PA Admissions

Admissions Information

The Physician Assistant (PA) Educational Program at Heritage considers all applicants for admission and financial aid without respect to age, gender, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, religion, handicap, or national origin. PA program policies are nondiscriminatory. Applicants to the program are considered on their intellectual ability, scholastic achievement, commitment, and suitability to succeed in the physician assistant program.

We encourage qualified applicants interested in pursuing a career as a physician assistant in primary care.

Our program does not require the GRE.

Admission Process Overview
After the initial assessment the Admissions Committee reviews the completed applicant files, then the selected applicants are invited to visit the campus for a formal personal interview. Following the interview, the Admissions Committee meets to carefully consider each candidate. When the final admission decisions are made, the chosen applicants are notified by phone.

Initial Assessment
Our admission review is as follows

  • Completion and content of application
  • Review of health care experience hours.
  • The number and strength of Letters of Reference
  • Academics including: GPA, Prerequisites, and Bachelor Degree

Applications are only accepted through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).

  • The earned baccalaureate degree, in any field, must be from a regionally  accredited college or university.
  • Each prerequisite course and lab must be completed with a grade of 3.0 (B) or higher.
  • Include a copy of DD-214, if actively serving or have served in the military.

Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA)

  • Overall cumulative GPA 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and Science GPA 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Both the overall and science GPA as calculated by CASPA must meet the minimum requirement at the time of application.
  • Pending coursework is not calculated into the minimum GPA.
  • All prerequisites, including baccalaureate degrees, must be completed and transcripts received by January 15th of the year of matriculation.

Prerequisite Courses:
Please note: “B- minus grades” in lecture or lab are not accepted for prerequisite courses.

  1. Two terms of progressive Human A&P I&II or Human Anatomy course + Physiology course (6 semester or 10 quarter credits) It is required to be completed within 5 years of application.
  2. Microbiology with lab – no substitutions (3 semester or 4 quarter credits)
  3. Two Human Science courses (6 semester or 10 quarter credits)
    Highly suggested: organic chemistry, general or cell biology, general or inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, or genetics
  4. One college level math course (3 semester or 5 quarter credits)
    Acceptable: Algebra, statistics, calculus, trigonometry, physics

Applicants with “In Progress” courses who are chosen for the next incoming class must submit a letter of good standing from the head of the department indicating a grade of 3.0 or higher.

Online courses will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Medical Experience Requirements
A minimum of 1,000 verified hours of health care experience, with direct hands-on patient contact is required at time of application. 500 of these hours is required to be completed within 5 years of application.

Applicants must recognize that many competitive candidates will have many more patient contact hours than the minimum. Providing a job description with the 1,000 hours, clearly detailing the one on one patient care and how it relates to clinical reasoning skills is helpful to determine the applicants qualifications. A Curriculum Vitae is required when submitting to CASPA.

Highly suggested examples of patient care experience:

  • Patient assessment, implementing treatment plans: patient intake, patient history, vital signs, patient information/education, patient care plans and diagnostic testing.
  • Ordering/performing labs: Administering medications, lab draw, perform EKG and other diagnostic modalities.
  • Preferred applicants will have direct patient care experience working in clinical settings that involve a range of patient responsibility and involve a high level of critical thinking.

Examples of preferred clinical experiences

  • EMT/paramedic (waiting time not included in hours)
  • military corpsman (in medically related field)
  • Registered Nurse
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Radiology technician
  • Laboratory technician
  • Mental health worker
  • Medical Assistant (certified; back office hours only)
  • Respiratory therapist
  • Dental hygienist
  • Medical scribe
  • Peace Corps (Acceptable volunteer in medically related services)

Other professions not listed above (e.g.. surgical technician, Certified Nurses Aide, etc.) will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are dependent upon the quality of patient interaction.

Not acceptable health care experience

  • Health care student
  • Shadowing and/or observing PA or physician
  • Medical secretary
  • Ward clerks
  • CPR or ACLS instructors
  • Health care educator/advocate
  • Physical therapy aide
  • Home health aide
  • Nursing home CNA
  • Patient transporters
  • Security officer
  • Veterinary technician
  • Researcher/research assistant (non-medical or not directly clinically related).

