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I'm entering my freshman year of college and I've been reading up on how to gain direct patient care hours for PA school admission in the most efficient way possible. I know I'll be continuing to volunteer at a hospital in the coming months, but along with undergraduate work, there's no way I'll be able to reach the tremendous number of hours needed for acceptance.

 

So with that being said I have a few questions:

 

1) I've read a lot of stories and seen on quite a few LinkedIn profiles, people who seem to be moving straight from undergrad into PA school. How is that possible? Where & how, if so, do they get their patient care experience?

 

2) I am considering majoring in Dietetics, becoming an RD and gaining hours through that career, but to become a registered Dietitian I will need to complete an 8-24 month internship. If I don't go through the Dietetics program I will be completing an undergraduate major in Health Science and then entering into a certification program (either EMT or Lab Tech) and then getting hours. Which is, in your opinion, preferable? I think the RD route will be longer. Do hours completed working as a Dietitian count as hands on? 

 

3) Is it possible to get into PA school strictly with volunteering and shadowing hours or do you have be working as a certified professional, such as a Lab Technician or EMT? I know from experience that volunteering does limit what you can do hands-on. 

 

4) I will be beginning pre-reqs for PA school freshman year, due to the number of AP classes I've taken in high school, but many PA schools I'm looking into prefer for all pre-reqs to be finished within 5 years before applying to PA school. If I begin classes my freshman year, graduate in 4 years, and then get hours for 2 years, will that hurt my chances significantly of getting into a school, as my pre-reqs will have been taken over 5 years earlier. 

 

I plan to go above-and-beyond both in my studies and my hours needed, but I still have a lot of questions. 

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First off, welcome to the forum!

 

Never say you won't be able to accumulate HCE needed for acceptance because if you want it bad you will make it happen. It took me 1 year to surpass the 1000 minimum. 

 

Now to answer in order of your questions:

  • Those who start gaining HCE prior to or at the very beginning of undergrad can accumulate 3K+ hours by the time they graduate. They were either CNAs or EMTs at 17 years old. Also, non traditional students who are pursuing this as a second career completed their BS/BA and moved straight into PA school upon graduation.
  • Do what interests you the most. RD is definitely unique because not a lot of RDs become PAs. I'm currently a Health Sciences major and also licensed as an EMT. I do not work as an EMT but liked its pre-hospital/emergency care training. Used that to transfer my skills into Urgent Care.
  • PA school was for those with extensive health care experience, but with the demand and popularity of PAs, it is becoming more common for less experienced individuals to seek this profession as a viable career. That said, getting into PA school with only volunteer hours and nothing else (especially restricted unpaid positions) is not a rule, its an exception and will only make you less competitive. As a pre-pa myself, I do not see myself surviving PA school without some form of hands on experience. I'm leveling the playing field for myself as I am going up against paramedics, corpsmen, EMTs, RNs, MLTs, FMGs, Surgical Techs, MAs, CNAs, PCAs, phlebotomists...you get the idea.
  • You can definitely exceed the minimum hours needed and complete the pre-reqs in under 5 years if you plan smartly. 
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A few weeks ago I met with a junior and we came up with a plan for her to be able to competitively apply one year after graduation, or in less than three years. She was much further behind than where you are now. As a freshman, believe it or not, you have all the time in the world. The average applicant has around 1,700 hours of HCE. The average full time employee works 2080 hours a year, so the average applicant has less than one year of full time experience.

 

You can rack that up. In three years, 2,000 hours equates to 667 hours a year, or a bit less than 13 hours a week. According to data from the US Census, in 2011 19.6% of college students worked fill time, 52.1% worked part time year round. It can be done.

 

As far as degree track, pick one that either requires the vast majority of your prerequisites (like bio or chem) or gives you the flexibility to meet them as electives. Time may be a factor for some courses, as you've noted. You may be In a position to repeat a class or two if a hiccup comes down the road. Beyond that, major in something that interests you. Four years of studying boring stuff sounds just miserable to me.

 

If you can get a cert, great. Red Cross offers MA or CNA courses. Best of luck.

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what diggy said...very tough to get in with volunteer hrs only. I got my emt sr yr in high school and worked as an er tech all the way through college 26 hrs/week and 60 hrs/week summers. went to medic school right after college graduation. medic for 5 yrs before becoming a pa. >10,000 hrs of hce.

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I was accepted straight out of undergraduate. My HCE was based strictly on volunteering and shadowing. I had amazing experiences and great sprites stories to tell with both. If you're volunteering and it's not rewarding enough for you, try a different department. They all offer different experiences. My other suggestion would be to dedicate your summers to hour accumulation. I volunteered at 1 hospital that only supposed 2 shifts a week of 4 hours. But I also volunteered at a hospital that let me come in for as many hours as I liked. Yes it felt like a full time job, but I got approximately 700 hours in 9 months.

 

I also realized later in my college career I wanted to be a PA. Because of this I had to take a year off. This didn't affect my pre-reqs. Some schools are more than 5 years as well so look out for that. The year off was actually a blessing because I continued to rack up hours with the summer, while having ample time to take my gre, submit my CASPA, and go to interviews (as well as prepare for them). I now also have time to focus on my transition into the program for housing, loan applications etc.

 

Your journey is what you make of it, so whatever most appeals to you would be best since you need to spend a lot of time doing it. The most important is coming out of it with good stories and life changing experiences to talk about at your interviews and write about in your personal statement.

 

Sent from my SM-G900T using Tapatalk

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Do not do RD if you know you want to be a PA. It is a lot of money/time and you could do many other things to get experience. With my internship I spent months on food budgets/meal planning and other things that just were not worth any time or money if you're not sure it's what you want to do. My hours counted most places but EMT/CNA/MA/Anything but RD would be my suggestion if you are set on PA.

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I'm entering my freshman year of college and I've been reading up on how to gain direct patient care hours for PA school admission in the most efficient way possible. I know I'll be continuing to volunteer at a hospital in the coming months, but along with undergraduate work, there's no way I'll be able to reach the tremendous number of hours needed for acceptance.

 

So with that being said I have a few questions:

 

1) I've read a lot of stories and seen on quite a few LinkedIn profiles, people who seem to be moving straight from undergrad into PA school. How is that possible? Where & how, if so, do they get their patient care experience?

 

2) I am considering majoring in Dietetics, becoming an RD and gaining hours through that career, but to become a registered Dietitian I will need to complete an 8-24 month internship. If I don't go through the Dietetics program I will be completing an undergraduate major in Health Science and then entering into a certification program (either EMT or Lab Tech) and then getting hours. Which is, in your opinion, preferable? I think the RD route will be longer. Do hours completed working as a Dietitian count as hands on?

 

3) Is it possible to get into PA school strictly with volunteering and shadowing hours or do you have be working as a certified professional, such as a Lab Technician or EMT? I know from experience that volunteering does limit what you can do hands-on.

 

4) I will be beginning pre-reqs for PA school freshman year, due to the number of AP classes I've taken in high school, but many PA schools I'm looking into prefer for all pre-reqs to be finished within 5 years before applying to PA school. If I begin classes my freshman year, graduate in 4 years, and then get hours for 2 years, will that hurt my chances significantly of getting into a school, as my pre-reqs will have been taken over 5 years earlier.

 

I plan to go above-and-beyond both in my studies and my hours needed, but I still have a lot of questions.

Hey check out D'Youville College and Gannon University PA program.

 

Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk

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