Physician Assistant programs generally consider the following factors when deciding who to admit.
- Successful completion of prerequisite coursework, usually with C grade or above.
- Average GPAs for accepted applicants are in the 3.0 – 3.5 and higher range.
- Many programs may require a minimum GPA of 3.0.
- GRE scores.
- Volunteer or paid experience working with patients in a health-related setting is required by many schools and encouraged by all.
- Patient-related experience allows applicants to test their career decision and be confident that it is a good fit.
- Applicants who have researched and gained direct exposure to the profession will be better prepared to write a compelling application and respond to the interview questions.
- Many hospitals and community clinics may offer patient volunteer experiences.
- Review our Explore Opportunities section for possible volunteer opportunities.
- Many PA programs require a significant number of patient-contact hours and most of their successful PA applicants may have 1-3 years of full-time healthcare work experience in the following types of positions:
- Medical assistant
- Emergency medical technician (EMT)
- Medic or medical corpsman
- Peace Corps volunteer
- Lab assistant/phlebotomist
- Registered nurse
- Emergency room technician
- Surgical tech
- Certified nursing assistant (CNA)
Letters of Recommendation
- The Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) requires 3 letters of reference submitted electronically through their system.
- Schools may require letters from particular individuals, such as a physician assistant or other healthcare professional, professor, or work supervisor.
- Applicants will need to check the schools’ specific directions regarding letters before setting up their letter of reference information in CASPA.
- Although HPA offers a recommendation file service for medical and dental school applicants, PA applicants should use the electronic letter of recommendation system provided through CASPA.
Be prepared to discuss why you are pursuing a career as a PA and how you perceive the role of the PA in health care. You may be rated on:
- Your knowledge of the profession.
- Your motivation to pursue a career as a physician assistant.
- How you present yourself and interact in a group.
- Your ability to solve problems.
Sample questions available on the Physician Assistant Life website.