Frequently Asked Questions


What does “Direct Patient Care Experience” mean?

We are looking for patient care experience that includes responsibilities such as taking patient vital signs, administering medication, attending to patient’s personal hygiene needs, drawing blood, dressing wounds, etc.  We value situations where you have been actively responsible for the care of an individual/patient. Examples of positions that may provide opportunities to gain this experience include CNA, PCA, Phlebotomist, or EMT.

What does “service to the underserved” mean?

In keeping with the Augsburg College mission to nurture future leaders in service to the world, the Physician Assistant studies program favors applicants whose experience demonstrates a commitment to underserved communities; disadvantaged, minority, or under-represented populations. Applicants should have a strong record of commitment to the community through work with homeless shelters, disabled individuals, inner city youth organizations, church or civic group missions, minority populations, rural medicine programs, and other organizations with similar goals.

Do you have a preference as to an applicant’s undergraduate degree major?

We do not have a preference for your undergraduate major. In fact, we encourage all potential applicants to major in the area that interests them.  As one may expect, a high number of our applicants have science or health science related majors, but we have a good number of liberal arts majors as well.

Can I still apply if my cumulative or science GPA is not 3.0?

Your cumulative and science GPA must be 3.0 or higher in order to be eligible to apply to the Augsburg College PA Program. If your cumulative or science GPA is lower than 3.0, we suggest that you work with an academic counselor at your school to develop a course plan that will help you increase your GPA in a timeline that is acceptable to you. An academic counselor should be able to help you determine the course work you will need to take, and what grades you will need to earn in order to reach the required cumulative and science GPA of 3.0.  In order to be competitive in our strong applicant pools, we encourage you to set a goal of 3.2 or higher for your cumulative and science GPAs.

Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

The Augsburg PA Program requires three letters of recommendation submitted through the CASPA process.  We recommend that one letter  be from an employer/colleague (a professional reference), one letter from a professor or adviser (an academic reference), and one from a person of your choice (i.e. someone you’ve worked with on underserved projects, volunteer experiences or in a health care setting).  Be sure that your letter writers are able to tell the committee about you as well as his/her experiences with you and observations about you.  You should not have a family member write any of your letters of recommendation.  Note that we strongly recommend that your letters be submitted to CASPA as confidential.

Do students work while completing the Program?

Program faculty discourage outside employment while enrolled in the Physician Assistant Program. Faculty does recognize that employment may be an issue that some students will face. Given this recognition, realize that program obligations will not be altered due to a student’s work obligations. It is further expected that work obligations will not interfere with the Physician Assistant students’ learning progress or responsibilities while in the program. In addition, the program may not require any student to work for the program while enrolled in coursework.

How long after graduation does it take for a new PA to find employment?

On average, it is 3 months post graduation to employment. This accounts for graduates taking time off after graduation prior to securing jobs. Many graduates have “offer” letters from employers by graduation day pending passing the national board exams. Many students gain valuable professional contacts during their clinical phase of the Program that they later use in job seeking.

Do most students complete the Program?

The graduation rate of the past 5 graduating classes (2011-2014*) is 99%. The withdrawal rate is 2% over the past five graduating classes, and the deceleration rate is less than 1% over the same time period.

*There were two graduating classes in 2014 due to change in program length.