Frequently Asked Questions about the PA program
Where can I learn more about PAs?
There are a number of organizations that can provide more information about the PA profession and PA education.
- The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) is the national professional society for PAs, representing all PAs in the nation, including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and the uniformed services. Their website includes detailed information on the PA profession, becoming a PA, legislative issues and advancements for the PA profession.
- The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is the certifying organization for PAs in the nation. Their website includes detailed information on becoming certified and maintaining certification as a PA and annual statistical profiles of certified PAs by state and specialty.
- The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) is the national organization representing PA educational programs in the nation. Their website includes resources for PA faculty, students, and prospective students (including information about CASPA and a PA program directory), and research, (including program, curriculum, and student surveys and reports).
- The PA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the AAPA, is a national nonprofit organization that promotes better health and wellness by providing PAs and PA students with philanthropic opportunities and resources.
- The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) is the accrediting agency for all PA programs in the nation. Their website includes information on standards of accreditation and accreditation status for U.S. programs.
What is the job outlook for PAs?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that the PA profession will experience a 30 percent growth from 2014 to 2024, making it one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the country. This growth is attributed to a projected increase in specialty physicians and the aging “baby boomer” population that will need care for chronic illnesses.
Forbes: With a rapidly aging population and tens of millions of people newly covered by Obamacare, America faces a looming doctor shortage and burgeoning opportunities for physician assistants, one of the fastest-growing professions in the country.
What degree will I receive at the end of the program?
At the completion of the Monmouth PA program, students are awarded a Master of Science (MS) degree.
How long is the Monmouth University Physician Assistant program?
The Monmouth University PA program is 28 months in length but is completed over 3 years. The program begins in early September and one class of 30 students is admitted each year.
The didactic phase is 12 months in length, consisting of classroom and laboratory instruction and some clinical experiences. Students have the summer semester off between the first and second year of didactic training. We believe this time allows students the opportunity to relax from the high-intensity learning environment, which may enhance future learning opportunities and success in the program, and afford the potential for remediation, if needed.
The clinical phase consists of 16 months of supervised clinical practice experiences (i.e., SCPEs; clinical clerkships/rotations), where students are assigned to preceptors at various inpatient (e.g., hospitals) and outpatient (e.g., clinic) facilities, and an additional few weeks of summative evaluations and board preparation. During the clinical phase of training, students return to campus between clerkships to complete end-of-clerkship evaluations and additional training.
Is there a part-time track in the program?
No, all students must matriculate on a full-time basis.
How many students are accepted each year?
Classes will have a maximum of 30 students.
Where are the classes held?
Classes for Monmouth University’s PA program are held at the University Graduate Center, approximately two miles from the main campus. Here we have two classrooms, two large clinical skills laboratories, and library space dedicated to the program. Students have the opportunity to stay within the facility and use laboratory space for additional practice time without worrying about other students needing to use the space. Or they can study in the library where textbooks are available for their use.
What type of degree do I need to get into the program?
Qualified applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning. The baccalaureate degree can be in any field of study, as long as you have successfully completed the prerequisite courses.
Can I substitute the MCAT exam for the GRE admissions requirement?
No, all applicants must take the GRE.
What type of direct patient experiences is required for admission?
The program requires that all applicants have a minimum of 200 hours of paid or unpaid (i.e., volunteer) direct patient care experience by the time of application (up to 20 shadowing hours with a PA can be included). The direct patient care hours need to involve face-to-face clinical care of patients and, as such, can be fulfilled by a multitude of experiences. Examples of acceptable activities include: AT, EMT/Paramedic, CNA, LPN, MA, medical scribe, OTA, PTA, phlebotomist. Examples of activities that would not be acceptable include: medical coder/biller or clerical worker.
Can I substitute different courses for the prerequisite courses noted in the admission requirements?
No, all prerequisites must be completed as noted in the admission requirements. If you have a question regarding prerequisites, please contact Laurie Kuhn, Associate Director of Graduate Admission.
Are on-line courses acceptable to fulfill the admission prerequisites?
Online courses will be considered for acceptance in fulfilling admission requirements.
Can I use advanced placement (AP) course credits for the prerequisite courses?
No. Advanced Placement (AP) or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credit for any prerequisite courses is not accepted
Do I need to complete all prerequisites prior to submitting my application?
Candidates may apply if they have not completed all prerequisite courses. However, if an applicant is missing two or more requirements, their application will be placed on hold. In addition, applicants with missing prerequisites must state how they plan to complete the remaining requirements.
All requirements must be completed by June 30 prior to matriculation into the program. If the candidate is offered a seat in the program but fails to complete all admission requirements by June 30, the offer of admission will be withdrawn.
