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PA Programs without Experience pre-reqs

Discussion in 'Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]' started by DogFaceMedic, Mar 4, 2007.

  1. DogFaceMedic

    DogFaceMedic Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 18, 2006
    This is not for me and no theorizing:
    I would like some feedback from people who know about PA programs that do not require healthcare experience as a pre-requisite. Specifically, do the program graduates have harder time finding work, starting pay, quality positions, competitive for PA residency programs.

    I imagine these programs are a little behind the curve, but I thought I would do a little EBM and ask those who know.
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  3. core0

    core0 Which way is the windmill 7+ Year Member

    No good data. For what it's worth the only metric that has been measured - PANRE passing rates has shown no difference between PA's with experience and those without prior experience. The metrics that you mentioned are very subjective and would be pretty much impossible to measure. We may be able to get the residency infromation once PAHEA starts regulating them, especially if they use CASPA.

    From my experience (in a PA program where half had experience and half didn't) there was no difference between the group with experience and the group without as far as getting jobs. The drop out rate was higher in the experienced group. The first time fail rate was higher in the inexperienced group. Both of these show prob = ns (1 person either way). This was six years ago and the market has tightened since then. Here in town there seems to be a preference for students from the program that requires experience over the program that doesn't. However the program that doesn't require experience has better support services so it may even out.

    You also have to remember that more than half of all PA's are now going into non-primary care practice. This means that having experience may not be as relevant.

    David Carpenter, PA-C
  4. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc 10+ Year Member

    Aug 25, 2001
    Taking an Away team....
    I hire pa's.
    I don't hire pa's without prior experience.
    there is a difference.
  5. DogFaceMedic

    DogFaceMedic Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 18, 2006
    Thanks for the feedback.
    It makes sense the more experience, the more capable. (THere are always exceptions, such as the paramedic with low acuity experience who never worked in a hospital, or the school nurse with only a minimal physiology course back in the 70s.)

    A friend of mine will be a good PA (student now) but she has shallow experiences. So, she is planning on completing a PA residency - already discussed on this forum, thanks again.

    Any comments on the quality of some of the programs out there?
  6. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc 10+ Year Member

    Aug 25, 2001
    Taking an Away team....
    drop me a pm with questions about specific programs.
  7. MacGyver

    MacGyver Banned Banned

    Aug 8, 2001

    I dare say thats no better than med schools in terms of previous healthcare experience. Can we please now drop the mantra that PA students have more healthcare experience than med students? That might ahve been true years ago, but now thats clearly not the case, so emedpa can stop using this tired mantra over and over again.
  8. jwk

    jwk CAA, ASA-PAC Contributor 10+ Year Member

    Apr 30, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    As many of you know, AA programs do not require prior experience. AA students that do have prior clinical experience have a leg up on those that don't as far as their earlier clinical rotations, but by the time they all finish, their skills are fairly comparable. Knowledge and skills are variable, experienced or not. I've hired new grads with no experience that were absolutely superb clinicians, and dealt with new hires with lots of previous experience that were poor clinicians with lousy work habits learned from their previous jobs.
  9. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc 10+ Year Member

    Aug 25, 2001
    Taking an Away team....
    this is what the clinical prereqs look like at a good pa program:
    Applicants applying in 2007 must meet or exceed all of these prerequisites:

    Clinical Experience:
    Minimum of two (2) years of paid, recent, full-time equivalent, hands-on experience in the direct delivery of medical care to patients (approximately 4,000 hours); examples might be LPN, RN, Paramedic, Corpsman,
    Current professional credentials and at least two (2) years of paid, recent full-time experience in an allied health field, such as medical technology, X-ray technology, pharmacy, etc. For more information on allied health fields please visit the AMA website at
    Our strongest candidates are those with some experience in direct patient care so; if you are considering a career in an allied health field, please consider a field with direct patient care listed in the job description. If you are already in a field that does not have much direct patient care, volunteer experience is a great way to supplement your 4000+ paid clinical experience hours.
    Clinical experience can be calculated up to the October 1st application deadline date. You must have the minimum two years fulltime equivalent experience by that date to be eligible to apply in this admission cycle. Experience must be from paid position(s), not volunteer work with the exception of paramedic and EMT experience when the emergency services are only provided on a volunteer basis. Clinical experience gained through a training program as a student does not count toward satisfying the 4,000+ hour requirement.
    We strongly encourage spending time as a volunteer and shadowing a PA as it is valuable experience and adds to an understanding of the PA role in healthcare and expands the understanding of primary care. Again, volunteer experience is a great way to supplement your experience but does not replace any clinical paid time.
  10. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc 10+ Year Member

    Aug 25, 2001
    Taking an Away team....

    JWK- while you certainly know more about AA practice than I do don't you find that the avg student who was an R.T. or medic and got good grades in school is more ready to hit the ground running day 1 than a student who did well in school without prior experience?
    at least with pa's in an er setting a former medic/rt/rn with good grades in school is always a better provider off the bat than a student with good grades alone and no experience.
    several yrs of prior emergency medicine experience is usually evident out to yr 5 in practice. those with 4000 hrs plus of experience have just seen more pts than a guy with 1 er rotation in school and know how to work up sicker pts without asking for help as often.
    we recently hired someone with no prior experience ( not my idea) and 3 yrs as an er pa elsewhere. she is good but not as good as a former medic with 1 yr of postgrad experience.
  11. governator

    governator Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 9, 2003
    When i was living in miami about 6-7 yrs ago. There's a PA program (associate degree at that time) at Miami Dade Community College that if i remember it correctly didn't have much pre-reqs no bachelor requiered and very minimal health care experience required, something like volunteer work was included. PA students with prior experiences might have a leg up at first but is it that much difference at the end. My view on this is as a fresh graduate PA, you'll still gonna learn from your attendings and more seasoned PAs. So perhaps in 2-3 yrs post grad (i'm picking random number) it wouldn't matter? The biggest difference probably on trying to get the first job...... any field, whoever has more experience would have a better CV.
    I do have a question to ER PAs, seems like difference hospital gives different role to PA in their ER. Hospitals in southern california that i rotated as a student use PAs like ER residents but in my hospital the PAs in our ER are restricted to triaging patients, maybe it's just at my hospital? and from my understanding, our PAs are very well compensated so it's actually less work and headache for them.
  12. helpfuldoc2b

    helpfuldoc2b Banned Banned

    Dec 6, 2006
    Research, whoever tells you YOU must have experience for every PA program is BSing, I know a best friend who finished her PA degree at Marquette University (ranked) with no experience AT ALL, another one at that small PA program in Pittsburg again NO EXPERIENCE AT ALL, the funny thing is that the Pittsburg program, its that school thats all womans college but for grad school its coed, its so easy that if you fail an exam, you can remediate it by writing papers, the whole program is pass fail, anyone can say crappy program or whatever, but once she gets her PA license she is going to get paid just like the DUKE PA grad with way less effort and less stress and no chance for failure, ya ya ya going to a better school prepares you better, something like PA you learn alot on the job, especially because you ultimately chose to go into different specialties and learn on the spot. Anyone who says otherwise is BSing, these two girls are best friends, the one in that easy PA school in Pittsburg is breezing thru, the Marquette gf who graduated with ZERO volunteer or healthcare experience before she entered PA school with a crappy GRE and a 3.1 GPA for undergrad, is working in one of the best hospitals in Chicago just 2 years out topping 80,000 on 40 hours.

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