Easiest PA Schools to Get Into (2021)
Is PA School Acceptance Difficult?
Getting into PA school is not an easy feat. According to data from CASPA during the 2016-2017 application cycle, 26,768 students applied to PA schools. Unfortunately, the percentage of applicants accepted is not very high. Interestingly, the acceptance rate to get into PA school is lower than the acceptance rate for medical school. Only 31% of applicants are accepted into their chosen PA school or any PA school for that matter. On the other hand, 41% of applicants get accepted into medical school. This left the other 69% to be hopeful about the reapplication process they would have to endure again the next year. Either that or you could try to get a year’s worth of work experience to boost the value of your application.
Although it is difficult to get into PA school, it’s not impossible. There are thousands of other people also trying to apply just like you are. When it comes to applying for any school, there are certain requirements your application must meet for the school to even give you a second look. Additionally, there are certain PA schools out there that are easier to get into than others.
You should take a look at the usual necessary requirements and compare those to your own application. If all the schools you are applying to have academic or previous work requirements that are out of your league, don’t feel discouraged. You can still apply for your dream school while also applying to schools where you exceed the necessary requirements for admittance.
Necessary Requirements: The Usual
Most students who apply to PA school have a bachelor’s degree and some level of health care experience. If you’ve worked in a healthcare-related field for three years, you’re right at the average. There is no golden number for how much experience you need to get into PA school, but most schools will tell you their usual average.
Similarly, there is no exact minimum GPA you need to get into PA school because this value varies depending on the institution. Most schools have a minimum required GPA of 2.8 to 3.2. This means some schools can go as high as around 3.2 for their minimum, but it will be hard for you to find a school that goes lower than 2.8.
Increase Your Likelihood of Being Accepted
Applying to any school can be an extremely difficult and stressful process. Make it easier by taking preemptive measures to give yourself the best chance of being accepted into at least one PA school.
Pay close attention to your application. Every little detail matters so don’t allow someone to overlook the amazing experience you could provide their school just because you have grammatical and spelling errors in your application.
You should always do your best to be part of the early applicant pool at your dream school. You may only be able to do this for one school given some schools have a binding early application process. This means that if you apply early and they accept you, you have to go to their school. If you already know what school you want to go to, this is the perfect option for you! You are able to get your application looked at ahead of thousands of people, so you have a better chance of being accepted.
Even if you send in an early application, you should still apply to various schools. You can apply to a couple of your dream schools that are slightly out of reach, but make sure you also include safe schools on your list just in case your favorite school doesn’t work out. Getting into one PA school is better than getting into none.
To narrow down your choices a little bit, below is a list of some great, safe schools that have lower requirements. There is nothing wrong with playing it safe when it comes to your future!
Our List of Easiest PA Schools to Get Into
(Schools are listed in alphabetical order.)
A.T. Still University, Central Coast
This program focuses on teaching its students the overall science of medicine in addition to the art of it as well. They focus on the whole person aspect of knowledge while following the osteopathic tradition of body-mind-spirit healthcare. The learning-centered aspect of this school allows students to develop their skills using in-person instructions from their faculty and staff.
This university also uses didactic clinical evolutions along with clinical procedures that last a year for every student. This also includes the combination of physical exam laboratories where standardized patient actors assist in helping the students receive the hands-on experience they need to be successful while at A.T. Still University and in the medical field. This school was ranked #46 on the US News list for “Best Physician Assistant Programs”.
The minimum requirements to attend this school are as follows, you must have shadowed an osteopathic physician, a letter of support from a physician, a letter of support from a supervisor, completed physics with one year of lab, completed general or inorganic chemistry with one year of lab, completed organic chemistry with one year of lab, completed general biology with one year of lab, and completed English with one year of lab. They also recommend taking other healthcare-related courses in addition to the ones listed.
Arkansas Colleges of Health Education
Their mission is to help students learn the ability to conduct transformative patient and family-centered care. They understand there is more to being successful in the healthcare field than just having medical knowledge. They embrace the cultural diversity that exists amongst their students as well as promoting the inclusion of all those who want to be a member of this college.
They teach their students how to effectively collaborate with the other members of the whole healthcare team to include other physician assistants and the physician themselves. The whole person aspect of a healthcare professional is important to them, so they ensure their students have the proper leadership skills to allow them to succeed in this field. This school has both the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants and state licensure from the Arkansas State Medical Board.
The minimum requirements to attend this school are as follows, you must have completed the required prerequisite courses, a minimum GPA and science GPA of 3.0 or higher, and completed the GRE.
Barry University Physician Assistant
This program places a large focus on life-long learning for its students. Through the use of advanced technology, they are able to promote collaborative health care by providing intense, clinical training experiences with various types of patient pools.
They want their students to experience the ideal collaborative work environment where all the health care physicians have a close working relationship. This is independent of department, hospital, or clinic location.
This school is particularly unique because it is a Catholic school, so it offers its students unique opportunities to challenge themselves spiritually as well as mentally. The students are given reflection techniques that help them perform better in the classroom. Additionally, a major achievement for this school is that more than 99% of all their matriculants have graduated.
