Physician assistant acceptance rates in the US are highly competitive, even more so than medical school! Physician assistant (PA) schools are selective and have strict admission requirements, and the overall acceptance rate of these programs is only 31%. Premed students who plan on pursuing a career as a PA often look for physician assistant application help due to the amount of work and time involved to craft a successful application. An excellent PA application needs a killer overall application and competitive grades to stand out from the crowd. In this blog, we’ll look at the overall acceptance rates of PA schools in the US, a list of the programs and their admission requirements, and how to improve your PA application to increase your chances of getting in.
Please note: although we have made every effort to provide the most accurate information, admissions information changes frequently. Therefore, we encourage you to verify these details with the official university admissions office. You are responsible for your own results. BeMo does not endorse nor affiliate with any official universities, colleges, or test administrators and vice versa.
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Physician assistant acceptance rates in the US
Physician assistant acceptance rates in the US are actually lower than medical school acceptance rates, if you can believe it. US med school admission statistics show average medical school acceptance rates hover around 41%. Physician assistant (PA) acceptance rates sit at 31% on average.
This is due to a number of factors, including that PA programs are generally more competitive and PA admission requirements can be quite rigorous. PA school is also considered harder than medical school in some ways because it is a shorter program, classroom hours are longer and there are fewer electives and optional courses for PAs. For premed students weighing the options between PA vs MD, the admission requirements and acceptance rates might also be deciding factors. You should also consider that applying to PA school will involve multiple applications. Since most PA schools are so selective and have very limited seats open each admission year, it will increase your chances of success to apply to more than one program.
Average acceptance rate for PA schools in the US
PA schools in the US almost all exclusively accept or require the Graduate Record Examination as part of admission. Applicants will also need to complete their undergraduate degree and submit their transcripts as part of their application. Prerequisite courses in the sciences are a must, similar to medical school program admissions.
Of the 240 PA schools in the US, only 140 of these accept international students. For students wanting to know how to study in the US as an international student, keep in mind there may be additional admission requirements for any PA school you choose. An international student advisor can coach you on applying to PA school in the US, but you can also check if your chosen school is on the list of medical schools that accept international students. Some medical schools have separate PA colleges attached but have different admission requirements and application components.
Interested in a career as a PA? Watch this video!
How to improve your chances of getting into PA school
The best tip for prospective PA school applicants is to apply early! The application package is very comprehensive and highly competitive, and just to meet the minimum requirements of most schools requires many hours of preparation and experience. To have the time you need to pass exams, prepare for interviews, write your personal statement and earn the necessary work hours, it’s best to start now.
To build a strong PA school application, you’ll need to submit as competitive a candidacy as possible. Most top PA schools have minimum requirements for admission, so you’ll want to not just meet these requirements but exceed them to set yourself apart. Aside from maintaining a high GPA and acing the GRE test, plan to submit a killer PA personal statement, at least 3 glowing letters of recommendation and prepare well in advance to ace the PA school interview. It’s also an excellent idea to fill out a robust activities or extracurriculars section for your application, and include a physician assistant resume that details your work experience in health care.
Check out this infographic for an overview of PA school admission requirements
Below we’ll look at the key areas of your PA school application and tips for strengthening each one, to create a well-rounded and competitive candidacy.
Want some tips for writing a killer PA personal statement? Check out this infographic.
Getting into PA school takes a great deal of work and early preparation, and PA schools have intensive admission requirements and can be very selective. However, taking the time to create the strongest application and dedicate significant time to each part of your application will greatly improve your chances of success and reduce the chances you’ll need to reapply to PA school.
1. What is the average PA acceptance rate in the US?
The average acceptance rate or Physician Assistant programs in the US is around 31%.
2. How competitive is PA school in the US?
Physician Assistant schools in the US are generally considered very competitive and have a lower acceptance rate. The application is fairly rigorous and the admission requirements are relatively high, especially at select schools.
3. Do PA schools in the US accept international students?
Of the 240 physician assistant schools in the US, 140 of them accept international students. Double check with the school’s admission requirements for detailed information on international student applications.
4. Is PA school harder to get into than med school?
In general, yes. PA schools have lower rates of acceptance on average than medical schools and are considered more competitive in some ways.
5. What is a good GPA for PA school?
Most PA schools will not consider applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0, so they are quite selective. Aim to have a GPA over 3.3-3.5 to be considered a competitive applicant at most PA schools.
6. Why choose PA over MD?
Many pre-med students debate whether they should choose PA or MD. To decide, it’s best to evaluate both career paths carefully and shadow both doctors and physician assistants to get an idea of what the daily work is like before you commit to applying somewhere.
7. Is PA a good career choice?
Physician assistants report high levels of job satisfaction and in general lower rates of burnout than medical doctors. PAs are also a highly in demand job and pay relatively well. Overall, physician assistant is a good career choice for medical professionals.
8. How can I make my PA application stronger?
To strengthen your PA school application it’s best to apply early, exceed the minimum GPA and test score requirements, write a killer personal statement, ace the interview and apply with plenty of shadowing experience if possible.
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