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The most valuable clinical experience you can get is a job that entails providing patient care.
Many premeds will choose to work in healthcare throughout college or during their gap years.
Not only is clinical experience imperative to your med school application, but it will help motivate you through tough times and remind you why you’re putting in all this hard work!
Here are 10 paid premed jobs that will give you valuable clinical experience and provide an opportunity to work in a hospital or clinic, have patient contact, expand your medical knowledge, and make some money while doing so.
- What I Actually Did to Become a Patient Care Technician
- Honest Premed Advice You Need To Hear Right Now
- The Best Premed Resources to Help You Succeed
- 20 Budget Friendly Premed Essentials to Make Your Life Easier
The Best Premed Jobs
Playing a role on a healthcare team and caring for patients will allow you to determine if a career in medicine is right for you.
Prove to yourself (and med schools) that you’re committed to becoming a physician and have what it takes.
Some of these premed jobs require additional training, certifications, and/or licensure.
1. Home Health Aide
A Home Health Aide (HHA) is a caregiver whose duty is to help someone live independently at home by assisting with activities of daily living.
HHAs are usually employed in assisted living facilities, hospices, or private residences.
An HHA supports patients by carrying out tasks like laundry, cooking, running errands, and assisting with personal services such as bathing, dressing, and grooming.
This is a great job for anyone who wants to get hands-on patient care experience without going through an extensive training program.
Most HHA agencies require a minimum training of 75 hours, which is relatively short compared to other premed jobs.
Check your state’s HHA requirements here.
Average hourly pay: $11.36
2. Certified Nursing Assistant
Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a fantastic way to get clinical experience.
CNAs work mostly in hospitals but can also be employed in nursing homes, rehab centers, and outpatient clinics.
Similar to HHAs, CNAs assist patients with activities of daily living. Unlike HHAs, CNAs provide basic medical care including taking blood pressure and other vital signs.
Different hospitals and facilities will have varying requirements and responsibilities.
In essence, CNAs will work alongside nurses to ensure each patient receives the best care and treatment.
As a CNA you’ll gain practical skills, expand your medical knowledge, develop bedside manners, and be a vital member of a healthcare team.
Most CNA programs can be completed in 4-12 weeks and require anywhere from 75-120 hours for certification.
This is a great job for anyone who wants to explore different specialties and see if they like working with patients.
Check your state’s CNA requirements here.
Average hourly pay: $13.12
3. Patient Care Technician
Patient Care Technicians (PCTs) work just about anywhere that involves patient care – hospitals, clinics, rehabs, etc. PCTs can provide all of the services of a CNA and more.
Depending on the facility, PCTs are also able to draw blood, collect specimens and perform EKGs.
I was hired as a PCT with only my CNA and BLS (basic life support) certification because that specific hospital had designated phlebotomists.
Though, not every hospital has phlebotomists and may require you to have your phlebotomy certification as well.
As a PCT who’s worked in med-surg/oncology/acute care, my duties included vital signs, activities of daily living, blood sugar checks, specimen collection, bladder scans, and EKGs.
Becoming a PCT has assured me I do enjoy working with patients and those experiences are my motivating factor to keep pushing forward.
You can either get certified through a PCT Training Program or get your CNA, BLS, and Phlebotomy certifications individually.
However, it’s not always necessary to get certified because some hospitals will train you with no prior experience.
The best way to check your state’s PCT requirements is on a site like Indeed. Type “Patient Care Technician” and your zip code in the job search box.
From here, you can click on the different listings in your area to see the general PCT qualifications and requirements.
Average hourly pay: $14.37
4. Emergency Medical Technician
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) respond to emergency situations and are employed with ambulance services, hospitals, fire departments, and police agencies.
Their job is to assess the scene, assess the patient, determine a plan of care, and provide first-aid treatment.
There are 4 levels of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) licensure:
- EMR (Emergency Medical Responder)
- AEMT (Advanced EMT)
It takes around six months to complete the 120-150 hours of required EMT training.
Then, you’ll be eligible to take the state certification exam. This is definitely a job for an adrenaline junkie who’s interested in saving lives in potentially high-stress situations.
Some colleges have campus-based emergency medical services where you’ll be part of a team that provides on-site medical assistance.
If you’re able to get on with one of those units, it can be an ideal premed job!
For more EMT resources and certification information, click here.
Average hourly pay: $14.49
5. Dialysis Technician
Dialysis Technicians (also known as Hemodialysis or Renal Technicians) work in healthcare facilities like dialysis clinics and hospitals and are responsible for providing patient care to people with kidney failure.
When a patient is experiencing permanent kidney failure (end-stage renal disease), their body is unable to naturally filter out waste and toxins from their blood and needs dialysis.
There are three types of dialysis treatments:
- Hemodialysis (most common)
- Peritoneal dialysis (PD)
- Continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT)
Dialysis techs draw blood, set up the dialysis machine, and administer and monitor the treatment under the supervision of a physician or nurse.
Certification differs in every state but there are training programs approved by the Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology offered nationally and online.
This incredibly rewarding premed job entails analytical and critical thinking skills (not to mention it pays pretty well!).
