All applicants are required to meet the minimum academic and 2000 hours (1 year) paid, direct, hands-on clinical patient care prerequisites. Typically our strongest candidates have more than 4,000 hours of paid experience in the direct delivery of patient care.
Q: What is the difference between the required and recommended hours?
A: Two thousand hours is the common standard set by top tier PA schools nationally for required clinical experience prior to enrolling in a PA program. While MEDEX will now consider applicants with 2,000 hours of experience, it is a minimum requirement. Our most competitive applicants will meet and exceed 4,000 hours of clinical experience.
Q: What does clinical experience mean to MEDEX Northwest?
A: When considering clinical experience MEDEX looks for evidence of significant patient care responsibility in your previous paid positions adding up to a total of 2,000 hours or more. MEDEX values primary care experience over technical or highly specialized experience.
Once the clinical experience prerequisite is satisfied, MEDEX will consider volunteer experience as a way to supplement and strengthen your clinical background. Volunteer hours will not replace any requirement for paid experience.
Q: How recent does my clinical experience have to be?
A: MEDEX has a very competitive applicant pool of individuals with recent clinical experience. Recent experience is considered as being within the last 2 years. There are a few exceptions, i.e., if an applicant has left clinical practice to become a full-time student. The strongest applicants are currently involved in health care.
Q: What types of clinical experiences qualify?
A: Examples of common, competitive types of clinical backgrounds include nurses (at any level), medical assistants, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and military corpsmen or medics. Other experience includes but is not limited to community health aides, physical therapists, licensed massage therapists, and clinical research assistants. For more information about allied health fields that may satisfy the direct, hands-on patient care experience requirement please visit the Clinical Experience Prerequisite page.
Q: How do I document clinical experience hours?
A: All MEDEX applicants are required to enter clinical experience hours into the CASPA application. In an effort to determine what will and may not qualify for meeting our clinical prerequisites be sure to enter your title, name of supervisor, dates you started and ended each job, the total number of hours in each position, and a complete, concise job description outlining your direct patient care duties. Read the directions in the CASPA application carefully to ensure that you are entering the accrued hours accurately for each position.
Q: Does Peace Corps experience qualify?
A: Peace Corps experience can be considered as long as an applicant was involved in some form of clinical role. If the Peace Corps position was in teaching or construction, this would not qualify as meeting the clinical experience prerequisite.
Q: Does volunteer service or time spent shadowing a PA qualify as meeting clinical experience?
A: No. Volunteer experience is a great way to supplement your experience, but does not replace any required clinical paid time and will not count as part of the initial 2,000 hours. Volunteer and shadowing experiences are valuable, add to an understanding of the PA role in healthcare, and expand the understanding of primary care.
Q: Where do I find someone to shadow?
A: Most applicants are already connected to the medical community through their job experience and we encourage you to start networking. All states have a PA professional organization that can often refer you to practicing PAs who are willing to speak with potential applicants. PA organizations also hold annual meetings and continuing medical educational seminars, which provide good places to network.
Q: I do not have any patient care experience. How do I get into your program?
A: The MEDEX program is not designed to train people for their first experience in health care. The strongest physician assistant applicants are those who have a variety of skills, experience, and academic preparation. The PAEA website is a good resource to find the PA program that is most consistent with your background and goals.