PA Program Frequently Asked Questions

Q. IS THE PA PROGRAM ACCREDITED?

A. Yes. The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Canisius College Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Canisius College  Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.  Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class, scheduled to begin in January 2021. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-canisius-college/

Q. WHEN DOES YOUR PROGRAM START?

A. The program begins classes for each new cohort in January of each year. The application process begins in April prior to the anticipated start date. WE DO NOT OFFER A FALL START FOR THIS PROGRAM. 

Q. HOW LONG IS THE PA PROGRAM?

A. Seven full-time semesters. Classes begin at the beginning of the spring semester each year (January). The first 3 semesters are spent in didactic education, with the last 4 semesters spent in clinical rotations. 

Q. HOW MANY STUDENTS ARE ACCEPTED?

A. The program will accept no more than 30 students per year. The program welcomes a new cohort in January of each year. 

Q. DO YOU ACCEPT OUT-OF-STATE RESIDENTS?

A. Yes.  Preference is not given to New York State residents. International students are also considered. Additional admissions information for international students can be found on the admissions tab of our webpage. 

Q. WHERE ARE YOUR CLINICAL ROTATION SITES?

A. All of our current clinical rotation sites are located within a 60-mile radius (approximately) from the Canisius College campus in the Western New York region. We have a number of very strong affiliations with highly respected hospitals, groups, and clinicians. In line with our program mission, students must perform at least one rotation in an underserved clinic. Students are not permitted to have clinical experiences outside of this radius/out of state at this time. 

**It is important to note that students in this program are not required or allowed to solicit their own clinical rotation sites. We are very detailed and serious about our affiliation process to ensure students will have a safe and adequate learning opportunity for each clinical experience. Students may be allowed to request or suggest a site, particularly for their chosen elective experiences, but placement is not guaranteed. 

Q. DO I NEED TO HOLD ANY CERTIFICATION OR QUALIFICATION IN ORDER TO BE ACCEPTED?

A. No, but healthcare experience is required. If you desire to be an EMT, paramedic, LPN, RN, PTA, etc., then feel free to pursue those career paths. You must satisfy our 500 hours of direct patient contact to apply. This is a competitive process, so anything you do above the minimum will improve your chance of selection.

Q. WHAT TYPE OF SETTING IS BEST TO OBTAIN DIRECT PATIENT CONTACT HOURS?

A. We require the applicant to volunteer/observe/work in a human patient care environment with direct patient contact for at least 500 hours prior to turning in an application. Examples of experiences are: student worker positions directly dealing with patients, any credentialed positions (LPN, RN, EMT, etc.). Shadowing hours may be counted towards direct patient care hours, but a minimum of 100 hours specifically shadowing a physician assistant (PA) is also required.

Q. IF I ALREADY HOLD A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER CERTIFICATE OR LICENSE CAN I BE EXCUSED FROM CERTAIN CLASSES OR ROTATIONS?

A. No, but prior healthcare experience is beneficial. We do not offer advanced placement in this program. 

Q. IS FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE?

A. Yes. Learn more on our financial aid page

Q. DO I NEED TO TAKE THE GRE?

A. No

Q. CAN I SEND YOU MY TRANSCRIPT TO REVIEW?

A. Transcripts are reviewed via CASPA, once the application is verified and the supplemental application is received. We are not able to review transcripts prior to the official review in CASPA; however, we have developed an admissions checklist on the webpage for you to review.

Q. CAN I SCHEDULE A MEETING TO DISCUSS MY APPLICATION?

A. We are not able to meet with applicants; however, we have developed an admissions checklist and on the admissions requirement webpage for you to review.

Q. DO I HAVE TO HAVE ALL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS COMPLETED TO APPLY?

A. Yes, though the program will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis for student impacted by Covid-19 as long as they are on track for successful completion of all program requirements prior to applying to the program, and all requirements must be completed by the application deadline. 

Q. I OBTAINED MY DEGREE/COMPLETED MY PREREQUISITE COURSEWORK SEVERAL YEARS AGO. IS THERE A TIME LIMIT ON COURSE COMPLETION?

A. Although recent completion of prerequisite courses is preferred and also most beneficial, there is not a time limit on completion.  This is a very rigorous curriculum, and students may be at a disadvantage if they have not been in the learning environment for several years. 

Q. THE COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY I ATTEND DOES NOT OFFER ONE OF YOUR PREREQUISITE COURSES. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

A. You have to have all prerequisite courses; if they are not offered at your university you will have to attend the courses at another school. If you are uncertain whether a course qualifies as a prerequisite, you may submit the course syllabus to the Program email at: @email for review. 

Q. CAN I ATTEND THE PROGRAM ON A PART-TIME BASIS?

A. No. The courses are sequenced around a full-time schedule. No mechanism exists for students to attend part-time.

Q. WILL I BE ABLE TO WORK WHILE IN SCHOOL?

A. Due to the heavy class (approximately 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday) and study schedule, we do not recommend that you work while in the program. Students have a difficult time scheduling their lives around study, class, and family without having to include a work schedule. Some students have been able to work part-time on weekends on an "as needed" basis; however, we do not recommend this. Students are not permitted to work for the program in any fashion, including instruction. 

Q. WHAT TYPE OF DEGREE DO I NEED TO APPLY?

A. A Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited United States college or university must be received by the day you begin PA school. Because of the required prerequisite courses, most applicants will have a science-related degree but this is not required. The requirements for acceptance to this program are also listed on our Admissions page. 

Q. HOW DO YOU CALCULATE THE CUMULATIVE GRADE POINT AVERAGE IF I REPEATED A COURSE?

A. We include all courses in the calculation, even those courses repeated for a better grade when determining your final cumulative grade point average. We strongly encourage you to repeat any courses where you scored less than a B, but will consider all prerequisites with a grade of C or higher. 

If you have additional questions regarding anything that is not found on our webpage, please email the program at @email.