Check your state’s dialysis tech requirements here.
Average hourly pay: $16.50
If you’ve ever donated blood or had your blood drawn, you’ve met a phlebotomist.
Phlebotomists collect and prepare blood samples for medical testing, transfusions, or donations and can work in a variety of healthcare settings like hospitals and outpatient clinics.
Blood tests can reveal what’s truly going on within the body and is often the first step to diagnosing and treating a patient.
The responsibilities of a phlebotomist include:
- verify the identity of the patient
- explain the procedure
- collect and label blood samples
- send samples for analysis
- keep a record/database
- maintain a sterile environment
- properly handle medical equipment
Phlebotomy training programs are offered at community colleges, technical schools, and hospitals and take about 8-16 weeks to complete.
Before you can get certified, you’ll need to complete a minimum amount of successful blood draws and training hours.
If you’re detail-oriented, have a steady hand, and have a calm and comforting personality, this premed job is for you! (If you can handle the sight of blood of course!)
Find a training program near you here.
Average hourly pay: $15.20
7. Behavioral Health Technician
Behavioral Health Technicians (BHTs) collaborate with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to treat patients with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities.
They provide mental health services to patients who struggle with behavioral problems.
BHTs carry out treatment plans, provide emotional support, monitor and observe patient behavior, ensure a safe environment, assist with everyday activities, and more.
This job can be physically demanding as BHTs are sometimes confronted with agitated patients who can turn violent.
BHTs are usually employed in mental health facilities and hospitals.
According to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), 40 hours of training is required to become a Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT) before you can take the exam.
While certification isn’t always necessary to become a BHT, some organizations may require it.
The Autism Partnership Foundation (APF) now offers a FREE 40-Hour Registered Behavior Technician training program.
APF’s online RBT training meets all BACB requirements for the 2nd Edition RBT Task List as well as additional key topics deemed essential for anyone working directly with individuals diagnosed with autism.
Average hourly pay: $14.63
8. Emergency Room Technician
ER Technicians are licensed EMTs who work in emergency rooms and support nurses, physicians, PAs, and NPs in providing the highest quality patient care.
Their roles range anywhere from maintaining medical equipment and taking vital signs to dressing wounds and starting IVs.
Though some facilities may hire you if you have your CNA or phlebotomy certification, the most common way to become an ER Tech is by going through an EMT training program.
Working as an ER Tech will allow you to see a variety of medical cases and gain an understanding of how the healthcare system operates.
This job is face-paced and extremely hands-on, and great for premeds who want to do a little bit of everything!
Learn more about becoming an ER Tech here.
Average hourly pay: $15.06
9. Medical Assistant
Medical Assistants (MAs) primarily work in outpatient clinics and doctors’ offices. MAs are multi-faceted, they do a little bit of everything!
From administrative duties like answering the phone and scheduling appointments to clinical responsibilities such as taking vitals and giving shots.
MAs perform a variety of tasks that involve clerical roles and patient care.
You don’t need a certification to work as a MA but employers hire in favor of medical assistants who are certified.
However, some employers are willing to train individuals with no prior experience if deemed a good fit.
If you’re close with your primary care physician, family physician, or OBGYN ask if they are hiring! Send them a professional email with your resume.
The worst they can say is no!
Of course, you don’t have to know a physician to get hired.
You can simply sway almost anyone with an impeccable cover letter stating your purpose for wanting the position and why you’d be a great candidate.
Surprisingly, this is one of the easier premed jobs you can get without a certification.
To be eligible to take the certification exam, you’ll need to graduate from an accredited program.
Check out different types of medical assistant programs here.
Average hourly pay: $15.46
10. EKG Technician
An EKG Technician is a fantastic entry-level premed job that requires minimal to no training.
EKG, or ECG, is short for electrocardiogram, which is a machine that measures the electrical activity of the heart.
Roles of an EKG Tech include placing electrodes and hooking up leads to assess patients’ cardiovascular health, maintaining EKG equipment, collecting data, and responding to codes in the hospital.
Before I became a PCT, I did a two-day EKG certification program to increase my chances of getting a job.
Although I don’t think that contributed to my job offer, I was still trained to do EKGs when I was hired.
I’m telling you this to make a point that learning how to perform EKGs and reading basic heart rhythms isn’t an extensive training process.
Actually, since this is an entry-level job many employers will train you on-site.
Though it’s not necessary to obtain a certificate it can give you a slight competitive edge.
Elite Medical Academy has an online EKG training program and is nationally accredited by the Department of Education & OSHA.
Average hourly pay: $15.20
These premed jobs will get you valuable clinical experience but don’t think that they are your only options!
There are many more fantastic premed jobs, these are just the top ones (IMO).
Really, clinical experience is all about what you make it and how you talk about your experiences when it comes time to apply to medical school.
There will be MANY premeds who’ve worked these jobs, so how you convey your story is what will set you apart.
Don’t approach getting clinical experience as a check box but rather as something you want to explore and prove to yourself it’s something you enjoy.
Read this blog post to learn how I obtained thousands of clinical hours!