Physician Assistant Program - Southwest Florida

Frequently Asked Questions

Graduates of the NSU PA Program SW Florida will receive the degree, Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant. All students must enroll in all courses, regardless of previous work or education history.

Yes, a baccalaureate degree must have been received prior to matriculation into the physician assistant program. See the requirements for admissions for more information.

No. All entry-level classes for the program are taught in SW Florida . At this time there is no distance learning or part-time format for our program. You will live and work in Southwest Florida for the duration of the program. We do, however, have a distance learning option for a masters degree, but only for individuals that have graduated from an accredited PA program and want to pursue a masters degree (Note: not all accredited programs offer a masters degree).

The Successful Applicant to the NSU PA Program SW Florida will have combination of life, educational and work experience that shows a commitment to patient care, an understanding of the PA profession and the ability to perform in a demanding academic and professional setting. Competition for entrance into PA programs is strong.

Although not required, health care experience is highly recommended. This experience can be either paid or volunteer and should include exposure to mid level practitioners. Additionally applicants may gain valuable information from the material available as Associate Members of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Past educational performance, while not indicative of current abilities, can predict performance in the program. Every attempt should be made to enhance overall and science course GPA prior to application. The first year is extremely demanding and the applicant will benefit by taking courses that simulate this type of education.

The ARC- PA has granted Continued Accreditation to the Physician Assistant Program Southwest Florida sponsored by Nova Southeastern University. Continued accreditation is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Continued 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remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards.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 comprehensive review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2018.

This year the program received close to 1000 applications for its 64 seats. There is no guaranteed number of applications or interviews in any given year. We are on a rolling admissions process at Nova Southeastern University. This means that as applications are received from CASPA, the interview process starts. The process ends once all the seats are filled. We typically interview from September through April, however, because of rolling admissions, it is best to apply earlier in the process.

It is anticipated that 64 students will be matriculated in June each year.

No. Pre-requisites MUST be completed by the time of matriculation (starting the program) in June, but you must be enrolled in these classes by the time of your interview. It is possible to get accepted into the program contingent on completion of these courses with satisfactory grades. We make every attempt to accommodate individual situations, but you MUST complete courses by the time school starts. Proof of registration and progress may be required to verify such.

Clinical experience is NOT required for admission, but will enhance your application substantially when compared to others that apply to the program. It is important that one is very familiar with the career s/he is planning to make a commitment to. We value the type of experience more than total number of hours.

Yes. Many of the NSU students have some form and combination of financial aid from public and private sources. Part of planning for entry should include planning for the financial situation faced by our students. We recommend that our student not work during the program. Much of that information can be obtained from the NSU Financial Aid Office.

No . Students accepted into the program can find housing in some of the neighboring communities. More housing information can be obtained from the office of the NSU PA Program at SW Florida by calling (239) 274-1020.

No. You must apply through the centralized application service called CASPA . You do, however, have to submit a supplemental application directly to the program after your CASPA application is completed. There is an additional $50 fee for that supplemental application.

You must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale and a minimum science GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 in order for your application packet to be considered for review. All prerequisite courses must be passed with a grade of "C" or better. As with any other university or college, higher GPAs are more competitive. Science grades above a "C" are more competitive. Once again, your goal is to be competitive and academically prepared to successfully handle the demands of the program's curriculum. However, THE ADMISSIONS COMMITTEE DOES NOT BASE ITS DECISION SOLELY ON GRADE POINT AVERAGES. The Committee on Admissions evaluates the application packet as a whole; therefore, strong reference forms/letters of recommendation, prior "hands-on" health care experience and a demonstrated commitment to underserved communities are EQUALLY important.

Yes. The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is REQUIRED for admissions at this time.

Keep in mind that your goal is to become a physician assistant; therefore, your volunteer experience should provide you with as much exposure/experience as possible to the roles and responsibilities of physicians, PAs and or other medical professional, whose primary responsibility is patient care. Familiarity with the "tools of the trade," hospital, and various medical procedures is valuable.

No. See the list of prerequisites on the web site.

Yes. Each applicant is viewed equally; therefore, each must complete all prerequisite course work outlined in the flyer. No exceptions or substitutions are permitted. Course credit is not given for previous work or life experience. In addition, the following prerequisite courses must have been completed within 7 years of application to the PA Program SW Florida: human anatomy; human physiology; and microbiology, including laboratory.

The program does not offer only a certificate. You must complete the entire 27-month program as outlined for the MMS degree requirements regardless of previously completed course work or degrees.

All prerequisite courses must be completed at the college level, and transcripts from foreign countries must be translated to show college courses, grades, and semester units equivalent to the U.S. educational system. "But this doesn't seem fair." There are only a few schools in Florida offering P.A. programs and probably hundreds of applicants in the same situation. Our program has admitted undergraduates pursuing their first degree, post baccalaureate students, graduates students, displaced workers pursuing a second career, and a variety of medical professionals. EACH APPLICANT WAS AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE ADMITTED ON AN EVEN PLAYING FIELD.

