Physician assistant programs are typically 2-4 years long
Physician assistant programs are typically 2-4 years long. This can vary from program to program so it is important to do your research and find the length that best fits your needs. The majority of PA programs are about 3 years long. Some programs, such as Yale’s and Duke’s, are 4 years long. There are also programs that are shorter than 2 years such as the University of Nebraska Medical Center and East Tennessee State University which have roughly 1-year master’s degree programs. A few schools, like Pontifical Catholic University in Puerto Rico and Barry University in Florida have 5-year bachelor’s to master’s degree PA programs.
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List of PA Schools in NC
Wake Forest University School of Medicine PA Program
The Wake Forest University PA program is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The program is 23 months long and takes a hybrid approach to learning. Students spend the first 8 months of the program online and then another 15 months on campus.
In order to be considered for admission into the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, you will need:
- 3 years of healthcare experience (1 year may be substituted with direct patient care experience)
- An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0
- GRE scores that are no more than 5 years old (recommended score minimums are verbal = 150, quantitative = 150, analytical = 4.0)
- A completed application packet which includes: an official transcript from each institution attended, letters of recommendation (3), personal statement, resume/CV and basic immunizations
Duke University Physician Assistant Program
Duke University Physician Assistant Program was established in 1993. The program is 27 months long with two years of academic instruction followed by one year of clinical rotations. Duke PA students complete their clinicals at Duke Hospital, VA Medical Center in Durham, NC, UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill and private clinics.
Duke University PA Program has a 100% pass rate for the PANCE and graduates have been very successful in finding employment after graduation.
If you are interested in learning more about the program or applying to Duke University visit their website at http://paschool.duhs.duke.edu/pa/
Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine PA Program
- Application deadline August 1, 2017.
- Tuition and Fees: $80,000 (resident); $81,600 (non-resident).
- Mail application to: Campbell University Jerry M Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine PA Program P.O. Box 55, Buies Creek, NC 27506
- This school has additional prerequisite requirements. See the program’s website for more details.
Wingate University Physician Assistant Studies Program
Wingate University Physician Assistant Studies Program
300 W. School St.
Wingate, NC 28174
Established in 1999
Total enrollment of 2,849 including undergraduate and graduate students; PA program class size is 24-27 students each year. Tuition is $31,490 per year. The program is 27 months in length comprised of three academic years: 3 semesters of didactic instruction followed by clinical rotations in the fourth year.
Appalachian State University Department of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Program
This program began in 1995, and offers both a Master of Science in Health Sciences degree and a Masters in Physician Assistant Studies degree. The program is fully accredited by the ARC-PA, and is a 3 year program beginning in August each year.
The mission of the Department of Health Sciences is to educate students to become competent health care professionals who will provide high quality patient care, meet the challenges of change within their professions, and contribute to the enhancement of society’s health.
The PA Program’s mission addresses this goal by educating students to become competent physician assistants who will practice with autonomy and interdependence in a variety of settings, serving diverse populations across the lifespan.
Elon University Department of Physician Assistant Education PA Program
The Physician Assistant (PA) program at Elon University is dedicated to preparing students for a career as a PA.
We train our students to become compassionate, competent and caring medical professionals who will provide quality medical care to patients in a wide variety of settings.
Our students are chosen for their commitment to serving others, their academic abilities, their interpersonal skills and their potential for success in the field of medicine.
The faculty provide a student-centered learning experience while supporting each individual’s personal goals. Through a program that combines classroom instruction with clinical experiences, we offer an innovative curriculum that builds on the strengths of our liberal arts tradition and promotes critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and professionalism.
There are many good PA schools in North Carolina and you can find the list here.
The following is a list of the PA schools in North Carolina. Feel free to study this list and figure out which school would suit you best based on your own preferences:
- East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine, Greenville, NC – $6,150 per semester (in-state) + $14,960 per semester (out-of-state) tuition fees; 155 credit hours; no work experience required for admission; minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for non-science courses and 2.7 for science courses; 1 year of general chemistry with lab, 1 year of college algebra or statistics, one year of biology with lab, one semester each of human anatomy and human physiology with labs; GRE scores (minimum 140 on verbal section and 153 on quantitative reasoning section); 100 hours earned over two years as a health care provider prior to starting program (working in emergency department or intensive care unit beneficial); three references
- Wake Forest University’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Winston Salem, NC – $1,098 per credit hour tuition fee; 28 months duration; 25 clinical sites in North Carolina
Students must apply to the PA school
You will apply to PA programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, or ARC-PA. These programs range from 24 to 36 months in length and have varying prerequisites. Some require a Bachelor’s degree, while others do not. Each program requires at least some hands-on patient contact, which you can get through volunteering, employed experience as an EMT, scribe or medical assistant, or military service. They also typically require three letters of recommendation and a personal statement regarding your interest in the field. You may be asked to write about your strengths and weaknesses as well as your ability to cope with stress and other obstacles you’ve encountered during school or work. At last count there were 206 schools that offered PA programs across 51 jurisdictions within the United States (also including Puerto Rico).
