FAQ

Admissions & Financial Aid

Physician Assistant Studies Program

Post Graduation

General

Admissions and Financial Aid

Is the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) required for admittance to the Physician Assistant Studies program at the University of Saint Francis?

Yes, you must submit scores for the GRE. The Physician Assistant Studies program requires a minimum score of 4.0 on the Analytical Writing section and competitive scores on the Verbal and Quantitative sections. The GRE code for USF’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies is 1693.

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Are scholarships available for the Physician Assistant Studies program?

USF does not offer scholarships specifically for the Physician Assistant Studies program. However, several financial aid options are available. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

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Does USF accept transfer credit or allow advanced placement for the Physician Assistant Studies program?

No, the Physician Assistant Studies curriculum does not allow transfer credit or advanced placement. You must complete all USF curriculum requirements, regardless of your academic background.

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What are the most important characteristics for a Physician Assistant Studies candidate to possess?

The practice of medicine is a very demanding profession. For acceptance into USF’s Physician Assistant Studies program, you should have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA over 3.0. GRE scores, with analytical scores of 4.0 or higher, are required. You should have taken science courses with a pre-medical biology or chemistry curriculum, and earned mostly grades of “A” or better. After graduating from your undergraduate program, you should have worked in a position with direct patient care. In addition, you will need to demonstrate clinical skill not only in job performance, but also in documenting many post-graduate learning opportunities such as training classes in CPR, EKG, Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) or other clinical education classes.

You will also be required to submit references, personal statements and interviews to communicate your desire to practice medicine with a physician in a caring manner.

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Do I really need patient care experience?

Yes. While you may have achieved high academic standards with a college degree, the curriculum demands an application of skills. “Head knowledge” and the ability to score well on written tests does not always translate to clinical reasoning and patient skills. The practice of medicine requires much more than the accomplishment of academic success; you must have special ability to perform and exhibit clinical reasoning and skills. The purpose of the patient care experience is to demonstrate some aptitude in the area of clinical skill and a pattern of success in working with patients.

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How do I learn more about applying to USF’s Physician Assistant Studies program?

Call the Graduate School Office of Admissions at 260.399.8000 or 800.729.4732 for more information.

Physician Assistant Studies Program

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What is unique about the Physician Assistant Studies program at USF?

Although the standards of achievement among physician assistant programs are mostly universal, there are unique qualities that define USF’s program. Problem-based learning, small class size and one-on-one clinical rotations ensure a highly effective learning environment with a close personal touch.

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Do I need to attend full-time?

The Physician Assistant Studies program at USF is a full-time experience that requires you to maintain a full academic credit hour load and commit a substantial amount of time to the program.

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Can I work for USF or the Physician Assistant Studies program?

No, the Physician Assistant Studies program requires a substantial time commitment from you. For that reason, graduate assistantships are not available to you while you are enrolled in the program nor will you act as a primary instructor for any component of the curriculum.

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Can I work elsewhere while enrolled in the Physician Assistant Studies program?

The faculty highly recommends that you not work at all while enrolled in the program. The curriculum is very time consuming and leaves little time for outside work. We recommend that you devote any spare time to family or relaxation.

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What is the typical daily schedule throughout the Physician Assistant Studies program?

Unlike most college courses that follow a fairly rigid schedule of classes, your daily schedule throughout the Physician Assistant Studies program will vary, and be unusually flexible and highly unpredictable. On some days, no classes will be scheduled to allow you time to study independently or in a group. Other days, you may have classes for up to 12 hours. The faculty constructs schedules as needed on a week-to-week basis and daily schedules may change with little notice.

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Does the Physician Assistant Studies curriculum at USF use problem-based learning?

Yes, problem-based learning is a major component of the Physician Assistant Studies program at USF. Like many medical schools and a few physician assistant programs, we have found that problem-based learning enhances clinical reasoning skills and provides for content retention.

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How early in the program will I start working in patient care?

The Physician Assistant Studies program at USF emphasizes clinical skills, so it is important for you to begin working with patients very early in the program. During the first semester, you will visit one-on-one with hospital patients, conducting patient interviews so you can learn medical history skills. This experience continues and intensifies throughout the didactic year.

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Where are the clinical locations?

Most of the sites where you will complete your clinical rotations are in the Fort Wayne area. You will not be required to spend more than 90 minutes of normal driving time on the daily, round-trip commute to a clinical site. However, you should expect to be assigned to at least one rotation beyond this distance outside of Fort Wayne. During this rotation, housing will be provided by a clinical affiliate. You may request to complete a limited number of rotations at distant clinical sites. You will work with faculty to arrange these experiences. Please note that you are required to have housing within a 90-minute commute from campus throughout the clinical year.

