Asheville Physician Assistant Program

Admissions

Admission Requirements

  1. Completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States, prior to matriculation.
  2. Overall cumulative and pre-requisite science minimum GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale.
  3. Successful completion of all prerequisite coursework prior to matriculation.
  4. Completion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The GRE code for the South College Asheville Physician Assistant Program is 5009.
  5. Three Letters of Recommendation from PA’s, MD/DO’s or NP’s. It is strongly encouraged that at least one letter be from a physician assistant.
  6. Each applicant is required to compose a personal statement in the Application expressing his or her desire to become a Physician Assistant. Each personal statement will be reviewed and scored, based on the following: grammar, clarity of expression and creativity, understanding of the PA role and expressed interest in underserved populations.
  7. Each applicant must be able to successfully perform the Technical Standards of the Program.
  8. Successfully complete background screening.Link to our Supplemental Application: https://dynamicforms.ngwebsolutions.com/Submit/Start/487b07b4-05c0-4829-9e78-8f3548b188a3

Required Pre-Requisites Courses

  1. Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II with laboratory (minimum of 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours)
  2. General Chemistry I and II with laboratory (minimum of 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours)
  3. Biology I and II with laboratory (Mammalian, Cell, Molecular, or Human Biology). Upper Level Mammalian, Cell, Molecular, or Human Biology may be substituted for Biology II (minimum of 8 Semester or 12 quarter hours)
  4. Microbiology with laboratory (minimum of 3 Semester or 4.5 quarter hours)
  5. English (minimum of 6 semester hours or 8 quarter hours)
  6. Statistics, Algebra, Calculus, Finite Math, or other equivalent Advanced Mathematics (minimum of 6 semester hours or 8 quarter hours) *A statistics course is recommended.
  7. Humanities and/or Social Science (minimum of 6 semester hours or 8 quarter hour) 

Application Admission Policies

The South College Asheville Physician Assistant Program uses policies and procedures to ensure daily operations of the program happen with ease. The specific policies below are policies for prospective students or applicants to the Program.  Please be advised that all program policies apply to all South College Asheville Physician Assistant Program students and will be consistently applied.

  • Applications will not be evaluated until all materials are complete.
  • Student cohorts are filled on a rolling admission basis.
ADVANCED PLACEMENTPREFERRED COURSEWORKDIRECT PATIENT CARE AND PA SHADOWINGPREFERRED APPLICATION SCORINGSOLICITATION OF CLINICAL SITESEMPLOYMENT DURING THE PROGRAMEMPLOYMENT BY THE PROGRAMHEALTH SERVICES AND INSURANCE
ADVANCED PLACEMENT

South College Asheville Physician Assistant Program does NOT offer advanced placement. All students are required to successfully complete all courses in the Program.

PREFERRED COURSEWORK

While it is not required, the Program gives preference to applicants who have successfully completed additional upper-level science, chemistry and health science courses.

DIRECT PATIENT CARE AND PA SHADOWING

Although direct patient care work experience and PA shadowing are not required, points are awarded for applicants who do obtain direct patient care hours and PA shadowing hours.

PREFERRED APPLICATION SCORING

The program gives preference to applicants who possess a higher cumulative and pre-requisite science GPA, have a higher number of direct patient care and shadowing hours, have higher GRE scores, and have successfully completed additional, non pre-requisite upper-level science courses (genetics, biochemistry, immunology, organic chemistry, advanced biology/chemistry/health science courses). The program also gives preference to applicants who are veterans with military medical experience, first generation college students, from a low socioeconomic household, and/or a geographically medically underserved area.

SOLICITATION OF CLINICAL SITES

Clinical learning rotation sites and preceptors are selected and evaluated by the SCAPA Program’s clinical faculty. PA students are not required or permitted to supply their own clinical sites or preceptors; however, students may make suggestions to clinical faculty for sites and preceptors but are not required to do so. Student suggested sites and preceptors are not guaranteed and are reviewed, evaluated, and approved for educational suitability by the clinical team. Clinical site/preceptor suggestions must be submitted at least four (4) months prior to the rotation.

EMPLOYMENT DURING THE PROGRAM

The PA faculty believes that no student is capable of acquiring the level of knowledge needed to perform adequately as a physician assistant student if the student engages in outside employment during the PA Program. Students are apprised of this policy during the application and interview process and are strongly discouraged from engaging in outside employment during the PA curriculum. Students may fulfill military drill obligations while attending the program. At no time is a student to be substituted for instructional faculty member or clinical or administrative staff. Students are not to be employed while on their clinical learning rotations by preceptors or health care facilities.

EMPLOYMENT BY THE PROGRAM

Students are NOT permitted to work for the Program.

HEALTH SERVICES AND INSURANCE

All PA students are required to carry health insurance (including hospitalization) throughout the entire program. It is the responsibility of the student to purchase health insurance and provide proof of insurance. Health concerns should be addressed with a primary care provider. South College Asheville does not provide health services. However, students can access a variety of low-cost health centers, including MAHEC Family Health Center of Biltmore, which is located within five miles of the Asheville campus. Once matriculated into the Physician Assistant Program, students must show compliance with the health policy, including personal health insurance coverage within one month of the start of classes. Failure to do so may result in being liable for dismissal from the program. Students must re-certify their health status (including proof of health insurance) prior to beginning the clinical phase of the program. Students may not engage in clinical activities until compliance has been met.