Letters of Reference:
All references should be from a person who has known the applicant for a significant length of time (6 months or more). We highly recommend shadowing a PA-C to understand the working knowledge of the profession.

  1. Physician (MD/DO)
  2. Physician Assistant–Certified (PA-C), highly encouraged
  3. Immediate Supervisor

There may be any of the following combination of three letters of reference: MD/DO, PA and Supervisor; two MD/DO’s, and a Supervisor; or two PA’s and a Supervisor.

Not accepted: Letters from academic professors, personal primary care provider, or relative.

Second Assessment
The Admissions Committee reviews the completed applicant files. No interview is involved at this step of the assessment. We take into consideration the following major criteria for our program:

  • Academic performance;
  • Commitment to primary care;
  • Dedication to practice medicine in a rural or underserved area, as demonstrated by past work or volunteer positions;
  • Personal characteristics, such as critical thinking skills, writing ability, and maturity level; and
  • The degree of difficulty of the baccalaureate program the applicant studied.

Final Assessment (Changed Due to COVID-19)
Typically the selected applicants are invited to visit the campus for a formal personal interview, however, due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the program has moved this process to an online interview process. The applicants are notified via email when to be available via an online conference program. The full group of applicants for the 2023 class will be interviewed in this manner so as not to disadvantage any group of applicants over another.

After the interview, the Admission Committee will deliberate, and the chosen applicants are notified via phone when final admission decision has been completed.

An acceptance fee is required from successful applicants. A non-refundable fee of $500 is payable after a student has been accepted to Physician Assistant Program at Heritage University.  Payment is credited toward tuition upon matriculation. This deposit is required immediately upon receipt of verbal notification and if not received by Heritage University within two weeks of the date of the verbal notification, it will be assumed the position in the class is relinquished and the next applicant on the waiting list will be notified of an available position.

PA Program does not usually defer admission, but in unusual circumstances, it may be considered. Requests submitted to the Admission Committee will be reviewed and a recommendation made to the Program Director.

All applicants must be able to meet all Admission and Technical standards, and Graduation Standards with or without reasonable accommodations.

Foreign Medical Graduate Applicants
All international applicants are expected to understand and meet all other eligibility requirements for admission to the PA Program at Heritage University.  Transcripts must be submitted for independent evaluation of equivalency by an acceptable credential evaluation agency. A course by course evaluation including the GPA is needed to meet our requirements: anatomy and physiology, microbiology, algebra or statistics, and two other science courses of your choice. Results should be less than 2 (two) years old at the time of application. All foreign graduate applicants must also demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

To clarify the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) requirements
If English is not your first language or you did not complete your undergraduate degree in the United States, even if you obtained your master’s degree here, the applicant must demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting scores from the TOEFL. Results should be less than 2 (two) years old at the time of application. Please note that achieving the minimal required TOEFL score does not guarantee selection.

Minimum acceptable TOEFL scores:

  • Internet-based test:  a score of 96, with at least a 24 in each section
  • Paper-based test:  a score of 542, with at least 54 on Section 1 (Listening Comprehension)

Note: Intentional misrepresentation or omission of information relative to scholastic records or test records will subject the student to dismissal. The University reserves the right to deny admission to any applicant for any reason it deems sufficient.

Suggested transcript evaluation service websites.

Student Transfers and Waivers
Heritage University does not grant advanced standing. The program does not accept transfers or credits from other physician assistant programs, or waive the requirements set forth in the admissions process.

Diversity Statement
Heritage University has a student body with substantial diversity, which creates an effective learning community where each cultural group is valued. To develop community and concern for the common good, Heritage University seeks to provide leadership in supporting cultural pluralism within our own and other communities. Cultural pluralism creates a climate of respect and appreciation by fostering “learning about us” in an interdependent and connected world. Heritage University acts to make its curriculum, staffing, teaching, and other collegiate activities reflect this learning.

Notice of Non-Discrimination
The objectives of the Heritage University Equal Opportunity Program are to eliminate discrimination and, in conformity with state and federal law, and in keeping with the University’s mission, to develop and maintain a work force and a student body which reflect the communities of the regions that the university serves. Applications for employment and student admission are especially solicited from groups under-represented in various levels of the work force and/or in the region’s higher education student bodies.

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Contact Us

PA Program
Maria Sanchez
Phone: (509) 865-0707