For Prospective Standardized/Simulated Patients

Standardized Patient/Simulated Person

Apply for an interview here 

"Knowledge used is better remembered.”  - Howard Barrows

SPs are individuals from the community, hired and trained to portray a real patient, client, health professional, family member, or other individual for the purpose of education (formative or summative) in role play type formats. With proper training they : 

  • Are able to provide sophisticated feedback --proxy for a patient’s perspective
  • Provide continuity, reproducibility,and realism to the learning experience
  • Respond to learner skill and human connection abilities
  • Are co-educators (checklist completion, support curriculum). Your voice matters! 
  • Add objectivity, believability, and diversity to the experiential learning opportunities for our med students and other learners.
  • SPs are educators rather than “actors” 



We are currently interviewing and hiring qualified candidates !  If hired, most work hours occur between 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday – Friday. To be eligible, applicant must have some availability during these hours. 

Note: :  Current University of Pittsburgh students and employees are not eligible for this position. 

More about SP Work

Working as a Standardized/Simulated Patient (SP) provides a unique opportunity to be involved in shaping the education of tomorrow’s physicians, health and other professionals. 

Although not meant to substitute a learners work with real patients or clients, SPs offer a highly realistic, educational resource to give prospective professionals first-hand experience of interacting with people and practice connecting with others through effective communication face to face. 

We currently employ 130+ SPs on a temporary, as-needed basis, and seek to represent the diversity of our community in who we hire. Work is intermittent and not full time, but is very rewarding !

Once hired , you will be extensively trained in communication skills and physical exam skills. Our SPs are tasked with portraying cases that fit their skills, abilities, and the demographic requirements of the curriculum. Portrayals include being people in a variety of situations, experiencing sometimes strong emotions and often some physical symptoms. Some cases involve communication interviews only and some include physical exams. Other cases may include emotionally charged situations such as domestic abuse or the death of a child. This is not a research program, but is an opportunity to help us teach new learners about skills important to real patients!  You will never be asked to do something without consent and extensive training. 

The SP Program recruits candidates intermittently based on the curriculum needs of courses and events within the med school and partner programs. Typically, we recruit and hire two to three times per year, depending on our needs. Our goal is to provide learners with the opportunity to practice with SPs who accurately represent real patients; therefore, we recruit all genders, all ages, from various ethnic groups, and with a wide-range of professional experience.

Desired Skills

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Reliability
  • Ability to listen to coaching and adjust portrayals with our direction
  • Motivation to help learners to grow and develop interviewing, and interpersonal skills
  • Self awareness and emotional intelligence
  • Ability to realistically " be " another human during role play encounters
  • Eye for detail and a great memory

Qualification Requirements

  • High School Degree or the equivalent (University Requirement)
  • Basic computer skills (e.g. typing and data entry)
  • Reliable email access
  • Flexible schedule ( most of our work is Monday- Friday during the day) 
  • Reliable transportation and ability to navigate in the Oakland area
  • No specific experience type is required, but the ability to communicate and remember details are essential


  • Competitive hourly rates, paid trainings, parking, and flexible hours
  • Central location (most events are in Oakland)
  • Gain knowledge about the healthcare community, develop accurate and precise feedback skills, and network with other SPs
  • Giving back to the community by helping future and current healthcare professionals develop or improve their skills
  • Personal growth through awareness of the medical community
  • Knowledge of detailed communication skills
  • The right to say "no" - either for scheduling conflicts or case content reasons. Your comfort is important to us. 

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