Immunizations

Students are required to keep track of immunization records and update these as needed (annual PPD/TB testing is required, along with the influenza vaccine). When accepted into the program, students are given a list of immunizations that are required of each PA student.  All students must submit written proof of these vaccinations or immunity to these communicable diseases prior to orientation week. In accordance with ARC-PA standards, the Program requires physician assistant students to adhere to the current Center for Disease (CDC) vaccination and TB recommendations for healthcare personnel.  As such, all students are required to receive and maintain immunizations as outlined in the chart below.

Proof of immunization, serologic immunity, or initiation of vaccination series is required prior to initial entry into the program and must be updated annually as necessary. All vaccination series must be completed and updated with boosters as necessary prior to initiation of supervised clinical practice experiences.  Students are responsible for the costs associated with any needed vaccines or titers.

For more information about current CDC vaccination and TB recommendations for healthcare personnel, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/hcw.html and https://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/testing/healthcareworkers.htm.

Written proof includes:

  • Legible photocopies of original immunization cards.
  • Legible note on clinic letterhead, signed by clinician who verifies numbers and dates of vaccines.
  • Legible photocopies of lab or x-ray results printed with student name and lab identifier.

Complete immunization criteria include having completed the primary series as child or adult, plus boosters as appropriate.  We realize that sometimes remote records are difficult to obtain, so the minimum requirement for entry into the program is outlined below.

DiseaseRequirementComments
Tetanus/diphtheria (Tdap)Tdap: 3 doses plus recentbooster with TdapMust have Tdap within thelast 8 years prior to enrollment
Measles (rubeola)Mumps RubellaMMR: 2 doses ORIgG titer showing immunity to eachIf student cannot documentvaccinations and titers are negative, student must restart the series
Varicella2 doses ORIgG titer showing immunitySome facilities no longer accept history of disease as adequate proof of immunity
Hepatitis B3 doses or IgG titershowing immunity (anti-HBs)If IgG titer is submitted and is negative, student must get a booster and repeat the IgG titer
Influenzaannually

Recommended Vaccinations

DiseaseRecommended
Pneumococcal PolysaccharideVaccineIf medical provider finds necessary
Meningococcal MeningitisVaccineMenomuneMenactra
Hepatitis A Vaccine2 doses
COVID-192 doses + booster(s)

Please be advised, if a clinical rotation site, hospital, practice or learning location requires the Covid-19 vaccine then students will be required to demonstrate immunization but it is not a program or institutional requirement.

If clinical sites require the Covid 19 vaccine and a non-vaccinated student cannot be placed at a clinical site to obtain the required clinical rotation experiences needed to graduate, the student will not be able to graduate from the PA program.

Tuberculosis Screening

All students must be screened for Tuberculosis infection prior to starting the program via either PPD skin testing, QuantiFERON®–TB Gold In-Tube test (QFT-GIT) or a chest x-ray if the student is known to be PPD positive or positive on blood testing.  The screening tests (below) must be done no more than 3 months prior to starting the program.  Students are responsible for the cost associated with testing.  For students who have had tests for school or work and have established a history of negative tuberculosis infection, a single PPD skin test, or blood test no more than 3 months prior to starting the program is sufficient.  Students must supply the record of previous negative PPD or blood test along with the current results.  PPD results must indicate:

  • Date of placement and date read.
  • Diameter of induration (if any) and impression: positive or negative.

A history of BCG vaccination is NOT a contraindication to getting a PPD skin test.  If a student has a documented history of being PPD positive, he/she must:

  • Provide a clinician’s note regarding the date and diameter of the positive PPD.
  • Provide results of chest x-ray and treatment (if any) rendered at the time.
  • Be screened for and cleared of active disease on the physical exam required of all students no more than 3 months prior to starting the program.
  • Provide results of a chest x-ray done no more than 3 months prior to starting the program. Students will need to update their TB screen at the one-year anniversary of the screen for program entry.  If not updated, students are not cleared to continue clinical work.

Completion of all required immunizations and testing (MMR, Varicella, DTaP, record of Hepatitis B vaccine and/or serum titer levels, Influenza, PPD with or without chest x-ray, if indicated). Maintain yearly TB testing while on rotation. Students are responsible for maintaining their personal immunization record, and it is recommended that they carry a copy of this record to the assigned clinical site on the first day of each rotation. Failure to demonstrate an up-to-date immunization status on request will result in removal from the rotation until valid proof of current immunization status is presented. Immunizations are based on the Center for Disease Control guidelines for health professional students, to include COVID-19 vaccinations, as required.

Applying to the Program

The South College Asheville Physician Assistant Program uses CASPA for prospective student application. Our GRE code for CASPA is 5009. All invitations for personal interview will be extended by email from the Admissions Coordinator.

Technical Standards

The role of the physician assistant is highly complex with daily tasks that involve several spheres of ability often integrating seamlessly together to provide quality patient care.  To better understand the needed qualities and abilities for the physician assistant profession, please refer to the Program Technical Standards which can be accessed at the link below.

All students must be able to meet the Program Technical Standards.

PROGRAM TECHNICAL STANDARDS

Questions?

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