Eastern Michigan University

Clinical Experience / Health Care Hours

A minimum of 500 hours of clinical experience must be completed prior to application to the EMU PA Program.

Clinical Experience / Health Care Hours are defined as any of the following: time spent directly participating in hands-on patient care, directly observing interaction between health care providers and patients or health care-related interactions with providers. Clinical Experience / Health Care Hours can occur in a volunteer (including student internships) or paid position in a wide range of health care settings. Hands-on or direct patient care experience is not required by the EMU PA program.

For your reference, we have compiled the following list of examples of approved and unacceptable experiences:

Approved experiences include, but are not limited to:

EMU PA Program Auscultation

  • Athletic trainer
  • Chiropractor
  • Chiropractor assistant
  • Clinical laboratory technician
  • Dental assistant
  • Dental hygienist
  • Dietitian
  • Emergency medical technician
  • Emergency room technician
  • Exercise stress test technician
  • Laboratory technologist (medical lab tests)
  • Medical assistant
  • Medical interpreter
  • Medical scribe
  • Mental health therapist
  • Military medical/clinical specialist
  • Nursing assistant or aide
  • Nurse
  • Occupational therapist
  • Occupational therapy assistant
  • Ophthalmic assistant
  • Paramedic
  • Patient care technician
  • Pharmaceutical or medical device representative
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Phlebotomist 
  • Physical therapist
  • Physical therapy assistant
  • Radiological technician/technologist
  • Researcher or research assistant (Must involve direct patient interaction involving healthcare issues, such as discussing medication doses and side effects.)
  • Respiratory therapist
  • Social Work - clinical focus
  • Surgical technician
  • Shadowing a PA or MD/DO
  • Veterinary technician or assistant

Unacceptable examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Aerobics instructor
  • Companionship or respite care
  • Lifeguard
  • Hospital greeter
  • Massage therapist
  • Medical office secretary or other clerical/non-clinical positions
  • Patient transporter
  • Personal care or home care (bathing, grooming and assisting with activities of daily living)
  • Personal care of a friend/relative
  • Personal trainer
  • Researcher or research assistant (non-medical or not directly clinically related. Obtained informed consent, regulatory issues, normal patient testing.)
  • Shadowing anyone other than a PA or MD/DO
  • Sitter or patient sitter

Clinical Experience / Health Care Hours are entered by the applicant on the CASPA application. Here is a link to the CASPA Instructions and FAQs related to documenting your experiences: https://portal.caspaonline.org/caspaHelpPages/frequently-asked-questions/additional-information/work-and-volunteer-experience/index.html. The EMU PA Program will review the CASPA application and determine if the experiences are approved. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that they have successfully completed at least 500 hours of approved clinical experience / health care hours prior to application. Please note that the EMU PA Program may also verify that the information entered on the CASPA application is accurate.

Preference in the application evaluation process is given to candidates with direct patient care experiences, particularly those that require specific training, high level medical decision making and/or registration/licensure. The highest category, Professional Provider, includes occupations such as: registered nurse, paramedic, medical corpsman (armed forces), physical therapist, athletic trainer and others. The next category, Technician, includes occupations such as: radiology technician, patient care technician, physical therapy assistant, dental assistant, CNA and others. Lower level experiences include: PA/physician shadowing, student internship/rotation experiences, medical scribe and others. Preference will also be given to candidates who have completed greater numbers of hours of clinical experience.

Questions & Verification of Clinical Experience / Health Care Hours

If you have specific questions regarding this admissions requirement, please contact us via email (chhs_paprogram@emich.edu). If you wish to have verification that your experience is approved, please email us  with your position title and description of specific duties.

The Physician Assistant Program is part of the School of Health Promotion & Human Performance, 318 Porter Building, 734.487.0090