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Health Care Experience (HCE) Requirements

The Center for Physician Assistant Studies


  • To ensure that the applicant has an understanding of, and commitment to working with the ill and injured.
  • To provide for an evaluation (by recommendation) of the applicant's maturity, compassion, and professionalism.
  • To provide the applicant with the opportunity to observe and learn about the various roles of the health care team.
  • To provide the candidate with in-depth knowledge of the profession and the ability to make an informed career decision to enter the PA training.

Acceptable Types of HCE
The following table presents most of the common types of experience that have been found to be acceptable to meet minimum program requirements.  However, it is not exhaustive and candidates are advised to contact the Center if they have questions about their individual situations.


Respiratory Therapist

Patient care associate


Radiation technologist

OR technician


Medical technologist

Pharmacy technician


Medical technician ED volunteer


Athletic trainer Orderly

Nurse's Aid

Phlebotomist Ophthalmologic technician


Physical therapist Dietician


Occupational therapist Home health aide


Researcher/technician Medical office assistant

Mental health aide

Veterinary technician

EKG/Monitor technician

It should be noted that each individual's job description (not merely title) is reviewed and evaluated based upon training requirements, direct contact with patients, and level of responsibility.  Shadowing and activities as a student do not qualify.

Obtaining Entry-level Health Care Experience
Obtaining entry-level health care experience is commonly a problem for students and those making career changes. The following table includes locations and types of experiences that require minimal training, have flexible hours, and meet minimum acceptable criteria for application to the Center.


Types of roles available:



Patient care associate (PCA)

Minimal on the job training required.





EKG/monitor technician



ED Volunteer


Nursing homes

Nurse's aide








Home care agencies

Home health aide

Some training required

Ambulance services/ Rescue Squads


About 100 hours training

NoteApplicants for 2013 must have completed all prerequisites including health care experience at the time of their application.