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Direct Patient Care Hours


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I just recently switched my major and decided that I want to go to PA school after I get my degree in health science. I plan to attend PA school starting in the summer of 2019. I am trying to start to get direct patient care hours however I am struggling to find a job where I can get those hours. I don't want to become an EMT or Paramedic because it is a lot more time and money that I do not have. I was trying to become a Patient Care Assistant in the local hospital near me so I got certified for basic life support however I still have not heard anything. I have also looked in to becoming a certified home health aid but the classes for that conflict with my school classes. I found a few online certification classes to become a certified nursing assistant however, they are a lot of money. I went to the hospitals around me to find out about volunteering and all of them have told me that as a volunteer I will not be working with patients. Does anyone have an jobs or ideas of what I can do to get direct patient care hours that do not require certifications? I was a personal care aid up near the college that I transferred from but I had to quit because I went home to save money. I thought I could do the same thing but in New Jersey everywhere wants you to have either a CNA or CHHA. 

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You will likely need to invest some money upfront to get a certification (cna, emt, etc) that will make you more competitive for finding a position. There certainly are positions you mah be able to find that don't require a certification, but they are few and far between and you will be competing with people who do have certifications. In general, the more competitive Patient contact roles that PA programs prefer require certifications. 

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I did the us career institute's online medical assistant program. It's about 1000 bucks but they let you pay monthly. The course can be finished in about 2 weeks if you dedicate a moderate amount of time to it. Once completing this course, you can sit for the certified clinical medical assistant exam through the NHA. Once you have the CCMA certification you can work tons of places. I went from having no credentials to CCMA in a month.


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As other people have mentioned, you're going to have to find a way to invest in yourself and for a certification. Unless you land one of those miracle MA jobs that don't require a cert, most other jobs in the US that allow for patient contact require some sort of certification. You could even volunteer for a local EMS agency and they sometimes will pay for you to take the class as long as you commit x amount of years. In the meantime however, once you get your cert, you'll be way more eligible for a wide variety of jobs that take BLS as a credential.

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Check out craiglist and other job sites! There is a new trend of private practice MDs using pre-med/-pre-PA students as uncertified medical assistants. Your previous exereince as a personal care aid will aid you in this. Contact any job listing that does not state certification required. You might end up doing some front office stuff, but part of the job could be considered PCE (phlebotomy, vitals, discussing medications/allergies/medical history prior to MD exam, etc). Good luck!

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