Is it getting harder to get into PA school?

Let’s get one thing straight; PA school admission have never been easy.

Put this into perspective; if you had to train somebody to the near caliber of an MD in half the time, would you want to recruit the ‘average’ applicant or the ‘ uber dedicated, went beyond the call of duty’ applicant. Simply put, being 'above average' just is not good enough. As the PA field has progressed, so have its applicants. In the last article I had noted that the number of PA jobs will increase by 39% between 2012-2022 (USBLS) due to the economics of healthcare in America. That being said, to provide for the demand in the future, the supply HAS to increased today. And that is being achieved by opening more PA programs throughout the country.

PAEA. The number of PA schools inaugurated in the last decade has increased at a historical rate

PAEA. The number of PA schools inaugurated in the last decade has increased at a historical rate


  Well then, if there are more programs opening, doesn’t that mean it will be easy to get admitted? Interestingly enough, there’s a close gap between capacity and enrollment of programs.




      Throughout the years, capacity has increased steadily, however, notice how the enrollment line has correlated closely with the capacity line throughout. The most common reasons for programs being unable to be at capacity are that students who were admitted to the program dropped out before the 1st day or had family/personal reasons. So, it can be concluded that most of the programs are being filled to capacity initially, but seats become empty due to unforeseeable reasons. The total admission rate for the year has always been steady around 25%, no matter how many programs, which brings up an interesting point; if the average admission rate has remained the same regardless of the number of programs, has the quality of applicants changed?


The answer is YES.

This is the 2018 class profile of the program I attended.

  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.8

  • Average Science Undergraduate GPA: 3.7

  • Average Age: 23 (range 20 to 40)

  • Average combined patient care and shadowing hours: 2206


This is the 2014 class profile of the same program when I attended.

  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.65

  • Average Science Undergraduate GPA: 3.6

  • Average Age: 26 (range 20 to 49)

  • Average combined patient care and shadowing hours: 1500


       4 years has changed the profile fairly significantly. This trend remains the same throughout all programs in the country. Due to the demand, the popularity (ranked #1 profession in the country 2015 Glassdoor, #1 Master’s degree, 2014, Forbes), the application pool has gotten more competitive than ever. But, getting to the top 25% of the application pool is an achievable task. It certainly needs excellent GPA and ancillary qualifications, but it is possible.

        Whether or not one is supportive of the increasing number of PA schools, no one can deny that PA applicants are becoming stronger every year. I, for one, think this is tremendous progress for the profession as stronger applicants result in dedicated PA students, leading to well qualified medical providers who will only strengthen the future of this profession. The future looks promising. 


We are here to help you get into PA schools of your dreams. Not one PA school. Our goal is to get you into every single PA school you apply to. This is what we strive for. Going through the process made me realize that the perfect GPA alone will not get you admitted. Your resume, your essay, your interview WILL make or break your application. We are at a time where the risks are too high to gamble with admissions to PA school. Don’t take that risk alone. Let us help and guide you through the process.