Pre-PA Planning

Planning ahead and educating yourself can help make the process more efficient and help you get the most out of your undergraduate years.

Available Student Organizations

Universities with available Pre-PA resources/student organizations:

  • USC

    • Career Advising Sheet: here

    • Pre-PA Club

  • UCLA: Pre-PA Club

  • UCSB: Pre-PA Association

  • UCSD: Pre-PA Student Organization/PPASO

  • CSU Dominguez Hills: Pre-Health Society

  • CSU Long Beach: Pre-PA Club

  • CSULA: Pre-PA Club

  • Mi Mentor: MiMentor is a national mentoring organization committed to mentoring the next generation of healthcare professionals.

Volunteering Experiences

  • Kaiser: At Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles, volunteers donate hours of service in over 40 departments. If you are interested, contact the volunteer offices at 323-783-8109 or visit their volunteering services here.

  • LAC+USC : The LAC+USC Department of Patient Volunteer Services provides volunteer opportunities. If you are interested in becoming an adult or junior volunteer, contact the volunteer office at (323) 409-6945 or visit here.

  • UCLA Care Extenders: The Care Extender Program provides opportunities for volunteers to experience Health Care, from a clinical perspective, through patient contact and volunteer involvement. Learn more here.

  • Cope Health Solutions (Extender internship): As an intern, you’ll work side-by-side with team members on client projects, while applying classroom learning to real-world challenges. Learn more about Cope Health Solutions.

Shadowing Hours

  • Shadowing hours may be difficult to obtain as networking opportunities and connections may be hard to come by. It is important to be proactive.

  • One option is to “cold-call” doctor offices with PAs.

    • Introduce yourself as a pre-PA student and ask if you would be able to shadow a PA in order to gain more insight into the profession

    • Inpatient experiences are more difficult to obtain due to HIPAA and hospital clearances. Regulations vary by institution, contact institutions individually.

  • Reflect on your personal connections and networks. It may be easier to establish a shadowing opportunity through your volunteering or work experience.

  • Ask your PA mentors about their career path and possible shadowing opportunities.

  • Although shadowing hours of MDs, DOs, and NPs do not count for CASPA PA shadowing hours, it is encouraged to shadow various professionals in order to better understand the differences between the professions and gain more insight about different roles or each given profession.

  • Don’t forget to thank those you have shadowed! 

Clinical Experiences

  • Pre-PA students can gain direct patient hours through many different paths. Each PA program dictates what they consider to be a "direct" patient-care experience. To find that information, visit each individual program website.

  • Scribe: some programs do not accept scribing as "direct" patient care, however working alongside practitioners may help students gain insight into the provider/patient interaction.

  • CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant): information sessions and classes regarding CNA training are available through American Red Cross Training Services here.

  • EMT (Emergency Medical Technician):

  • Phlebotomist:

    • Find out more about phlebotomy education, training and find programs under allied health here

  • MA (Medical Assistant):

    • MA related jobs may require an official certificate and requirements may vary by institution.

    • Further information about the MA profession can be found here.

    • Search for accredited MA programs here.