What makes an applicant more competitive?
The most competitive applicants will not only meet but exceed our admission requirements and have one or more of the following characteristics:
- Have no pending prerequisite coursework
- Have cumulative science and cumulative prerequisite GPAs 3.3 or above
- Received quantitative, qualitative, and verbal GRE score percentiles at or above 50th percentile
- Exceed the minimum number of direct patient care hours.
- Have three excellent letters of reference from appropriate sources highlighting adaptability, intellectual ability, reaction to criticism, interpersonal relations, reliability, and team skills.
I didn’t get offered an interview, interviewed but was denied admission, or interviewed but was wait-listed. How can I improve my application and interview?
- Competition for admission to PA programs is extremely competitive. Here at Monmouth University, we routinely receive hundreds of CASPA applications per admissions cycle. Of those, we may select 200 or more to interview for one of 30 seats in each cohort.
- We base our admissions decisions on multiple characteristics and qualities, including the CAPSA application (e.g., undergraduate cumulative GPA, prerequisite GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, patient care experience) and the interview.
- Sometimes applicants do not meet our minimum admission requirements or are relatively weak in regards to their CASPA application (e.g., due to low GPAs, low GRE scores).
- Many times we have applicants who performed equally well in their interviews but some were more competitive on their CASPA applications.
- For the CASPA applications, often applicants are relatively equally competitive with their letters of recommendation and direct patient care experience but might be more competitive based on higher GPAs and GREs scores relative to other applicants.
- Many times we have applicants who performed equally well on their CASPA application but some were more competitive in their interviews.
- For interviews, applicants may be seen as more competitive based on interpersonal skills, knowledge of healthcare professions, and, in particular, the PA profession, and clear ability to meet the challenges of PA education.
- Overall, we want to make sure applicants are not only a good fit for the program, but that applicants, based on their interview and CASPA application, will be most academically successful in their PA studies. Unfortunately, many times candidates are just not as competitive as other candidates interviewing in the same cycle.
Does the program award advanced placement?
The program does not award credit for either any courses taken outside the program or any experiential work completed prior to admission. Thus, no advanced standing is given to any student. All admitted students must complete the curriculum in its entirety.
Can I transfer into the program from another PA program?
The program does not accept transfer students.
What are the program’s PANCE results?
The most up-to-date PANCE results can be found on the Program Outcomes page.
I took classes at an international institution. Am I still eligible to apply?
Prospective students may be eligible to apply, but you first must have your transcripts reviewed by a transcript evaluation service, such as World Education Services (WES), to ensure that the courses you took are equivalent. The official WES evaluation report must be submitted directly to Monmouth University Graduate Admission.
As an international student, do I have any other requirements?
Prospective students whose native language is not English must submit official score results from TOEFL, in addition to taking the GRE.
If I have completed all the prerequisite courses and met the healthcare experience, GPA, and GRE requirements, does that mean I am automatically admitted to the program?
No, meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission into the program.
If I meet all the admission criteria, will I be granted an admission interview?
No, meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee that an interview will be granted.
What kind of student will be granted an interview?
We expect that admission to the program will be highly competitive and presume that successful candidates will possess credentials greater than the minimum standards. See above for what makes an applicant more competitive.
Can I work while I am enrolled as a student in the program?
The program does not have a policy that forbids students from working while enrolled in the program; however, the program strongly recommends students do not work while involved in courses or clerkships. Any employment the student does have must never interfere with class or clinical schedules and schedules will not be altered to accommodate a student’s work schedule. Employment within the PA program is not offered to matriculated students.
Where does Monmouth University’s PA program have clinical clerkship sites?
The program has agreements with sites in the following New Jersey counties: Monmouth, Middlesex, Ocean, Atlantic, and Essex, as well as in New York. We have contracts with hospitals and clinical facilities, thereby giving students an opportunity to have a wide range of experiences.
Do I have to find clinical sites to complete the clinical portion of the program?
No. The program develops and establishes all clinical sites/preceptors for all students and prohibits students from soliciting sites. In the specific situation where a student, based on relationships developed prior to matriculation, knows of a preceptor or healthcare facility that has previously expressed interest in becoming a clerkship site, the student can forward the information to the director of clinical education for consideration of further development as a supervised clinical practice experiences.
What is the accreditation status of the Monmouth University Physician Assistant program?
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Monmouth University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Monmouth University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.
Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2029. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.
The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-monmouth-university/.
What are the average GPAs and GRE scores of students admitted to the program?
The GPAs and GREs for each cohort admitted can be found on the Program Outcomes page. For the past two years, the average GPA of admitted students is 3.5.