA school would be happy to see that you succeeded not only in your full time course load, but also in a certification program, volunteering, working part time, extracurricular activities, etc. Basically anything that shows you can go above and beyond and can handle the rigors of PA school. 

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My CNA class took two weeks. I signed up for it because the EMT-B class was full. It was 3 months, 2 nights a week, and a handful of clinical shifts. Many of my jobs since then have trained on the job, usually something like 2 weeks of 40 hours, day shift, with a preceptor. This is of course state dependent, but I think you need to look at jobs themselves, and see what they require. 

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In my case, I got my EMT-B in my senior year of high school and since my freshman year of college I've worked as a nursing assistant in a hospital every weekend (per diem) and full time over breaks. I'm now in my senior year of college with almost 2,000 hrs of paid HCE. It means no social life but it's worth it

 

 

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In my case, I got my EMT-B in my senior year of high school and since my freshman year of college I've worked as a nursing assistant in a hospital every weekend (per diem) and full time over breaks. I'm now in my senior year of college with almost 2,000 hrs of paid HCE. It means no social life but it's worth it

 

 

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it means limited social life....but it's worth it. while in college taking 20 credits most terms and working 26 hrs/week I managed to meet my wife, learn to scuba dive, become a lifeguard and red cross water safety instructor, learn Aikido, etc....but, yeah, not a lot of free fri/sat/sun nights...

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it means limited social life....but it's worth it. while in college taking 20 credits most terms and working 26 hrs/week I managed to meet my wife, learn to scuba dive, become a lifeguard and red cross water safety instructor, learn Aikido, etc....but, yeah, not a lot of free fri/sat/sun nights...

 

Even if I were to never have a free weekend, I would still not be able to accomplish what you did. 

 

How do you guys keep up without burning out? lol

 

good for you though, that all very impressive!

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Even if I were to never have a free weekend, I would still not be able to accomplish what you did. 

 

How do you guys keep up without burning out? lol

 

good for you though, that all very impressive!

I get by on very little sleep....right now finishing up a doctorate while working 180-220 hrs/mo...also a challenge...variety in clinical work helps. I work at 4 sites, about to be 5.

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it means limited social life....but it's worth it. while in college taking 20 credits most terms and working 26 hrs/week I managed to meet my wife, learn to scuba dive, become a lifeguard and red cross water safety instructor, learn Aikido, etc....but, yeah, not a lot of free fri/sat/sun nights...

EM is our nerd gunner around here, so just ignore him, he is ambitious to a fault. He often throws all of us under the bus, and generally makes our lives miserable because we ALL want to be a Mini EM.lXK2P6T.gif S6UOoZr.gif

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Some schools do not take dental assisting, but most do (ask the admissions coordinator for your school). There are online classes where you can finish your RDA (registered dental assistant) in a week or less. It can be hard finding a job as a dental assistant without experience; check offices that focus mainly on medicaid patients. Many hospitals have volunteer programs. I've seen many undergrads volunteer with me at mine. They may have you start off somewhere in the hospital that may not give you the healthcare experience you need, but you can show your dependability and the volunteer program can transfer you somewhere else. At my hospital, I started off with wheel chair escorts and networked my way around the hospital. Soon enough I got to volunteer in the emergency department and got the hands on experience I was looking for. The third option that comes to mind is getting an STNA. I was going to take a 2 week course (its everyday from 8 am to 5 pm) to become an ED tech, but thankfully management helped me out and saved me $800.

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I obtained my EMT-B license during the summer while completing 6 credits at my University. I now work as a PT nursing assistant [24 hrs/week] at one hospital and a radiology aide [PRN] at another...all while taking 15 credits.

 

This is much easier compared to when I was a pre-school Teaching Assistant because work always went home with me and cut into my study time...creating lesson plans that takes all 25 of my students into consideration on top of managing my team of 7 (talk about different personalities) was no joke. 

 

Ranted on a bit but the point is, if this is what you want, you will somehow find a way to become a PA-C :) . And as EMEDPA stated, prepare for having limited social life.

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I obtained my EMT-B license during the summer while completing 6 credits at my University. I now work as a PT nursing assistant [24 hrs/week] at one hospital and a radiology aide [PRN] at another...all while taking 15 credits.

 

This is much easier compared to when I was a pre-school Teaching Assistant because work always went home with me and cut into my study time...creating lesson plans that takes all 25 of my students into consideration on top of managing my team of 7 (talk about different personalities) was no joke. 

 

Ranted on a bit but the point is, if this is what you want, you will somehow find a way to become a PA-C :) . And as EMEDPA stated, prepare for having limited social life.

You didn't need to do any additional certification for nursing assistant? Because I was looking at that program, and at least in California, it takes two years to complete

 

Actually nevermind, I found the answer to this. Sorry for the misinformation on my part. I guess the Red Cross offers accelerated courses :)

 

thank you for the info though!

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Even if I were to never have a free weekend, I would still not be able to accomplish what you did. 

 

How do you guys keep up without burning out? lol

 

good for you though, that all very impressive!

I'm busy but I also don't bite off more than I can chew. That means a lot less involvement in school activities, work ECs, and other discretionary stuff that DOESNT count as relaxing.

 

I figure I wont have much volunteering etc when applying, but I feel proud (and hope to express this to adcoms) that I kept a happy wife throughout my journey. Balance is important. Its not worth it for me to burn myself and my wife out before I barely even get started. I do my FT at work, I do my FT class load and get out of dodge.

 

I work long days and many nights, and don't often have days in a row off, but I make do. I pulled a long last three days so I can make some chili and enjoy some football and beer today.

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You've gotten a lot of info on how to get HCE, but let me just say that it is PERFECTLY acceptable to work for a few years after undergrad to get these hours.  If it were up to me, I'd prefer it.  Enjoy undergrad.  Don't work your life away to speed up the process of getting into grad school.  You will be right on par with the average age of most students entering PA school around 25/26.  

 

It is very rare for a student to go right from undergrad to PA school (it happens, they have HCE, too).  Now that you know that getting a cert won't take 2 years, it shouldn't concern you to take 2 years to get cert AND get hours.

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I got my EMT-B during my senior year of high school. It was a semester long, 9 credit class that I took with concurrent enrollment at a college nearby. Then I took my Advanced-EMT the summer before starting college while also working as an MA. During college, I worked as an ER tech during the summers and during school breaks, but not during school. Just doing this I had about 1300 hrs when I applied my junior year. If you plan your time right, it is very doable getting HCE during undergrad and still have somewhat of a life;)

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