Gaining Experience

All health professions schools value healthcare experience.  There can be a big gap between ideas of what it’s like to be a practitioner and the reality of these professions.  Clinical experience can bridge that gap. Below are several options you can explore:

Volunteer Opportunities 

Local Opportunities - These are volunteer opportunities within a 20 mile of radius of Cal State L.A.


Veterinary


Dental


Paid Experience

Working in the healthcare field is an excellent way gain experience and earn money while doing so!  There are a variety of training programs to get certified as an emergency medical technician, phlebotomist, dialysis technician, medical assistant, pharmacy technician, respiratory therapist, and others.  Medical scribing is also a great way to get experience!  See below for opportunities: 


Summer Opportunities


Shadowing

Health Professions schools want to ensure that you have seen, up close and in person, what practitioners do.  Shadowing is a great way to explore your health career interest by watching a practitioner do what they do in their own context.  This is distinct from volunteering in that your only task in shadowing is to observe practitioner-patient interactions.

To set up shadowing, there are a few approaches:

  • Ask your personal physician or a physician you know if you could set up shadowing with them.  If not, can they refer you to someone who may be open
  • Work as a scribe or medical interpreter.
  • Volunteer at a hospital or clinic and ask for opportunities after building relationships in that setting.
  • Shadowing a Doctor - A Guide from AAMC

​While shadowing, make the most of your experience by approaching the experience with curiosity!  Consider the following: Why is the action that you are witnessing the best option for the patient? Are there alternative choices? What is the expected outcome and is the patient expected to do anything specific to achieve it?  Be reflective and ask the pracitioner questions at appropriate times.  


International Experience


Pre-Health Conferences and Preview Days


Research