PA school admission requirements vary greatly. The following is an example of a PA program that has few prerequisite requirements and admits 30 PA candidates with a median Overall & Science GPA around 3.4. Successful candidates have an average of one year of hands on clinical experience and pay around $70,000 in total tuition. There are schools that are a good match for a lot of prospective PA candidates.
PA schools require The admission requirements of PA programs have the following characteristics in common.
The GPA requirements for PA programs are distinguished by the following types of GPA calculations:
Overall GPA: This is just what it implies with a twist. It is the GPA calculated on all of your coursework and, it does not include grade forgiveness or grade replacement if you retook a class. All coursework is used to compute your overall GPA. The majority of PA schools have a 3.0 GPA minimum requirement. The range of Overall GPAs requirements is from 2.5 to 3.2.
Science GPA: The science GPA is made up coursework CASPA designates as science coursework in their Subject GPA designation (Biochemistry, Biology, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Other Sciences, Physics). Most programs have a 3.0 -3.2 Science GPA minimum.
Nonscience GPA: A small number of PA schools use the Nonscience GPA as an admission requirement.
BCP GPA: This GPA includes Biology, Chemistry and Physics coursework calculation. Few PA schools express this as a requirement, but it is something they review when evaluating PA candidates.
Prerequisite GPA: Some schools calculate your GPA for the prerequisite coursework they require for admission to their programs. Minimum GPA requirements in this category tend to be 3.0 – 3.2, or greater.
Prerequisite Coursework:There is substantial variation in prerequisite coursework requirements, and all schools but one require that you complete a series of prerequisite requirements to be considered for admission. Prerequisite coursework requirements have numerous qualifiers, which impact whether the course you have taken will meet the school’s prerequisite requirements.
Subject GPA Category – This is a CASPA designation that organizes prerequisite coursework into one of ten Subject GPA Categories. The categories are designated as either Science or Nonscience.
Course Subject – This is also a CASPA designation that further breaks down prerequisite requirements by a course subject area. For example, Biology/Zoology is a Subject GPA category that contains many Course Subjects. Anatomy is an example of course subject.
Prerequisite Coursework Requirements – This is a level of specificity that many PA Schools impose on Course Subjects. For example, a school may have a requirement for Anatomy, but it must be a specific kind of Anatomy, like Human Anatomy and or Vertebrate Anatomy. This is where you need to do your homework. There is no validation of what kind of anatomy you took when you apply through CASPA.
Semester hours – Some programs require a specific number of semester hours for a subject or a group of classes. For example, 9 semester hours of biology.
Courses Count – Other programs specific the number of courses required. For example, 3 behavioral science courses. In some instances, a school will specify both the number of courses and the required semester hours to meet a prerequisite requirement.
Lab Required – Some schools specify that a particular course or group of courses must have labs or a certain number of labs.
Optional Courses – Often a school will have a specific prerequisite requirement but offer optional courses that are acceptable substitutions.
Upper Level Course Designation – Increasingly, a number of schools are specifying the number of course or semester hours that must be upper division.
Sequence Requirements – a number of schools look for sequences of course like Biology I and Biology II.
Sequence Restrictions – Some schools impose restrictions on individual courses and stipulate they must not only be taken in sequence, but from the same school. Anatomy and Physiology courses are most often impacted by this requirement.
Currency Requirements – How old your coursework is matters to a lot of schools, but not all schools. PA schools tend to use 5,7 and 10 years for coursework currency restrictions.
Community College Restrictions – Some school do not accept any coursework from community colleges. Others specify the kind of coursework they will accept from Community Colleges.
Online Coursework Restrictions – A number of schools impose online coursework restrictions for science related coursework, or lab coursework.
Survey Coursework Restrictions – A growing number of schools are limiting the kind of coursework they will accept.
Minimum Letter Grade – All school impose some kind of minimum letter grade on prerequisite coursework that can range from a C- to B.
Coursework from an Accredited School – This is a very universal requirement. PA school require that your prerequisite coursework be from an accredited school.
Additional complex prerequisite requirements – Each one of the above requirements can be combined for multiple courses that span multiple Subject GPA Categories, with varying requirements for combinations of courses, lab work etc.
Degree Requirements – Schools either require you to have a degree or they don’t at the time of application. However, schools that don’t require you to have a degree at the time you apply usually expect you to have a degree before you matriculate (start the program).
GRE score – Schools either require a GRE or they don’t. Schools that require a GRE may have minimum scores. For example, a school could specify that a combined GRE score must be greater than 305 or it may be expressed as a percentile, like greater than the 50th percentile for a combine score, or individual components of the GRE.
CASPer – Some schools use this psychological testing process to screen applicants to their program.
International Student – PA schools’ requirements for international PA candidates have a great deal of variation. A number of schools will not accept anyone who is not a U.S. citizen. Other schools use services to interpret foreign transcripts as a part of the consideration process for foreign students. If English is not the native language of a PA candidates, they will be expected to take TOEFL exams and meet minimum score requirements specified by individual PA programs.
PA schools that have experience requirements look for healthcare experience (HCE), PA shadowing experience and community service. HCE typically range from 500 hours to 2,000 hours, while PA shadowing typically ranges from 8 hours to 40 hours. Schools that require community service hours can have requirements as high as 500 hours. Some PA schools require no experience of any kind.
If it seems like this is a lot of information, it is! Matching a PA candidates academic records, and work experience to all of the possible rules is for every PA school requires about 1,000,000 computations. We perform this matching service in under a minute for our clients!