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PA School Rankings: The Best PA Schools in America

PA School Rankings: The Best PA Schools in America

Securing a spot in a physician assistant (PA) program is a demanding endeavor. As highlighted by the Physician Assistant Education Association, the overall PA Acceptance Rate stands at a competitive 20%. This competitive landscape underscores the importance of proactive preparation and strategic planning.

As a Pre-PA student delving into the world of PA graduate programs, school rankings serve as a valuable starting point. These rankings provide insights into the academic rigor, reputation, and overall quality of PA programs, helping you identify institutions that align with your overall goals.

This article will guide you through the top-ranking PA schools, offering a glimpse into their unique strengths and contributions to physician assistant education.

What Makes a School the Top Ranking?

Choosing the right graduate school is very personal. While official rankings provide valuable insights, your ideal PA program extends beyond these metrics to encompass factors that resonate with your individual goals. Consider the importance of location, program structure, and opportunities that align with your career aspirations.

Factors Considered in PA School Rankings

Organizations like US News and World Reports consider various factors when ranking PA schools, including:

  • Accreditation: Ensures the program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: A lower student-to-faculty ratio indicates more personalized attention and mentorship.
  • Credentials of faculty: Experienced and highly qualified faculty contribute to a richer learning environment.
  • Pass rates: High pass rates on national licensing exams reflect the program’s effectiveness in preparing students for success.

When looking for the best physician assistant programs, a PA school rankings list can serve as a practical starting point. Reviewing the top-ranking list allows you to identify highly ranked programs and then explore which ones align with your specific preferences and aspirations.

Additional Considerations for Your PA School Journey

While rankings provide a starting point, it’s essential to consider additional factors that impact your PA school experience:

  • Tuition: Evaluate the affordability of the program and explore financial aid options.
  • Prerequisites: Ensure you meet the program’s specific prerequisite coursework requirements.
  • Deadlines: Stay organized and meet application deadlines to avoid missing out on opportunities.
  • Testing requirements: Prepare for and take any required standardized tests, such as the GRE, MCAT, or PA-CAT.
  • Clinical hours necessary for admission: Gain hands-on clinical experience to strengthen your application.
  • Acceptance rates: Understand the program’s competitiveness and tailor your application accordingly.

Proactive Preparation for PA School Admissions:

Alongside understanding these factors, it’s equally important to know  How to Get into PA School. Familiarize yourself with the specific admission requirements, such as patient care hours, and strategize how to fulfill them effectively. By proactively addressing admission requirements, you can ensure a successful application process and increase your likelihood of securing a spot in your desired PA school.

Best PA Schools

Many organizations rank PA schools, such as US News. Compared side by side, the list may be slightly different, but some schools show up on all of them. Those are the top-ranking PA schools.

Duke University, Durham, NC

Consistently topping the charts as a premier PA school, Duke University in Durham, NC, has maintained its esteemed position for over two decades. Notably, Duke was a pioneer in offering PA training at the graduate level, welcoming its inaugural class back in 1965, a time when the role of physician assistants was still emerging.

Today, Duke boasts one of the most expansive programs, with an intake of approximately 80 students annually and an impressive 98% graduation rate. Their commitment to excellence is further reflected in a peer assessment score of 4.4, as per US News.

Key Admission Insights:

  • GPA Range: 3.52-3.81
  • GRE: Mandatory
  • Clinical Experience: 3,230-7,433 hours
  • Acceptance Rate: A competitive 2.04%

Baylor College of Medicine, Huston, TX

Claiming a prestigious second spot on numerous rankings, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, offers its PA students the unparalleled experience of training at the world-renowned Texas Medical Center. The program emphasizes interdisciplinary learning and provides a diverse range of clinical environments.

Each year, Baylor opens its doors to 40 aspiring students, boasting a graduation rate that fluctuates between an impressive 92% and 97.5%. Their dedication to fostering top-tier professionals is highlighted by a peer assessment score of 4.2, as indicated by US News.

