Post-Grad Advice

It has been 3 months since I graduated from PA school. I still haven't started work and I'm not in the minority of my class. I write this entry as a "heads up" for soon-to-be grads. Our class was told that it could take 4-6 weeks to start working after graduation, even if you were already offered a job! I think that time frame is a good minimum to think about. You should plan for about 2-3 months without an income just to be safe. If you start working prior... great! but if not, you will have a bit of a cushion for things like rent, bills, loan payments, and your licenses.  Getting all of your national/state stuff for credentialing will cost you around $1500. Even if your institution says they will pay, it is typically in the form of reimbursement - that means you need to have the money upfront.

Tips to Start Working Sooner
  • Fill out as much as you can on your state license application and state controlled substance application right after graduation. You won't be able to do everything, but having it ready to go so that as soon as you get your NCCPA ID you can finish it up.
  • Request official transcripts from your previous institutions. You will need them for your state license and often this is the step that holds up the process. Some school can take 5-7 days to mail out official transcripts.
  • If possible, hand deliver the documents to the offices instead of putting them in the mail. If it isn't possible, think about expedited delivery.
  • You will need your supervising physician to sign paperwork. Depending on your relationship with that individual and their schedule, think about scheduling an appointment soon after graduation because they can fill out their sections completely prior to you getting your PANCE results.
With all of this being said, even if you do everything ahead of time - you still might not start work for 2-3 months because some of the process is out of your control.
  • Some hospital credentialing boards only meet once a month, so even if all of your stuff is in if you've missed that month's meeting then you will likely have to wait til the following month.
  • Your hiring department may not be able to on-board you right way, especially if they hired several new grads. They may stagger your start date with other new grads for training purposes.
  • Stuff gets lost in the mail. It happens.
Take home: Be organized and get as much of the application process done ahead of time as possible. Plan for 2-3 months without an income and be sure that you have $1400-1500 "extra" money to pay for your licensing. 


  1. Great advice. Hospital credentialing can be painfully slow. I remember being so broke I paid for groceries with coins! Glad that's behind me now!

  2. Thank you for the comment. It does feel like it takes forever!