quick question about student extern jobs

Students General Students



I am just trying to plan when I will be leaving my current position for a hospital job. All of the student extern/ PCT jobs I see say you can work there after completing one clinical rotation. I am a little clueless as to how long a clinical rotation is. Is this usually on semester or are there multiple rotations per class/semester.

Thanks for your help



1,326 Posts

Hi there,

In my neck of the woods, South Western - PA, one clinical rotation is one semester of nursing school. ie. the Fall or Spring Semester usually equalling about 15-16 weeks. Diploma programs (Hospital based programs) may be a bit shorter because here they often run as three semesters (Fall, Spring & Summer) a year, not the standard two you get at CC or state universities.

I have never taken a Certified Nurse Assistant course but I understand that most of what you learn in your first semester of nursing school (basic care, ie. bed baths, nutrition, proper body mechanics, etc.) is what is covered in a CNA course. So, many nursing students are able to get jobs such as CNA or PCT/PCA after one semester.

Good Luck in your nursing school endeavors!!!


Specializes in L&D/MB/High-risk antepartum; Hospice.

In Michigan, we can take jobs as techs after completing our first med-surg clinical, which is at the end of our first semester of nursing school. Not sure how it works everywhere else, but I think it would be safe to assume that you need to be in school about 16 weeks before taking a tech position.


208 Posts

Here in California (Central Valley), we have been told that we can get a CNA job after our first semester, but we cannot get an extern job until after our 2nd semester. Also, too, I think it depends on the hospitals. Some let you have a position after 2 semesters, and some will make you wait a little longer for certain other positions (the other ones require 5 semesters to be done? at that point you only have 1 semester left?? I don't get it, but whatever).

I would suggest to you if you are interested to go visit the websites of the hospitals you are thinking of working for. They usually have listed in the job posting how many semesters they require of us students! :-D

Good Luck!

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