Physician Assistant Admission Process and Requirements
Take the next steps in joining our PA Family at Lake Erie College
Apply directly to CASPA
Lake Erie College utilizes the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). This is a central application service. No secondary application is needed.
Prepare personal statement on CASPA. This is a 500-1000 word writing sample that is intended to give applicants an opportunity to introduce themselves.
Send transcripts directly to CASPA. Below is the address:
CASPA P.O. Box 9108 Watertown, MA 02471
Identify three people for recommendations. Please see required references below. Obtain their e-mail addresses and input to CASPA.
Take and submit GRE to CASPA. Lake Erie College PA Program GRE code is 2527.
Document healthcare experience. Click here for shadowing form. Upload your completed shadowing forms into CASPA. If you already have previous shadowing experiences on another form, upload those forms into CASPA for documentation. In addition, retain these documents for your personal record should this information be requested.
Submit the application and send all transcripts to be received by November 1st. It is strongly recommended to submit all documentation before September 1st, as the Program has a rolling admissions process.
All documents, such as transcripts, will need to be verified by CASPA before applications will be reviewed by the Program. You will be contacted by the e-mail if you are selected for an interview.
Accepted applicants are required to pay a $1,000 non-refundable deposit within two weeks to hold their position. A second non-refundable deposit of $500 is due before March 1st in order to continue to hold the position. Applicants receiving an admission offer after March 1st will be required to submit the entire non-refundable deposit of $1,500 to hold their position. The non-refundable deposit will be applied towards tuition.
More details on the requirements are listed below and on the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page.*Deposit, tuition, and fees subject to change without notice.
Admission to the Lake Erie College PA Program is very competitive. Students must have completed all of the following requirements prior to matriculation to the program. These are the minimum requirements; however, given the competitiveness of the program, students are encouraged to complete courses and experiences above these requirements. Meeting minimum admission requirements for the program guarantees neither an interview nor admission to the program.
Degree Requirements Prior to Admission
All students must have received a minimum of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States with a 3.0 GPA or better on a 4.0 scale. All GPA calculations are done by CASPA.
Academic Standards and Prerequisite Coursework
LAKE ERIE COLLEGE COURSES HAVE BEEN LISTED NEXT TO EACH PREREQUISITE IN THE BOX BELOW. CANDIDATES CAN REFERENCE THESE COURSES WITH THE TRANSFER EVALUATION SYSTEM TO IDENTIFY AN EQUIVALENT COURSE AT OTHER REGIONALLY ACCREDITED COLLEGES/UNIVERSITIES.
PLEASE NOTE: PREREQUISITE COURSE SUBSTITUTIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS. ADVANCED COURSEWORK OR EXPERIENCE MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR SUBSTITUTION. A GRADE OF "B-" OR BETTER SHOULD BE OBTAINED IN ALL PREREQUISITE COURSES WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ORGANIC CHEMISTRY IN WHICH A GRADE OF "C-" OR BETTER SHOULD BE OBTAINED.
General Chemistry I and II with labs (1 course each)
Organic Chemistry with lab (1 course)
Biology I and II with labs (1 course each)
Statistics (1 course)
Psychology (1 course)
Human Anatomy and Physiology with lab (2 courses)
Microbiology with lab (1 course)
English (1 course, no time limit)
College Algebra (1 course, no time limits)
Medical Terminology (tested out during interview)
GRADUATE RECORD EXAMINATION (GRE)
GRE: Should be taken within last 5 years. There is no minimum score requirement. No other standardized test will be considered for substitution.
HEALTHCARE EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENT
At least 24 hours of the 250 hours must be from direct shadowing of a licensed physician assistant, which may include virtual shadowing experiences.
Here is the form for PA shadowing. Although this form does not need to be used exclusively, all prospective students will need to retain documentation and upload this documentation into CASPA. Documentation must be available for verification.
This requirement may be met through paid or volunteer experiences. While shadowing a physician assistant or physician will meet this requirement, prior experiences where the applicant has assumed direct responsibility for patient care is preferred.
Students may use the following to meet this requirement and include but are not limited to: shadowing a PA or physician in an office or hospital; volunteering or working as an emergency medical technician; working as a nurse, nurse's aide, respiratory therapist, paramedic, athletic trainer, pharmacy technician, scribe or other healthcare provider; or volunteering in a healthcare facility.
The healthcare experience is intended to strengthen interpersonal skills and to develop an understanding of the role of healthcare provider. All shadowing and healthcare experience must be completed prior to matriculation.
Applicants are required to submit three references from sources who are familiar with the qualifications of the candidate. Each reference must comment on his belief that the candidate can successfully complete a rigorous didactic and clinical program such as the Physician Assistance sciences program. The reference is also expected to comment on other attributes he or she feels will ensure the success of the candidate in the medical profession. References from relatives, even if they are healthcare professionals, are highly discouraged.
One reference is required from EACH category:
A person holding the PA-C, MD or DO designation and who also holds a current license to practice.
A college or university professor holding a doctoral degree in any discipline where the candidate has been a student in one or more of the classes taught by the faculty member.
A reference of your choice of someone who has knowledge of your work ethic, academic record, volunteer work or other activities and can comment on your ability to succeed in the physician assistant program.
Following the initial review of applications, a limited number of applicants will be invited for a personal interview. Verbal and interpersonal communication skills will be assessed during the interview as well as the candidate's qualifications overall. The composite interview score is an important component for determining admission to the program.
Knowledge of health care policy and personal maturity along with interpersonal skills and verbal communication skills will be assessed and scored. Scores from the interviewed candidates will be used to create an alternate list. Should a position in the next cohort become available, the position will be offered to the candidate with the highest-ranking score.
