PA School Admissions? (experience?)

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May 9, 2011
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Hello! I am currently in school working on my Bachelors in Health and Exercise Science with the goal to go to PA school right after I graduate. I have good grades, with a current GPA of 3.9, and will have all the course prereqs for the schools I'm looking at. My question is, how vital are those direct patient care hours that most schools are asking for? It seems like every school I look at has different requirements of how many hours (if at all) and what kind of hours they can be. Being a full-time student, I don't really have the time or certification yet to get a job in healthcare. I have to complete some internships for my major and plan to do an internship/shadow next summer. I'm mainly looking at ECU right now, but am looking at other options as well. It's just frustrating because I have the grades for bigger schools like Wake but I just can't get the hours in and I would really rather not have to take a year off in between. Any advice? Thanks!


most folks take a yr or 2 off to work after graduation or enter pa as a second career after yrs as a paramedic/rn/rt/etc. avg age in my class was 35.
programs that will take you with minimal experience really aren't worth attending for the most part.


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2009
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Check out the Hofstra program or other programs on the east coast. Many programs on the east coast do not require thousands of hours of clinical experience prior to admission.

Hofstra PA program

Boston PA program

We know PAs that went back east, earned their MPA and then went back to their home state for work. I'm in CA and that move (as I understand it from all those that have done it or are in the process of doing the same) to the east coast for the PA and back for work is quite common.

Here is a list of PA programs.

For $35 you can get more info here:

We know someone who recently completed a PA program back east and she is currently making $90k. She is in her early 20s. No HCE prior to the program.

You can spend 2-3yrs accumulating the (up to) 4,000 hours that some program considers "competitive" and still not get into the program. In those types of programs you'll be competing with RNs, Paramedics, IMG, etc.

I met an MA (previous EMT) last year with 10+yrs HC experience that has been applying to such a program for 10 years. She has good grades and more than 10yrs HCE. She has had to retake many courses (as they 'expire' if not taken within 5yrs).

Don't make the same mistake swimming upstream and waste your time. If you're young and single, just move to wherever you can get in, and target programs that will give more weight to your academics than HCE.

Most programs have moved or are moving to Masters - away from the traditional approach of training a military medic for a certificate.