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Getting Into PA School

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Interested in becoming a Physician Assistant? Check out this helpful overview of the application process.

Interested in becoming a Physician Assistant? Check out this helpful overview of the application process.

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  • 1. Getting into pa school
    By Sarah Sanders, PAS-II
    Midwestern University
  • 2. OBJECTIVES
    • Understanding the PA profession
    • 3. Choosing the right school
    • 4. Becoming a competitive applicant
    • 5. Utilizing available resources
  • What is a Physician Assistant?
    “Physician Assistants (PAs) are health professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. Physician Assistants are qualified upon graduation from an accredited physician assistant educational program and/or certification by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Within the physician/PA relationship, Physician Assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision-making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. The clinical role of Physician Assistants includes primary and specialty care in medical and surgical practice settings in rural and urban areas. Physician Assistant practice is centered on patient care and may include educational, research, and administrative activities.”
    www.aapa.org
  • 6. PA vs MD
    Points for the PAs:
    You can change specialties relatively easily
    You will go to school for 2-3 years
    You will have smaller debt
    You can find a job conducive to a family life
    Points for the MDs:
    You will be “in charge”
    You will make more money
  • 7. PA vs NP
    Nurse Practitioners
    Are RNs with advanced training in a clinical specialty
    Take a biopsychosocial approach as they collaborate with physicians
    Are able to function independently
    Physician Assistants
    Are trained much like physicians, focusing on diseases/pathologic aspects of healthcare
    Take a team approach with their supervising physicians
  • 8. what program is right for me?
  • 9. Factors to Consider
    Location
    How far are you willing to move?
    Curriculum, length of program
    Do you have specific desires, such as international rotations?
    Do you cringe at the thought of doing a thesis?
    Do you need a part-time option?
  • 10. PANCE pass rate
    Will they prepare you well?
    Program reputation
    Are bragging rights important to you?
    Degree awarded
    Certificate vs Bachelors vs Masters
    Cost
    Most students will survive on loans and grants
  • 11. So who has what I want?
    Browse programs websites
    Visit campuses
    Call admissions advisors
    Check out what others have to say
    **Be selective, but remember that staying open-minded will increase your chances of acceptance!
  • 12. Okay, I’ve narrowed down my list. Now what?
  • 13.
  • 14. The Application Process
    As the PA profession grows in popularity, competition for admissions is becoming steeper and steeper
    Nearly 800 people applied to MWU last year, 86 were accepted
    www.caspaonline.org
    You can apply to most of the schools through this one central application
    Some schools require additional paperwork
  • 15. To Do List
    Pre-requisite coursework
    Each program is slightly different, so make sure that you’ve completed everything you need
    If these aren’t required, you should still consider taking them
    Medical Terminology
    Immunology
    Pharmacology
    GRE
    Just do it
  • 16. Healthcare experience
    Hands-on experience gives you a good foundation to build on (ex. EMTs, MAs, athletic trainers, CNAs, EKG Techs…)
    Unique situations help you stand out in the applicant pool and give you a different perspective on things (ex. Military, Public Health, PeaceCorps, medical lawyers…)
    CASPA/Essay
    Keep in mind that this gives the Admissions Committees their first look at you…avoid fluff and focus on what makes you special
  • 17. Interview
    You’ve impressed the Committee on paper, or at least intrigued them enough to meet in person 
    Prepare, but don’t rehearse
    Familiarize yourself with the program (mission statement, unique aspects) and the faculty members
    Make sure you have a clear goal in mind and think about how you are going to convey that to them
    The most important thing to keep in mind is to BE YOURSELF and don’t overanalyze things
  • 18. Throughout this whole process…
  • 19. Remember That There’s Help Out There For You
    Advisors
    Current PAs
    Current students
    The internet
    www.physicianassistantforum.com
    www.aapa.org
    www…
  • 20. Thank You!
    ~Sarah Sanders, PAS-II

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