DISCLOSURE OF ADMISSION PRACTICES
All Lake Erie College current students and graduates who meet the minimum requirements will be granted an interview. Lake Erie College current students and graduates will be awarded preferential points during the initial selection process. In addition, the PA Program also will reserve 4 seats per cohort for current qualifying Lake Erie College undergraduate students. See Early Acceptance Opportunity page for details. In the event that a Lake Erie College student is not admitted through either the guaranteed interview or Early Acceptance Opportunity, that individual may apply again in future years, but may not take advantage of the guaranteed interview (and is not eligible for the Early Acceptance Opportunity). Instead, repeat applicants will be reviewed in accordance with the standard admissions policies.
Because of the Program's rolling admissions process, some preference will be given to applicants that apply early in the admissions cycle, meet all of the prerequisites including the GRE requirement before application, and have completed all required shadowing hours.
Applicants with higher GRE scores, applicants with more healthcare experience, and applicants with a record of strong academic performance are given some preference.
The Lake Erie College PA Program respects the growing diversity of the population in the United States. As such, we are committed to matriculating students from diverse backgrounds and life experiences. This includes students from diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds and those who have served in the military or demonstrated other forms of service. We appreciate applicants from diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds as this enhances the collaborative process and enriches the classroom experience. In addition, the PA Program strongly considers applicants who demonstrate characteristics that align with our mission and goals. Community service, volunteering, and a history of serving others are strongly considered during the evaluation process. Attributes beyond the minimum requirements will be considered during the interview process.
The program does not offer advanced placement. In addition, prerequisite coursework will not substitute for any coursework within the program.
All prospective students must be honest about their criminal record. Background checks will be performed including Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCII) report and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report. Appeals to any information found during the background check or drug screen must be made directly through CastleBranch according to their listed policies and procedures. Background checks and drug screens will need to be repeated before clinical rotations.
STUDENTS WORKING WHILE IN THE PROGRAM
Students are strongly cautioned against working while in the program. This is a very rigorous program requiring full-time commitment to academic achievement. Therefore, students attempting to work while in the program are at an increased risk of failure.
The Lake Erie College Master of Science in Physician Assistant Sciences (MSPAS) degree signifies that the graduate is prepared for entry into the practice of medicine.
Therefore, the graduating student must possess the skills and knowledge to effectively function in a variety of clinical roles and have a wide range of responsibilities. Superior patient care is critical, and therefore physician assistants require standards to maintain the integrity of quality patient care.
As part of the admission process, Lake Erie College will evaluate the total student to evaluate his or her ability to function effectively as a physician assistant. Therefore, the College will evaluate the applicant's academic standing, current physical state, emotional status disability status, and any other obstacles that may impair the student's ability to safely and effectively interact and treat patients and to work effectively with co-workers.
In accordance with College policy and as delineated by Federal and state law, Lake Erie College does not discriminate in admission, educational programs or employment against any individual on the basis of that individual's handicap or disability and will make good faith efforts at providing reasonable accommodation as required.
Candidates for the PA program must possess ability, aptitude and skills as outlined below:
Intellectual: Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem-solving, the critical skill demanded of PAs, requires all these abilities.
The candidate must also be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
Behavioral and Social Attributes: A candidate should possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients.
Candidates should be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress.
They should be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainty inherent in the clinical problems of many patients.
Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the admission and education processes.
Communication: A candidate should be able to speak, hear and observe patients in order to elicit information, perceive non-verbal communication and describe changes in mood, activity and posture. A candidate should be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but reading and writing. Communication in oral and written form with the health care team must be effective and efficient.
Observational: The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences, visual presentations in lectures and laboratories, laboratory evidence and microbiologic cultures, microscopic studies of microorganisms, and tissues in normal and pathologic states. A candidate should be able to observe a patient accurately and completely at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation and is enhanced by a sense of smell.
Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate should be able to carry out basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, wet mount, gram stain, etc.), carry out diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (phlebotomy, venipuncture, placement of catheters and tubes) and read ECGs and X-rays. A candidate should have motor function sufficient to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment for patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of a physician assistant are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medications, the application of pressure to arrest bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds and the performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers. Such skills require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision. Candidates must have sufficient motor function capabilities to meet the demands of the PA program and the demands of total patient care. They must be able to complete the didactic and clinical curriculum in its entirety.
Physical Demands: The PA student must possess the physical ability to learn and implement the various technical skills required by the program. The PA student must possess an adequate range of body motion and mobility, with or without accommodation, to perform the following essential functions: prolonged periods of sitting, occasional bending and stooping, and the ability to lift and carry books and other items such as medical instruments weighing up to ten (10) pounds, with or without accommodation. They must be able to exert up to ten (10) pounds of force occasionally, and/or a negligible amount of force frequently or constantly to lift, carry, push or pull or otherwise move objects, including the human body. Sedentary work involves sitting most of the time, but may involve walking or standing for brief periods of time.
Ability to Practice Medicine: The PA student must demonstrate the ability to practice medicine. The ability to practice medicine is to be construed to include all of the following: The cognitive capacity to make appropriate clinical diagnoses and exercise reasonable medical judgments and to learn and keep abreast of medical developments; The ability to communicate those judgments and medical information to patients and other healthcare providers, with or without the use of aids or devices, such as a voice amplifier; and The physical capability to perform medical tasks such as physical examination and surgical procedures, with or without the use of aids or devices, such as corrective lenses or hearing aids.
Please see Physician Assistant Program Accreditation page for current status.