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Can I complete a clinical rotation near my hometown?

Because of legal and academic obligations, it takes additional time and effort to arrange clinical rotations at sites that are not currently affiliated with USF. While these opportunities are limited, clinical rotations at such sites have been done by students in the past. Faculty are not obligated to accommodate these requests and you should not expect to complete more than two rotations outside of the Fort Wayne area.

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What computer hardware and software will I need?

The Physician Assistant Studies program relies heavily on computer and Internet resources. USF is a PC-based institution that uses Microsoft software and a wireless computer network. You will be expected to own a PC and have access to the Internet to complete your coursework. The standard, entry-level PC model with a wireless card will be sufficient to meet your needs throughout the program. If it is not possible for you to obtain a PC, computer facilities are provided on campus, but you should keep in mind that the availability of these facilities is limited. Currently, USF has an agreement with Microsoft, Inc., that makes all up-to-date operating software (Windows, Word, PowerPoint, Access, Excel, etc.) available through the Campus Shoppe at a minimal cost.

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Besides tuition, USF fees and living expenses, what other expense should I expect?

In the Physician Assistant Studies program, you will need medical equipment, books, immunization and other clearance for clinical rotations, including a drug screen and criminal background check. The table below shows required expenses, options and recommendations.

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Summary of Fees

In addition to the published tuition, semester and technology fees, the following table illustrates a summary of expected and optional fees. These are an estimate only and prices are subject to change.

Estimated Required Fees for the Physician Assistant Studies Program

(These fees are in addition to the typical USF tuition, semester and technology fees)

Name badge $20.00
Drug testing x2 $20.00
Annual background check $55.00
Annual TB testing x3 $50.00
Annual flu shot x2 $80.00
CPR $55.00
ACLS $175.00
Graduation pictures $45.00
Total: $500.00
Potential Additional Fees
Professional association membership (SAAAPA) $75.00
Professional local association membership (USF) $25.00
Didactic year PACKRAT retake $45.00
Clinical year PACKRAT retake $45.00
Lost records search fee $10.00
Hard copies of immunization or other lost records $15.00
Total: $215.00
Books and Equipment Cost
Semester Item Required Recommended or Optional
Summer I Medical equipment $850.00
Books $1,100.00 $300.00
Fall Typhon $80.00
Books $150.00
ClinicalKey $275.00
Spring Books $75.00 $80.00
Summer II Books $82.00
Fall II ClinicalKey $275.00
Total: $2,887.00 $380.00

These figures are as of January 2015.

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Post Graduation

Are job placement services available?

Most physician assistant positions are filled because of “insider information.” In other words, you will likely find out about jobs from physicians during your clinical rotations. In addition, several online sources list current physician assistant job openings and USF provides a job placement service that may be helpful as you seek a position.

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Does USF’s Physician Assistant Studies program have a high employment rate?

Yes, graduates of the Physician Assistant Studies program are employed across the country in areas such as hospital emergency departments, medical specialist groups, clinics and private practice offices. Nearly all of our program’s graduates are currently working as physician assistants. Those who are not currently practicing have chosen not to for personal reasons.

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What do I need to do after graduation to start practicing as a physician assistant?

Upon completion of the program and graduation in August, you will be eligible to apply for a temporary provisional license from the state to practice medicine with a physician. The Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) is a computerized test you can take at many locations nationwide with testing windows occurring in more than 50 weeks of the year. With a passing grade on the PANCE, you will be eligible to receive Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C) credentials from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). As a PA-C, you can apply to the state for a license to practice medicine with a physician.

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Can I move my license from one state to another?

All 50 states recognize the PA-C credential for licensure, but you will still need to apply according to each state’s laws. Although eligibility is universal, the state license you receive is specific to that state and cannot be transferred.

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Do I have to do anything to keep my PA-C?

Yes, you will have to complete a minimum of 100 hours of continuing medical education (CME) over a two-year period. CMEs must be documented by the NCCPA. In addition to earning CMEs, you will also have to pass a recertification exam every six years. If you do not complete your CME work or the recertification exam in a timely manner, the NCCPA will not renew your certification and you will lose your status as a PA-C, along with your license to practice.

General

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Does USF offer on-campus housing?

Dormitory housing is available if you choose to live on campus; however, USF does not offer on-campus apartment facilities for married students.

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