Physician Assistant Program

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When will the USF PA program be accredited?
    Please view the PA Program timeline. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the provisional accreditation visit will be during the month of June in 2014. The Commission on Accreditation will meet in September of 2014 and we will get the results and notification of provisional accreditation as soon as the results are verified and posted, usually taking 3 to 5 weeks after the Commission meets.
  • What is provisional accreditation?
    Provisional accreditation is the initial accreditation for all Physician Assistant programs. It allows programs that have not yet graduated a class of students to accept their first cohort of students. When the first cohort is near graduation, the Commission will return to visit our program again in order to decide whether we will get the final step in accreditation, continuing accreditation. This will be granted for multiple years and will be ongoing after the provisional period.
  • When will the USF PA Program start accepting applications?
    The USF PA program will begin accepting applications through CASPA near the end of 2014, after we receive notice that we have provisional accreditation. This will tentatively be in or around October 2014.
  • When will the USF PA Program’s first class begin?
    The first cohort will begin April 29, 2015. The first series of clinical rotations, supervised clinical experiences, will begin one year later in the summer of 2015.
  • How many applications does the Physician Assistant Program receive each year?
    The USF PA program has not gotten its first batch of applicants, but the PA schools in Florida receive between 7 and 15 applicants per available seat. Therefore it is a very competitive acceptance process.
  • How many applicants are accepted into an entering class?
    The first class will have 24 students.
  • Would it be beneficial to shadow a PA before applying to the Physician Assistant Program?
    Applicants with minimal exposure to physician assistants should arrange with one or more PAs to “shadow” them on a regular basis, especially in a primary care setting (family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics). The Florida Academy of Physician Assistants (FAPA) is in the process of revamping their website and plan to update their shadowing list. One good place to start is with you own health care provider. Interest the Physician Assistant profession often starts with exposure to a PA in the process of taking care of your own health. Shadowing experiences should be listed as “Related Health Care Experience” on the CASPA application.
  • What kind of patient care experience should I seek?
    Direct or “hands-on” patient care is the most beneficial, especially in the company of a Physician Assistant. However, related experiences such as laboratory technician, radiology technician, scribe, nursing home volunteer, patient transport, health administrative aide, all are helpful. Keep a log of your experiences so that you will be able to easily transfer them to the CASPA application. Track your job title, supervisor, institution or practice, and whether it was a compensated or volunteer position. The number of hours and the time span are also important data bits for you experience log. There is no minimum number of shadowing hours or patient care experience, but those applicants with more experience will be more prepared to compete in the admissions process. If you are already a licensed health professional, your work will constitute patient care experience. Enrolling and completing a short professional program like the emergency medical technology or medical assisting programs can be a pathway to direct patient care experience.
  • What degree will the program offer?
    The degree will be a Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).
  • Must I have a Bachelor's degree to enter the program?
    Yes, and along with the Bachelor's degree, all the prerequisites are strongly suggested.
  • Is there any standardized testing required for admissions?
    Yes, applicants must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) within 3 years of applying to the program.
  • Is there financial aid available?
    Financial Aid, in the form of loans and scholarships, is available to students with demonstrated need. Generally, Physician Assistant students of the USF Morsani College of Medicine are not permitted to work during their enrollment, therefore employment is not part of any student's financial aid package.

    The loans and scholarships available to Physician Assistant students are almost exclusively federal funds therefore subject to rather strict federal guidelines with regard to qualifications. With few exceptions, financial aid programs are awarded based on financial need and intended to provide payment of tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board and personal expenses. The cost of attendance for each year of medical school varies because the length of each year of medical school differs.

    For more information please visit the Financial Aid web page.
  • I already have a baccalaureate degree. Do I still have to complete all the prerequisite courses?
    All prerequisite courses are strongly suggested. Advanced standing is not given for previous course work or life experience.