Choosing the Right PA school

Hi guys! Application cycle is in full swing, which I know can be very overwhelming, intimidating and stressful. It is hard to believe that I was in that position exactly a year ago. Choosing the best PA school can be exciting but overwhelming. Common questions that I get is how did I choose the school that was best for me.

Location – When I was looking at PA schools, I was focused on schools that were near my family and friends and a BEACH!! I applied to schools mostly on the east coast and a few schools in California. I also applied to Emory and PCOM-GA campus, which are both in Atlanta. Ultimately, I ended up going to Savannah, which is a good balance because it is only 4 hours away from Atlanta, the weather is nice and I live 35 minutes from the beach. When researching PA schools, chose a location that you know that you would be the most productive in. If you know you do not like being in the wintry weather, I would not suggest having your first-choice schools up north, where the temperatures are frigid 6-7 months out of the year.

Cost – This was a SIGNIFICANT factor for me!! PA school is very expensive, and the goal is to pass the PANCE. With that being said, choosing a school that is economical and won’t result in a massive amount of student loan debt is very imperative. The average cost of resident tuition for a 27-month program is approximately $71,000 and non-resident tuition for a 27-month program is $90,000. My school is a 27-month program, and the end total is approximately $84,000, which is reasonable (in my opinion). Of course, there are programs that are less expensive, but most programs will be in that price range. Not only the cost of tuition was a driving factor for me, but the cost of living was also considered. I applied to schools in Tampa and Miami, and while the tuition was reasonable, the cost of living was astronomical. The average cost of an apartment in Miami is approximately $2,000/month. Obviously, this would be difficult to sustain being that I would be living on student loans for the next 27 months, so obviously, the schools in Miami and Tampa were eliminated. The cost of living in Savannah is slightly cheaper than Atlanta, which makes living very sustainable and manageable.

Start Date – I am a very impatient person (I am working on this, lol), so I wanted to start as soon as possible! I admit that my current program was not my first choice, however, it had one of the earlier start dates, which I was extremely attracted to! This has its pros and cons. A pro being that you start earlier, and a con, being that it gives you less money to save prior to starting PA school. Me personally, I wanted to start in the winter time as I tend to find myself more focused and productive in colder weather, as there is less distractions, and I am more inclined to be in the house due to the cold weather.

PANCE pass rates – The Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) determines whether if you become board certified upon graduating from PA school. It would be a travesty if you did not pass the PACE after spending a massive amount of money and time in PA school. The national PANCE first time taker pass rate average over the past 5 years has been 95%, so it is imperative to research the school’s PANCE pass rates over the past several years. This should be available on the school’s website, and if not, contact the school and request that information.

If you guys have any other questions or concerns, do not hesitate to e-mail me at AmbzThePA@gmail, and do not forget to subscribe and comment below! Also, follow me on Instagram at @AmbzThePA___xo for more consistent updates!


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