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How many shadowing hours did you have?

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Sure, but as you will see after perusing this forum for a while, there's no cookie cutter candidate. It seems each school has something specific they're looking for and it's our job to make sure we're a good fit. Looking at minimum requirements on each programs website and the PA Applicant Stats page has been a huge help for me. Beyond that it's a crap shoot. Anyways, here are mine:


-BS in Cell & Molecular Biology. I'll be 28 when I apply.

-cGPA: 3.42 (poor grades from previous college attempt 10 years ago)

-sGPA: 3.86

-GPA for last 100 hrs: 3.96


-720 hours as a Behavioral Health Tech on inpatient psych floor

-600 hours CNA in the CVICU

-100 hours CNA in neuro/trauma ICU


-150 hours volunteering at free health clinic


-90 hours shadowing PAs in primary care, cardiology, CV surg, trauma surg, and EM


-I already have confirmations from two PAs, a cell biology professor, and work supervisor that they'll write LORs

-I wrote my essay 4 months ago and have had several PAs read it and give feedback.

-I'm an Eagle Scout


Last piece is to take GRE. Currently studying. I've been highly focused (read: obsessed) with getting into PA school for almost 3 years; I'm psyched I finally get to apply in April. Hope this is helpful!



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I had around 40 hours of shadowing. Hematology, gastroenterology, cardiology were the specialties they were in. 4 total PAs. I was not asked about my shadowing experiences. I included them in my answers to the questions. IMO, you should be fine with at minimum 30-50 hrs of shadowing for most schools. Some programs do have specific requirements for shadowing, so make sure to check out their websites.

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0 at my first interview. Then I got about 20 hours, I think, before my other interviews.


I ended up going to the first school. Get enough hours that you can speak eloquently about why you want to be a PA. That number will be different for everyone, but generally the more real world healthcare experience you have, the fewer shadowing hours are required to lend your application credibility.

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0.  Got plenty of interviews.  Only 1 school seemed to treat it negatively.


The point is:  do you know what PAs do?  Do you know what the day-to-day is?  Do you ACTUALLY know what you're getting yourself into?  Shadowing isn't necessarily the only way to do that.  Schools don't want to invest in someone that A: may drop out before graduating or B: leaves the field after 2 years of practice.  Sure, they're in the business of making money, but any school worth its salt is working towards building a strong profession and the best way to do that is to train and produce great PAs that will advocate for the profession, set good examples, and provide great patient care.  You can show them that without shadowing and volunteering but you better have strong support for your dialogue.


That said, if a school requires it, have it.

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