School of Health Professions

Observation and shadowing hours

You will have to do some research and make contacts within your future field to find opportunities:

  • Take a HIPAA class so that you can tell prospective practitioners that you are HIPAA compliant.
  • Volunteer to work in any capacity in an office or emergency room where professionals in your field are employed. In the course of your volunteer work, you might become acquainted with a professional who may be willing to let you shadow. Shadowing hours must be separate from your volunteer hours.
  • Approach smaller practices or rural practices where they might be more easily able to give you shadowing experience.
  • Contact the local, regional or state professional organization for your specialty for insight and guidance. Ask to attend one of their meetings and personally seek out a professional to shadow.

Does the School of Health Professions have any connections to the hospitals or clinics in the area where I can observe or shadow?

The School of Health Professions does not place applicants in clinics for observational or shadowing experiences.

Call your local hospitals and clinics and see if they allow individuals to observe their professionals. They understand it is a requirement for acceptance into health care programs.

How many observation hours will I need?

ProgramMinimum Required HoursForm to Record Hours
Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)30 hours of observation, volunteering or employment under a licensed occupational therapistReport hours in OTCAS. 
Doctor of Physical Therapy50 hours of observation, volunteering or employment under a licensed physical therapistReport hours in PTCAS.
Master of Physician Assistant StudiesShadow hours (PA, MD, DO, and NP), hands-on patient care experience and community service hours are strongly recommended and may enhance the application, but not required. Report hours in CASPA.