Key Admission Insights:

  • Average GPA: 3.2
  • GRE: Not required
  • Clinical Experience: Recommended, but not a strict prerequisite
  • Acceptance Rate: 3%

University of Iowa, Iowa City 

Earning a commendable tie for the second spot on the US News top-ranking schools, the University of Iowa in Iowa City stands out for its graduates’ exemplary performance. They consistently achieve impressive scores on the National Certifying Examination, with a first-time pass rate surpassing the national average.

The PA program at the University of Iowa seamlessly integrates with its medical school, offering training at one of the country’s most prominent public university teaching hospitals. With a cohort of around 75 students, the program welcomes 25 new faces each year. Their commitment to quality education is reflected in a peer assessment score of 4.2 by US News.

Key Admission Insights:

  • Average GPA: 3.79
  • Testing: GRE or MCAT mandatory
  • Clinical Experience: 4,388 hours
  • Acceptance Rate: A selective 4%

Emory University, Atlanta, GA 

Emory University in Atlanta, GA, is no stranger to recognition. Consistently gracing the top tiers of PA program rankings, Emory has maintained its position in the top five since US News and World Report initiated their list.

With an overwhelming interest each year, Emory sees nearly 2,000 eager applicants vying for a spot in their esteemed PA program. However, in 2023, only 54 students were granted the opportunity to join. Their dedication to fostering excellence is evident in a peer assessment score of 4.1 by US News.

Key Admission Insights:

  • Average GPA: 3.63
  • GRE: Mandatory
  • Clinical Experience: 4,818 hours
  • Acceptance Rate: A competitive 2.86%

George Washington University

George Washington University in Washington, DC, rounds out the top five PA schools in the country. Since launching its PA program in 1986, GW has maintained a strong presence in the rankings. It’s worth noting that GW was the pioneering institution to introduce a combined degree, allowing PAs to delve into both public health and preventive medicine.

Out of the more than 2,000 PA students who apply to the school, GW accepts less than 100. US News gives them a peer assessment score of 4.0.

Key Admission Insights:

  • GPA: 3.58
  • GRE is not required
  • Clinical hours: 2.603

Oregon Health and Sciences University

Matching strides with the best, Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland claims its rightful place in the upper tiers of PA education. Their 26-month program, designed with precision and foresight, welcomes 42 students annually.  Graduates have a first-time pass rate of 93%. US News gives them a peer assessment score of 4.0.

Key Admission Insights:

  • GPA: The minimum is 3.0, but the average accepted is 3.54
  • GRE required
  • Clinical hours: 2,000

How to Become a Physician Assistant

If you’re charting the course for “How to Become a Physician Assistant” know that the groundwork is laid during your undergraduate years. As an undergraduate, it’s essential to enroll in the appropriate courses. Additionally, maintaining a specific GPA and undergoing clinical training are prerequisites for many PA programs. 

Even among the top five schools in the country, the admission requirements are diverse, as are their acceptance rates. It’s up to you to find the one that best suits your individual needs.

Every institution has its unique acceptance criteria. To enhance your likelihood of admission, it’s crucial to ensure you’ve met all these requirements beforehand. This is a primary reason many aspiring health professionals opt for a mentorship program.

Advanced eClinical Mentorship Advantage

Every institution has its unique acceptance criteria, which is why many aspiring health professionals opt for a mentorship program. Our dedicated mentors work closely with you to ensure you meet all the prerequisites for admittance. They provide invaluable Application Tips and even conduct mock interviews to prepare you. A PA mentor can also help you find the right medical certifications necessary to get your clinical training hours.

Many institutions mandate extensive patient care experience hours as a prerequisite for application. At Advanced eClinical Training, we offer cost-effective medical certifications, allowing Pre-PA Students to gain hands-on experience in hospitals and clinics. This not only allows them to accumulate the required hours but also provides an opportunity to earn simultaneously. 

For those charting their path to PA school, our Pre-PA Mentorship Program  offers a comprehensive and budget-friendly alternative to traditional PA School Admissions Consultants.  Enroll today and ensure that you’re well-prepared for the journey ahead.

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