PA schools are very competitive.
There are over 200 PA programs in the United States. Some PA schools are easier to get into than others, but all of them have a minimum GPA and GRE score they require of applicants. Like medical school, it is not uncommon for the most competitive programs to receive thousands of applications for a class size between 100-150 students. For this reason, it is recommended you apply to multiple schools.
PA school is a full-time job and requires you to dedicate yourself completely to your education. You will be spending much more time studying than actually practicing the profession itself. If you are not ready or willing to take on the responsibility of becoming a full-time student again, then PA school might not be right for you at this point in your life.
PA school is very expensive. Tuition varies from school to school and can be upwards of $150,000 for a 4-year program.
One thing that is important to note when you are considering PA school is how expensive it is. The cost of tuition can range between $100,000 and $200,000 for the duration of the program. Programs at public schools are usually a bit cheaper because of in state tuition, but still can cost upwards of $150,000. There are some programs that offer free tuition for their students if you fit certain requirements such as being from a specific area or having a specific GPA. These are few and far between though so most people have to pay their way through PA school which can be difficult if you don’t know what to do ahead of time.
PA programs can be full-time or part-time (evening and weekend) programs. Full-time is the most common format but part-time may be more attractive to people who have families or jobs.
As a general rule, PA programs involve approximately 2,000 hours of clinical rotations. One way to think of this is that it’s the equivalent of working forty 40-hour weeks per year. This time is spent in different clinical settings such as the emergency department, primary care clinics, surgical specialties and so forth. The actual length of the program can vary from two to four years depending on whether you attend part-time or full-time.
When you begin shopping for schools, you’ll notice that most are full-time programs. However, there are some part-time options available for students who want to keep their jobs or take care of other responsibilities like family commitments (including child care). It may also be more attractive to students who want to maintain a personal life because it usually means fewer courses in each semester and no classes on weekends.
The downside is that it takes longer because you will have less time overall dedicated to your education (1 year vs 2 years). There’s also more flexibility with regards to when you finish since most people finish at some point during their final clinical rotation but there may be times when someone needs an extra few months due to personal reasons or difficulty with a particular rotation (which could happen anywhere).
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A typical class size is 30-40 students, with some larger programs having over 100 students per class.
Class size is an important consideration when looking at PA schools. The typical class size is 30-40 students, with some larger programs having over 100 students per class. Smaller class sizes are preferred because they provide more opportunities for students to interact with their professors and their peers and they allow the program to focus attention on the needs of each student.
Student to faculty ratio is another statistic that prospective students should consider when looking at PA school programs. A lower student-to-faculty ratio means that there are fewer students for every faculty member and therefore indicates a higher amount of personal attention for each student.
Programs often require applicants to have at least a Bachelor’s degree, although this is not always the case. For example, some schools (notably Yale) do not require a Bachelor’s degree to enroll in their PA program.
Applicants are usually required to have a minimum number of hours of patient contact during their undergraduate experience. This could include paid or unpaid experience in a hospital, clinic and/or as an EMT or paramedic.
Wondering how you’ll ever get all those clinical hours? Think about your hobbies, what you want to do in your free time and what you want to learn more about. Often, much of our volunteer work can be relevant to healthcare and put on our resumes (for example, if you had a family member who was sick for a long time, maybe that would be some good experience). Look up local options or consider using an organization like Volunteermatch.org. Many hospitals also have volunteer programs which can provide opportunities to shadow and make connections with working medical professionals.
In order to create a strong application, it’s important to have good recommendations from people who are connected with the PA world or at least know of PAs. So make sure that when looking for volunteer positions that you ask questions! It’s also important not only to just show up and do your hours but interact with the team as well; don’t be afraid to ask questions about their job, being a PA student/PA etc. In this way you can learn more about the field while making connections at the same time!
Learn about the requirements for applying to your desired physician assistant program(s).
- Find out the requirements for your desired physician assistant program(s). Since each school has different requirements, it’s important to find out what they are and make sure you meet them when applying.
- If you don’t meet the minimum patient care hour requirement, consider getting some more hours through volunteering at a local hospital or as an EMT (emergency medical technician).
- If you need to get a Bachelor’s degree, make sure that you are taking the right courses. This can be a little tricky! For example, business majors will not have any of the prerequisite science courses required for PA school. It’s best to check with an academic advisor who specializes in planning out pre-health degrees.
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