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/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Accreditation-History-Canisius-College.pdf.

Q. HOW LONG IS THE PA PROGRAM?

A. Seven full time semesters. Classes begin in the beginning of the spring semester each year. The first 3 semesters is 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.

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 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. 

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 200 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 200 hours prior to turning in an application. Examples of experiences are: shadowing PAs or physicians, student worker positions directly dealing with patients, any credentialed positions (LPN, RN, EMT, etc.). It is strongly recommended that a substantial amount of time be spent observing and talking to practicing PAs.

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.

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 PREREQUISITE COUREWORK COMPLETED TO APPLY?

A. No, but you must be enrolled and on-track for successful completion of all prerequisites prior to starting the program. We strongly encourage you to have all prerequisite courses done prior to applying to improve your chances of selection. 

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

A. All prerequisite courses must be completed within 5 years of application to the program.  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 UNIVERSITY I ATTEND DOES NOT OFFER ONE OF YOUR PREREQUSITE 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: pastudies@canisius.edu 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.

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

A. We include all courses in 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 pastudies@canisius.edu.