Experiences

EXPERIENCE CATEGORIES

In this section you should enter your professional experiences under the following categories. Please review the definitions below, consider the duties which you performed during your experience, and use your best judgment to determine which category your experience falls into. Note that the examples below are based upon general feedback from PA programs and do not constitute an exhaustive list of every type of experience.  Ultimately CASPA has no preference as to which category you choose to place your experience under as individual programs’ definitions and requirements vary, and what ultimately determines the proper category is your experience’s individual job description and responsibilities. It is not guaranteed that your individual experience will be accepted by every program the way you categorize it. CASPA advises applicants who have prerequisite requirements to confer with their individual programs if they are unsure how these programs will consider their experience.

Patient Care Experience

Experiences in which you are directly responsible for a patient’s care; for example: prescribing medication, performing procedures, directing a course of treatment, designing a treatment regimen, actively working on patients as a nurse, paramedic, EMT, CNA, phlebotomist, physical therapist, dental hygienist, etc.

Health Care Experience

Both paid and unpaid work in the health or a health-related field where you are not directly responsible for a patient’s care but may still have patient interaction; for example, filling prescriptions, performing clerical work, delivering patient food, cleaning patients and/or their rooms, administering food or medication, taking vitals or other record keeping information, working as a scribe, CNA, medical assistant, etc.

Employment

Paid work done outside of the health care field; for example: a retail or restaurant job.

Shadowing

Time spent officially following and observing a health care professional at work, preferably a physician assistant.

Research

Research projects completed preferably in addition to or outside of regular classroom work.

Volunteer

Volunteer work done outside of the health care field; for example, working for Habitat for Humanity, tutoring students, participating in or working for a fundraiser walk or blood drive, etc.

HOW TO ENTER YOUR EXPERIENCE

Please be sure to read the instructions above before entering your information. If you have any questions in regards to your experiences fulfilling an individual school’s requirements, you should inquire with that school directly.

Click the “Add an Experience” button and select the category from the “Experience Type” drop-down menu to begin inputting your information. Your experiences will not be displayed in any particular order, regardless of the order or the dates entered.

You may NOT repeat hours between the sections. If the position duties encompass more than one section, enter the position in both sections and divide the hours and duties accordingly. (Example: a 40 hr/wk position with 10 hrs/wk of research and 30 hrs/wk of direct patient care would be entered under both research and patient care sections with the appropriate hours and duties listed within each section.)

COMMON QUESTIONS:

Q: How far back in my career should I list experiences?

A: You may include any experience you believe is relevant to your PA application. However, it is preferable to focus on experiences from the last 10 years and which began at least at a collegiate level.


Q: Where do I send documentation of my experience hours?

A: CASPA does NOT require any documentation for the experience sections. If any schools require documentation it should be submitted directly to them.


Q: What is my “title?” Who is my supervisor?

A: If you did not have an official title, you enter the type of activity you did; for example “PA Shadow,” or “Nurse Shadow,” etc. The Organization is the location where or for whom the work took place and the supervisor is the person who was responsible for you or was in charge of your activity.


Q: If I wasn’t paid for my health care work, is that considered volunteer?

A: The volunteer and employment are referring to experiences which have nothing to do with the health field. All health-related activities should be listed under the patient contact, health related, shadowing, or research sections regardless as to your status as an employee or volunteer.


Q: I’ve begun my experience, but plan on accumulating more hours before the PA program begins. Can I include those?

A: In the experience sections, you may only document (in hours/weeks, etc) the time already completed. Once you submit your application, you may not update your hours. However, in the text box under “duties” you may clarify your expected time commitment, and send any updates directly to the schools to which you are applying.


Q: I haven’t begun my experience yet, but plan on doing so soon. Can I report that?

A: No, you cannot report “planned” experience. Once you have accumulated the experience, however, you can add new experiences to your application, even if you have already submitted it to CASPA. Please note you can NOT edit experiences which have already been entered. You may send updated information directly to the schools to which you are applying.


Q: I have similar experiences. Should I list them out separately or group them together?

A: You may enter them in whichever manner you feel best represents your experiences to your programs.


Q: Where can I report my publications or presentations?

A: There is no place on the application specifically for publications as the PA programs have not requested that this be documented on CASPA. If you wish to include this type of activity, you may be able to list them in the “Achievements” section of the application if appropriate.


Q: Where can I report my extra-curricular activities?

A: There is no place on the application specifically for extra-curricular activities as the PA programs have not requested that this be documented on CASPA. Depending on the content of your activities, you may be able to list them in the employment, volunteer, or achievement sections if appropriate.



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