The minimum requirements to attend this school are as follows, you must have a minimum GPA and science GPA of 3.0 or higher, a completed GRE, completed 1 course of Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry, completed 2 courses of Human Anatomy and Physiology, and completed 2 courses of General/Inorganic Chemistry.
Bethel University in Minnesota
At Bethel University, they focus on making sure their students develop the comprehensive skills they need to perform great medical practices. These skills will help them while they are learning at this university and also once they go out into the workforce. They want their students to also have core knowledge in the natural, social, behavioral, and medical sciences as well as the humanities subjects.
They pride themselves in their application of evidence-based medicine so their students are prepared to make the tough decisions that may arise while they are in the healthcare field. This program is a total of 27 months and allows students to take classes on campus throughout the day. Students also get to choose from a large variety of healthcare-related courses. They were ranked #108 on the US News list for “Best Physician Assistant Programs”. Another great aspect about this school is the fact that you don’t need a GRE to apply or be accepted.
The minimum requirements to attend this school are as follows, you must have at least 250 hours of healthcare experience, completed a B.S. degree, a minimum GPA of 3.25 and science GPA of 3.25, and completed all of their prerequisite courses. They will provide an interview to all of the applicants who completely satisfy all the prerequisite requirements.
This school has various religious practices that occur on campus including Catholic, Metropolitan Vincentian, and Global. They want to help their students reach academic excellence with everything they do at this university. Although this is true, they also want students to feel free to grow their religious values and the ethics that will make them well-rounded physician’s assistants.
The main focus of their program is to make sure they are able to reach even the poorest and aged patients with their top-quality medical care. Their program consists of people of different races from various socioeconomic backgrounds as well. This school was ranked #170 for National Universities. Their list of requirements is a bit on the longer side.
The minimum requirements to attend this school are as follows, you must have completed your Baccalaureate degree, a minimum GPA and science GPA of 3.0 or higher, completed organic chemistry with lab for 2 semesters, completed general biology with lab for 2 semesters, completed general chemistry with lab for 2 semesters, completed microbiology, completed six credits of behavioral sciences, completed human anatomy and physiology, completed English composition, completed calculus or some other form of higher-level math, and at least three letters of recommendation.
Loma Linda University
This university wants to educate its students, so they have the ability to provide great healthcare to their patients. They will need to be able to do this alongside physicians and other members of the professional healthcare team. Having knowledge of the medical field is just as important as their ability to collaborate with others. They are committed to making sure their students are developed as the whole person. These additional qualities are needed for the healthcare providers that serve in underprivileged communities. They encourage their students to share their talents globally as well as in the local communities.
This is a 24-month program that involves didactic and clinical phases for the students to take part in. Their selection process incorporates applicants from various different backgrounds to ensure there is a diversity of minds at their school and in the future workplace. They evaluate the applicants thoroughly based on their level of experience with patients and to what degree they had long-lasting patient interactions. This school was ranked #108 on the US News list for “Best Physician Assistant Programs”.
The minimum requirements to attend this school are as follows, you must have a baccalaureate degree, a minimum of 2,000 hours of hands-on care for patients, and a minimum GPA and science GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Marquette University Physician Assistant School
This University wants to prepare its students to take on a career in the allied healthcare field. Because of this, they offer specific courses that will help their students on this journey. They require their students to have a minimum of 200 hours of personal contact with patients or equivalent work experience in the healthcare field. This is to ensure they are coming to this university with their eyes wide open to the workforce they want to be a part of.
They complete various clinical rotations for their students to ensure they build upon the health care experience they already have before joining their university. Additionally, they provide opportunities for their students to attend science outreach events and conferences to increase their exposure.
They just recently opened their $18.5 million PA studies building to further help their students succeed. Also, this school was ranked #26 on the US News list for “Best Physician Assistant Programs”.
The minimum requirements to attend this school are as follows, you must have a minimum GPA and science GPA of 3.0 or higher, knowledge of the PA profession, a completed GRE if you are a senior or an undergraduate applicant, and a minimum of 200 hours of healthcare experience including patient contact.
Missouri State University PA School
This school is known for its ability to educate students on the required knowledge they need to join the medical field. They always strive to provide quality education to all of their students. You will receive this type of professional clinical experience at every stage of the program.
When you’re a student of this program, you’ll have the chance to take on various opportunities that will enhance your knowledge of the healthcare field. If you so choose, you can work with a licensed physician as an intern to receive their guidance. This could take place at a health clinic in the local community or at a medical facility. This school was ranked #93 on the US News list for “Best Physician Assistant Programs”.
Once you get through the initial screening process, you will be contacted to complete your personal statement. This means you are being intently looked at for acceptance, so don’t take this lightly.
The minimum requirements to attend this school are as follows, you must have at least 3 recommendation letters, a completed GRE, and a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
This university promotes its ability to provide its students with an extremely inclusive experience where they can learn about the healthcare industry while staying true to themselves. They promote the celebration of people’s differences and want to bring this diversity to the healthcare industry. Their students are encouraged to think in ways that could help them transform this field.
