Look out for the future, because you never know what it might bring…
Question #89110 posted on 03/09/2017 2:32 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My tentative plan for the future is to go to PA school. However, I really, really need more volunteer and/or work hours (preferably work, because I need money). And when I say "more" hours, what I really mean is just hours. I've hardly got anything so far, and I need it for a couple reasons.

One, you need a ton of patient hours to get accepted to PA school, and I probably will graduate in two years. Not much time.

Two, it's my "tentative" plan because I still don't even know if that's really what I want to go into. I know that I love anatomy, and I love working with people and helping people, so it seems like a logical choice. But I really need to figure out soon if it's the kind of work I want to do for the rest of my life, because if not, I need to figure out what I do want to do as soon as possible.

Do you have any suggestions about where I should look for a job? Something that would both get me the hours and help me know if that's really what I want to do? Ideally, I'd like something that I can do full-time over the spring and summer and then keep part-time when school starts next fall.

Thanks so much! I hope all of your career plans are going well.

-Soleus

A:

Dear Soleus,

It looks like the average amount of patient hours is between 500-2000 hours, or the equivalent of working full-time for about a year. You have two years so realistically, if you found a job soon (especially if you went full-time over the spring/summer term), you should be fine.

PA schools prefer that their candidates have direct, hands-on experience with patients. CNA seems to be a popular choice for medical experience since it doesn't take long to certify and there are plenty of jobs available. Most CNA programs take between four and twelve weeks to complete, so if you're interested in that route, you should be able to work in that field by spring/summer term. It also gives you a brief idea of what working in the medical field is like, if you're interested in exploring before you commit.

Here are some popular options to get patient hours for PA hopefuls (most of which require either minimal certification or on-the-job training), with some information about requirements:

These are just a few options. If none of these sound interesting, you may want to check out this blog post written by a PA, which gives a multitude of other options.

If you're looking for other medical careers besides being a PA, you might try this Medical Specialty Aptitude Test. It offers potential healthcare career ideas based on your personality and what you find important in a job. I took it recently since on that Sokanu test I mentioned before, the top twenty-ish results were all healthcare-related. As an English major, it's mostly just made me wonder if I'm besmirching my destiny by not being a chiropractor, but it sounds like it could help you pinpoint what you want out of a job and possibly find one that involves anatomy and working with others. This article might also give you some anatomy-related career ideas.

If any readers are in the healthcare field and would like to offer some advice, please leave a correction. Good luck!

-Van Goff