Frequently Asked Questions
What types of duties do physician assistants perform?
Physician assistants are trained to perform medical histories and physical exams, order and interpret diagnostic tests, formulate diagnoses and management plans, write prescriptions, counsel patients and assist in surgery.
How did the profession begin?
In the mid-1960s, physicians and educators recognized there was a shortage of primary care physicians. Dr. Eugene Stead of the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina selected Navy corpsmen who had received considerable medical training during their military service and in Vietnam but who had no comparable civilian employment. In 1965 he put together the first physician assistant class and based the curriculum of the PA program in part on his knowledge of the fast-track training of doctors during World War II.
What areas of medicine can physician assistants work in?
Physician assistants (PAs) are found in all areas of medicine. They practice in family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, orthopedics, psychiatry as well as many other areas. Many PAs work in settings such as education, government, administration and research.
If I want to change areas of practice, do I have to go through additional training?
Because physician assistants receive a broad education in medicine and can perform duties assigned to them under the scope of the physician supervising, PAs can change specialties without further training.
What is the average salary for physician assistants?
According to the 2009 AAPA Physician Assistant Census Survey, the mean total income from a primary employer for clinically practicing PAs working full time (32 or more hours per week) is $93,105. The mean for new graduate PAs who have been practicing less than 1 year is $78,405. Income varies by specialty, practice setting, geographical location, and years of experience.
What does the future look like for physician assistants?
Our future is bright! According to The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2008, physician assistants held approximately 74,800 jobs. BLS projects that the number of PA jobs will increase by 39% between the years 2008 and 2018. Studies and reports from CNN, Money Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal all indicate a continuing rise in the demand for Physician Assistants.
How do I submit my application to Pace University for the PA program?
All applications must go through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants i.e. CASPA https://portal.caspaonline.org/. Applications sent directly to the college will not be accepted.
- Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution;
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale;
- Minimum cumulative science GPA of 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale;
- A minimum of 200 hours of direct, high quality, hands-on patient care;
- One page personal statement describing why you wish to become a physician assistant (CASPA Narrative);
- Three references from professionals (one of which must be from a health professional); and
- Completion of all prerequisite courses at the time of CASPA e-submission;
- No more than one grade that is less than a "B-" in a required prerequisite course
GPA’s are calculated utilizing all college level courses completed by the applicant.
English is not my first language, what should I do?
If you graduated from high school in a country where English is not the official language AND English is not your first language, you must submit scores from the “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL) OR the “International English Language Testing System” (IELTS) that are no more than two years old. In general, a TOEFL score of 570 (paper-based version) or 230 (computer-based version), 88/89 (internet-based version) or an IELTS score of 6.0 is sufficient to demonstrate the requisite proficiency in English for admission directly into Pace University’s academic programs.
What prerequisites do I need to enter the program?
The minimum math and science prerequisites for the Physician Assistant Program are as follows:
Mathematics (Pre-calculus or Statistics) (3 credits)
General Biology + Laboratory (8 credits)
General Chemistry + Laboratory (8 credits)
Microbiology (3 credits)
Organic Chemistry + Laboratory OR Biochemistry + Laboratory (4 credits)
Human Anatomy + Laboratory (4 credits)
Human Physiology (3 credits)
OR Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II with Laboratory (7 credit minimum)
I have 1 or 2 perquisites that would be completed in the fall semester after the deadline, can I still apply?
No, all perquisites must be completed and the grade reflected on your transcript at the time of submission, otherwise your application would be flagged as “does not meet minimum requirements”.
Would I be able to continue working, while I am in school?
It is strongly discouraged. This is an intense, full time program. You should be prepared to be on campus all day Monday through Friday if you are accepted.
Are any international clerkship experiences available?
As one of the free electives, an international clerkship is available and is coordinated through Child Family Health International (CFHI). Students are responsible for the extra costs incurred by electing to participate in an international rotation. Information addressing travel, housing and other expenses can be located on the CFHI website.
Am I guaranteed an interview if I meet the minimum requirements?
No, you are not guaranteed an interview if you meet the minimum requirements. Your chance of being invited to interview increases depending on how competitive your application is in comparison to the applicant pool that year.
