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Gain Healthcare Experience!

Gain Healthcare Experience

To become a more competitive applicant for graduate programs, having experience is a great way to stand out! Not only do experiences make you unique compared to other applicants, but they can also help with:

  • Discovering your interests
  • Allow you to simulate work in and out of a healthcare setting
  • Enable you to help those who need it
  • Expose you to connections and mentors and demonstrate commitment
  • Can help to confirm or alter your career goals

Do note that many programs prefer quality of experience over quantity of experience. This means moderate-length, meaningful experiences are preferred over lengthy experiences that do not match your career goals. Always check with your specific institution for any possible experience requirements.

Types of Experiences

With healthcare experiences, there are two categories that they usually fall under: Clinical and Non-Clinical.

Clinical experience refers to any hands-on, healthcare-related experience that usually has to do with the clinical/hospital setting. Clinical experiences allow you to get a feel for how it would be as a health professional along with demonstrating interest in the health field.

Non-clinical experience refers to experience that does not directly involve direct patient care. These experiences test and improve characteristics needed as a health professional such as leadership, communication, teamwork, empathy, and commitment to service.

Health Professions Experiential Opportunities

Community Service/Volunteer

Community service is the act of dedicating time to improve the well-being of your community, including people and the surroundings. This can be done in many different ways, ranging from charity events, conservation efforts, tutoring, organizing events, and donations. These experiences allow pre-health students to gain hands-on skills, develop empathy, and show dedication to bettering and assisting their communities.

Examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Healthcare Related / Clinical: Volunteer as a Clinic Assistant, Dental Assistant, Pharmacy Outreach, Patient Advocate, Physical Therapy Aide. etc.
  • Non-Clinical: Volunteer at a Food Bank, Fundraising Event, Mentor at a School/Community Club, Community Outreach, Civil Engagement, etc.

Current Volunteer Opportunities:

CSUSB: MyPawPrint Campus Volunteer Search Engine

Cedars-Sinai: Volunteer Opportunities

Dignity Health: Volunteer Opportunities

Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County (CAPSBC): Food Bank Volunteer

San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD): District Volunteer

San Bernardino Public Library Volunteer

Del Rosa Hospice: Volunteer

Paid Employment

Paid employment is just as good as it sounds; paid experience! Paid employment is a great way to find networking opportunities, sharpen your work skills, and find a steady source of income. These are wonderful ways to see if a long-term paid health profession is right for you!

Examples include (but are not limited to):

Need help finding paid employment opportunities? Check out the CSUSB Career Center!​​​​​


Internships are supervised work experiences organized by companies or organizations. The purpose of these is to allow students to gain temporary experience in a certain job position. Some internships can count as course credit and even offer compensation in the form of pay or a stipend, while others are volunteer positions. At the end of an internship, it is common to receive an evaluation of performance in the position.

Here is an Online Guide to Internships.

Internship Resources & Opportunities:

CSUSB Career Center Internship Resources

Keck Graduate Institute - Bioprocessing Summer Undergraduate Internship Training and Education

Cedars-Sinai Internship Programs

Biomedical Science Career Program (BSCP): Internships & Jobs Medical Internships (California)

Need more help finding internships? Check out the CSUSB Career Center!


Shadowing is the observation of a professional in their day-to-day work life. The purpose of shadowing is to give the observer an idea of how a certain profession or specialty would regularly work. Shadowing a professional requires their permission as well as knowledge of expectations and privacy.

Though shadowing hours can be incorporated into internships, it still is possible to shadow outside of one. When it comes to finding shadowing opportunities, you could reach out to specific offices that you would like to shadow. This can be through phone, through email, or in person.​​​​​​ It would be a good idea to email the professional directly while meeting with their front desk would be good to see if the professional is available at the moment.

Provided is a website e-mail example that is applicable to any health profession!


Research is the advancement and creation of knowledge in a certain field of study. It is commonly done under the supervision of a faculty mentor. In research, students would experiment, collect data, make sense of the data, and even present research projects/findings at conferences both in and outside the university. Research can be a great way to show commitment, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

A great way to get started in research is by reaching out to your department faculty. Most of the time, faculty have some type of research and wouldn't mind having some help! Check our faculty in your specific department and get in contact with them!

Research Resources & Opportunities:

CSUSB Office of Student Research 

CSUSB Research and Creative Activities Database

CSUSB: Coyote Research Ambassadors

CSUSB: Undergraduate Summer Research Program (USRP)

CSUSB: Peer Research Consultant

CSUSB: Undergraduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (U-RISE)


Conferences and presentations allow you to show your research and findings, along with seeing what others have been on to as well! Presenting your research shows you are not only deeply interested in the topic but that you can articulate your research well. This can be great practice for elaborating on your findings, especially when getting asked about research by interviewers and acceptance committees.

Current Conferences & Presentations:

CSUSB: Meeting of The Minds

Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR)

CSUSB: Research Week


Leadership positions are areas where you take the initiative to lead a project. Leadership positions can come from jobs, campus clubs, and community involvement. These experiences are really important because most (if not all) health professions contain some level of leadership.

Leadership Opportunities:

CSUSB: Medical & Pre-Health Student Society

CSUSB: Office of Student Engagement

CSUSB: Campus Leadership Opportunities

For more clubs and leadership opportunities, check out our Coyote Connection Search Engine! This site provides an extensive list of clubs on campus that you can be a part of!

Study Abroad

Studying abroad is the process of a student taking academic coursework in a foreign country, which can be funded by their university. This enrichment experience is taken with the goal of expanding the student's perspectives on culture, foreign healthcare, teaching methods, and building their intercultural competence. These have varying time lengths, which can span over the winter, during the summer, throughout a term, and even a full academic year. Though not necessary for any health profession, these can be meaningful experiences for students who want to expand their knowledge of the different cultures of the world.

CSUSB: Study Abroad

GoOverseas: Pre-Med and Pre-Health Study Abroad

USA Study Abroad: For U.S. College And University Students