This institution has over 80 student organizations that are constantly encouraged to make a difference in the community. They want you to be a part of their growing community of students and graduates. This school was ranked #15 on the US News list for “Best Physician Assistant Programs”.
You must have completed biochemistry, human anatomy, introduction to psychology, and human physiology as prerequisite courses.
The minimum requirements to attend this school are as follows, you must have completed all the prerequisite courses with a grade of “C” or above within the last 10 years, completed your GRE, at least to letters of recommendation, a minimum GPA and science GPA of 2.75 or higher, and a personal statement.
This college focuses on giving its students a balanced combination of classroom knowledge with hands-on experience. Their faculty has a wide breadth of knowledge about various medical specialties and settings. They want to bestow this information onto their students, so they are adequately prepared to join the medical field after six years.
Their track seems longer than other PA schools because they incorporate the process of you receiving a bachelor’s degree into the overall journey. Within those six years, you will get a Bachelor of Science degree in health science and then you will complete your master’s-level physician assistant program to enter the professional phase of your training in January of your senior year. This college was ranked #26 in Regional Universities North.
The minimum requirements to attend this school are as follows, you must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher, at least a “C” in all required courses, at least 470 hours of experience with patient healthcare, and 30 hours of shadowing someone in the healthcare field. Although these are the minimums, they would prefer someone who exceeds the minimum GPA requirement and has at least 1000 hours of experience with direct patient care.
The George Washington University Physician Assistant School
This university offers a variety of classes that fall in line with the healthcare industry.
These classes include medical studies, psychology, biomedical technology, and nursing. It is located in Washington, D.C. This can be an attractive factor if you are in or around the District of Columbia area.
If you attend this school, you will receive the knowledge you need to be proficient in the healthcare industry. You will also learn how to give great patient care by practicing with the newest medical technology that is being used by physicians who are already in the workforce. The George Washington University PA School was ranked #5 on the U.S. News List for “Best Physician Assistant Programs”.
This school easily has one of the best PA programs in the United States, but they also have a quite extensive list of prerequisites you need to fulfill if you hope to be accepted into the school.
The minimum requirements to attend this school are as follows, you must have completed one semester of psychology, completed one semester in anatomy and physiology, completed one semester of statistics, completed two semesters of chemistry (for science majors), an official transcript and degree evaluation, a minimum GPA and science GPA of 3.0, a completed GRE that you passed in the last 5 years, at least 1000 hours of direct care with patients, and at least 2 recommendation letters.
University of La Verne
This university believes that all of its students should receive a quality education that is based on more than just their knowledge of the healthcare field. It is important for students to receive a valuable education that will make them great members of society inside and outside their work field.
The University of La Verne focuses on engaging its students in the local community as well as the community they have on campus. This is a 27-month long program that is committed to diversifying the healthcare field with brilliant minds who are ready to reshape the future of this industry. This school is ranked #111 on the U.S. News & World Report list for “Best Graduate Schools ranking for Public Affairs”
The minimum requirements to attend this school are as follows, you must have a minimum GPA and science GPA of 3.0 or higher, completed all prerequisite courses with a “C” letter grade or better, completed a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university or college, at least 3 letters of recommendation, and completed a personal statement.
University of New England Physician Assistant School
This school contains the only PA program in Maine and focuses on teaching its students about how to take care of patients in a variety of populations. UNE supports a two-year program that allows its students to get a lot of clinical experience as well as a well-rounded course schedule. This institution has professors from UNE’s Colleges of Health Professions, Arts and Sciences, and Osteopathic Medicine to give their students the preparation they need for the diversity of the medical field.
They offer a variety of courses. The course load includes health promotion, disease prevention, public health, geriatrics, and pharmacology. In the medical field, you are sometimes going to have to make tough decisions in a short amount of time. This program prepares you to make these hard decisions with confidence no matter the situation. This school was ranked #126 on the U.S. News list for “Best Physician Assistant Programs”.
The minimum requirements to attend this school are as follows, you must have at least 20 hours of shadowing someone in the healthcare industry, 500 hours of direct work with patient care, at least 3 recommendation letters, and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.
University of Utah
The first attracting factor about this school is that they have a very low minimum GPA compared to most other PA schools. This is also one of the PA schools located in the United States. They were first founded in the year 1971 and have been going strong ever since. They have also held their accreditation since the year 1971 as well.
They co-sponsored the Utah Medical Association which is the largest constituency association in Utah. They want to ensure their students are able to give the highest quality health care service to their future patients. This is especially important in underserved and rural communities. This school was ranked #4 on the U.S. News list for “Best Physician Assistant Programs”.
The minimum requirements to attend this school are as follows, you must have at least three letters of recommendation, at least 2000 hours of experience in a healthcare-related field, completed human anatomy and physiology courses, and a minimum GPA and science GPA of 2.7.