Direct Clinical Patient Care Experience | PA Admissions

Pacific University’s School of Physician Assistant Studies requires a minimum of 1,000 hours of Patient Care Experience at the time of CASPA submission. The experiences may come from paid work or volunteer hours. Experiences are documented through CASPA and we do not project hours for the future. We will review each applicant’s hours on a case by case basis and it will be dependent on how an applicant describes them on CASPA.

Experiences that are typically accepted primarily include evidence of direct patient care: obtaining manual vital signs, collecting detailed patient histories, assisting with minor procedures or treatments, administering medications, etc.

Experiences that are typically not accepted primarily include: administration duties, billing, insurance, patient transport, lifeguarding, care of family members, companionship, working with animals, etc.

The following list are examples of job titles with job descriptions that have been accepted previously. If you have any questions about Patient Care Experience, please contact Leah Baldwin:

Examples of experiences that have been accepted:

Athletic Trainer
Chiropractor Assistant
Dental Hygienist
EKG/EEG Technician
Emergency Medical Technician (Basic or Intermediate)
Emergency Room Technician
Medical Assistant
Medical Scribe
Mental Health/Behavioral Health
Military Medic or Corpsman
Nursing Assistant or Aide
Occupational Therapist
Occupational Therapy Assistant or Aide
Ophthalmic/Optometric assistant
Patient Care Technician
Physical Therapist
Physical Therapy Assistant or Aide or Tech
Radiological Technician/Technologist
Rehabilitation Technician
Researcher or Research Assistant (Must be human patients)
Respiratory Therapist
Social Work - clinical focus
Surgical Technician or Assistant
Shadowing a PA or MD/DO or NP (cannot be used for the majority of the hours)
Ultrasound Technologist/Technician


Frequently Asked Questions about Patient Care Experience

Do you accept experience as a caregiver? 

Patient care experience earned as a caregiver may or may not be accepted and is at the discretion of the Admissions Committee at the time of the application. For the experience to be accepted, the applicant must be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). The hours need to be conducted in a facility such as an assisted living or care facility and require a high level of medical responsibility (taking manual vitals on a daily basis, administering medications, wound care, feeding tube management, etc.). We will not accept experience with family members. Providing comfort, assisting with activities of daily living, and medication distribution will not be viewed competitively enough to count as sole patient care experience. 

Do you accept experience as a pharmacy technician?

Retail pharmacy technicians are not usually accepted, but there have been occasions when hours earned in a hospital setting have counted. It will depend on how much medical interaction you have with patients.

Do you accept experience as medical lab scientist or technologist?

We do not accept experience strictly in the lab. If the role includes phlebotomy, it may be accepted on a case by case basis. 

Will Pacific University accept hours earned as a part of another degree, license, or certificate?

Our policy on hours earned for academic credit or as a part of another training program has changed. As of the entering class of 2019, we will no longer accept hours that an applicant earned to obtain a degree, license, or certificate. This includes hours earned as a part of an EMT/paramedic program, athletic training student hours, and rotations for a different health profession such as nursing or radiology technician. 

Contact Us

Leah Baldwin | Associate Director of Graduate and Professional Program Admissions
503-352-7224 |