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I am a CLS (Clinical Laboratory Science) Undergrad getting ready to start clinicals.  I am worried that if I do not get into PA school direct from undergrad, I will not be able to obtain direct patient care experience hours once I graduate without moving backward.  I will be working in the medical labs performing the analysis, not direct patient care.


Initially I thought the technical undergrad would help my application.  Now, from everything I'm reading, its not the undergrad degree, its all about the patient care experience.  Also - with the application cycles so far ahead, its hard to obtain the hours to submit for my first application while in school.



100+ Hours Phlebotomist / Lab Tech

350 Hours Phlebotomist

Should obtain another 100 prior to earliest application due date


Non Paid

Clinical Hours (Lab work on patient samples)  350 Hours Min prior to earliest application due date

Shadowing - 100+ Completed

Volunteer Hours related to working with special needs kids


GPAs are 3.5 / 3.43  (good student in undergrad courses clinicals will be based on and hope to get these up to 3.6 / 3.5) by graduation - not application cycle

Still need to take GRE


Worried that if unable to get in first pass, my degree will not allow me to increase my patient care hours, and on wring path to increase my chances.


Do I need to change my undergrad to be more competitive?  Am I wasting my time doing clinicals when it wont help me obtains a spot in PA?


Thoughts / Comments...







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CLS/MLS here.


My advice:  No, your CLS career won't make it easy to get PCE.  HOWEVER, it will give you a good paycheck while you're applying to PA school and a backup career if you DON'T get in the first time.  That's a pretty valuable thing.  Don't change your major this late in the game - that's not going to HELP you get PCE, it might just put you behind on graduating and leave yourself with more debt and worse job prospects.


Get a CLS job after you graduate.  While you're doing that, get a part time job (CNA, EMT, phlebotomy, whatever your heart desires) to get PCE.  More money, more experience, better application all around when you apply after a gap year.


Right now, you don't have enough HCE or PCE to apply for entry right after your clinicals (HCE hours obtained as part of a degree don't count in CASPA) anyway.  Plan on spending a year after your CLS clinicals working and then apply the following cycle.  You'll be glad you did.

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