Where should I send an official, updated transcript?
Transcripts should go to Graduate Admission, 1 Pace Plaza, New York, NY 10038. Please only send updated transcripts if they are requested by the University. If you secure an interview, please bring any updated transcripts with you to the interview. Updated transcripts are not added to your application and a new GPA/SGPA will not be calculated.
I am planning on taking prerequisite courses next semester/or currently taking prerequisites, am I still allowed to apply even though they are not completed/started?
No, all prerequisite courses must be completed prior to the e-submission of the CASPA application.
I have less than 200 hours of Health Care Experience, I would acquire more by the time I am invited to interview, should I still apply?
No, your application will be flagged as “does not meet minimum requirements” since all requirements including health care experience, have to be completed before the application is submitted.
I only have shadowing experience, does that count towards the 200 required hours of Health Care Experience?
Shadowing a Physician Assistant is recommended and strongly encouraged, so that you may have an understanding of the role of a PA. However, it is not sufficient when it comes to Health Care Experience. It is best that you acquire direct hands on patient care experience.
What is considered “direct hands on patient care experience”?
Direct hands on patient care experience is considered, a job, internship or volunteering position, that includes but is not limited to any combination of the following: working directly with patients, assessing patients medically or psychologically, use of professional judgment to
Examples include: EMT/paramedic, patient care assistant, medical assistant, phlebotomist, home health aide, ER scribe.
If I meet all admission criteria, does that guarantee a seat in the PA Program?
Seats in the PA Program are limited. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee a seat in the PA Program. The Physician Assistant Program Admissions Committee will admit candidates who meet the admission requirements, are granted an interview, and present the best overall profile evidenced in these areas.
I have submitted my application to CASPA, and I would like the status, who can I contact?
To check your application status you may log into your application and check your status on the program status page. For transcript updates you may log into your application and check the status, or call 617-612-2080.
After I have received the invite to interview how long do I have to pick a date?
Seats fill up quickly. It is recommended that you select a date immediately, keep in mind dates cannot be changed once selected.
I am on the waitlist. Is there anything else I can do to increase my chances of being offered a seat?
If you are on the waitlist, there is nothing else you can do to increase your chances of being offered a seat. You will be removed from the wait list either by your request or if a seat becomes available according to your rank, once the waitlist is finalized after all interviews have been conducted.
When will I know if I will be removed from the waitlist or not?
There is no set time as to if or when you will be removed from the waitlist. It is dependent on the number of seats that become available prior to the start of the program in July and where you are ranked on the list.
If accepted into the program, can I defer?
Pace University-Lenox Hill Hospital Department of Physician Assistant Studies will no longer allow accepted students to defer their admission seat. This will go into effect for those who are accepted for the graduating class of 2018 and beyond. For further information please contact the Admission Coordinator at 212-618-6052.
What is the cost of the program?
For tuition and other costs please click here.
Is the PA Program accredited?
The Pace University-Lenox Hill Hospital Physician Assistant Program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) through September 2013. Our re-accreditation will be in June 2013. The program is a member of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA). The Program is registered by the New York State Department of Education.
What degrees/certifications are awarded upon completion of the program?
What degrees/certifications are awarded upon completion of the program?
Students who complete all requirements of the program will receive a master of science in physician assistant studies (MSPAS) and a certificate of completion from Lenox Hill Hospital.
What exams need to be taken?
Graduates are eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). Successful completion of this exam awards graduates a Physician Assistant Certification. This certification is required for employment on a national level.
What else needs to be done before I start working?
In addition to obtaining certification, students must register as a physician assistant on the state level. Each state has specific requirements for physician assistants and prospective candidates must fill out an application. PAs working in New York State need to complete an application through the New York State Department of Education. For more information, you can visit their website at http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/med/rpa.htm.
How can I get a job?
Although the PA Program does not maintain a formal job placement service, the Program receives requests from prospective employers throughout the year and happily passes the information to our graduates. In addition, students make contacts during the clinical clerkships, which assist in their job search.
How do I maintain my license and certification?
Physician Assistants must log 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years and take the recertification exam every ten years in order to maintain their certification and licensure.