It's possible, especially if you need to take any science courses. Keep in mind that you will be competing against many other applicants. Many of these applicants will have fulfilled ALL admission requirements prior to the application deadline. Remember, your goal is to be as competitive as possible.

No. Read the PA program's brochure, catalog and online material very carefully. Everything you need to know is explained in these documents.

Maybe. Individual advisement appointments (in person or by phone) by Admissions are very limited, due to the increasingly large number of applicants seeking personal advisement. If this is your situation, plan to meet with an advisor as early as possible. Applicants who wait until the last few months, prior to the application deadline, are usually unable to see an advisor.

No. Do not expect to be seen by an advisor on a walk-in basis. You must make an appointment. Unfortunately, there are no full-time advisors for the PA program to conduct walk-in or telephone advisement. All of the information you need to succeed in this process is on our web site.

Yes. You can make an appointment to meet with a counselor at the college you are attending. College advisors are usually very familiar with general education programs and can advise you of the courses you should take to fulfill the course prerequisites. If they have any question, they are welcome to call the program or admissions office.

Committee members change from year to year and consist primarily members of the PA Program, faculty, and may be augmented by local, practicing Physician Assistants, other practitioners, and other members of the community.

A single applicant interviews with a team of 2-4 interviewers. This format is flexible and individual interviewers may be used in some cases. Please be flexible when coming to campus for interviews.

Please consult the current catalog or PA program brochure for most recent costs.

  • Tuition - $29,975 per 12 months (we are a 27 month program)
  • Acceptance Fee (Due within 2 weeks of acceptance) - $500
  • Deposit (due February 15th) - $500
  • Student activity fees - $1,050 per year
  • Health Professions Division General Access Fee - $145 per year
  • Graduation fees - approximately $275
  • Physical examination course equipment - $750 to $1000
  • Required books - $4000 - $5000
  • Recommended books - $1000
  • NCCPA Review Course and books (optional) - $550
  • NCCPA PANCE (National Entry Level Board Exam) - $475
  • Florida State Licensing Fees (Initial) - $400; Prescriptive License - $305
  • Housing (variable) - Area apartments run from $850 (with roommate) to $1500 per month
  • Parking - free on campus
  • Computer lab, e-mail account, MDConsult database - free on campus
  • Computer (home) and printer- approximately $1500-2000

Yes. All of the requirements must be met by everyone, including International Medical Graduates (IMG's). All transcripts from other countries must be evaluated by an evaluation service within the United States. (Please see Evaluation Services for a listing of suggested services used by our applicants who are graduates of medical schools from other countries.) International transcripts that are submitted without official evaluation will not be considered.

Also, please note that there is no test which IMGs can take to challenge the NSU PA program at SW Florida, obtain a PA license or become nationally certified as a PA. All IMGs accepted into the program must complete the entire program. Courses previously taken in medical school can not be substituted for courses to be taken in the NSU PA program.

No. While you may note that there are some IMG/FMG's in Florida , practicing as PA's that never attended PA school, this opportunity was shut off over 10 years ago. No longer may an IMG/FMG become a PA in Florida without attending an accredited PA program and passing the national NCCPA/PANCE boards for PA's.

This question is difficult, if not impossible, to answer. There is no way to determine what the applicant pool will look like each year. A variety of people with various backgrounds apply to the program each year, and a variety of applicants are accepted. There is no way to say who will or will not be admitted, nor guarantee anyone's admittance. Do your best to present yourself well on paper.

While we expect a minimum of 600-700 applications to be submitted each year, only approximately 60 will be admitted. Unfortunately, we cannot admit all who apply to NSU's PA program at SW Florida; therefore, it is always a good idea to apply to other schools as well. Many applications are not considered due to incomplete applications.

The NSU PA Program SW Florida sends out a graduate survey each year. This year, the response rate was 23.4%. According to the survey, 70% of the respondents were employed within 3 months, and an additional 22% were employed between 3-6 months after graduation. The survey found graduates working in the following specialty areas: 4.4% in Dermatology; 28.9% in Emergency Medicine/Urgent Care; 15.6% in Family Medicine; 4.4% in General Internal Medicine; 4.4% in an Internal Medicine subspecialty; 4.4% in General surgery; 11.1% in a surgical subspecialty; 6.7% in Orthopedics; 2.2% in Psychiatry; and 17.8% in another specialty, which included rheumatology, hematology/oncology, HIV medicine, gastroenterology, cardiology, neurosurgery, and urology.

As for practice settings, 52.3% of the graduates work in a hospital setting; 25% work in a clinic setting; 36.4% work within a group practice; 20.5% work in a solo practice; and 2.3% work in a long term care facility. 8.9% of the graduates are working in a medically underserved community; 2.2% are working in a rural setting < 2500); and 4.4% are working in an urban area with a population of 2500 to 19,999.

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