Competitive applicants to Physician Assistant programs are well rounded and have pursued a wide range of experiences to develop not only their scientific background and skills, but also interpersonal, teamwork, and leadership skills, and professionalism.

Patient Care Experience, Internships & Job Shadowing

Most PA schools require students to observe PAs in a clinical setting to understand their unique and distinct role on the healthcare team. In addition, because graduate PA training is so condensed, most PA schools expect students to have a significant amount of hands on patient care experience even before they apply to PA schools, either paid or volunteer. Many pre-PA students will obtain certification* and work as CNAs or EMTs, but there are also many entry level jobs in healthcare which do not require specific licensing or certification (home health aides, personal care assistants, dietary aides in nursing homes, etc.). The Smith Career Center can also assist students with finding employment opportunities to gain necessary patient care experience, and often register these experiences so students can also earn internship credit.

*These certifications are not available through Bradley University.


Volunteering and community service, whether or not it is in a healthcare setting, demonstrates your commitment to serving others, as you will as a future physical therapist.

Get Involved

Becoming a leader in a student organization, job, etc. gives you experience working with teams, communicating, and working together to share responsibility for accomplishing shared goals. Consider joining organizations such as BU Med, Alpha Epsilon Delta honor society, HSO, or GMT and working your way toward an executive board or other leadership role.