PA School Application Timeline

January 22, 2024


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 10/13/23

Not sure when to apply to PA School? Here’s a detailed rundown of the application timeline for PA schools! 

A Physician Assistant (PA) is a licensed medical professional who works closely with doctors and physicians. But don’t let the word “assistant” fool you! PAs are held to rigorous standards and are tasked with responsibilities that often rival the physicians they assist.  

As the name suggests, a PA’s job primarily involves assisting with diagnosing and treating illnesses, prescribing medications, and overseeing patient appointments. They can work in various settings such as hospitals, physician's offices, care facilities, and government agencies.  

Becoming a PA is no easy task. To help keep you on track, we’ll go through everything you need to know about the PA school application timeline.

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When Should You Apply to PA School? 

The journey of becoming a PA starts after you obtain an undergraduate degree and apply for PA school. PAs will learn advanced medical skills through a combination of in-class instruction, self-studying, and hands-on experience. Most PA programs will take two to three years to complete. 

Wondering when to apply to a PA school? It's recommended to start the application process at the beginning of the year prior to your desired start date in PA school. Before you begin, take a moment to review the specific prerequisites for your chosen PA school to ensure you have adequate time to prepare.

PA school applications operate on a rolling basis that begins once the application window opens. Your admission decision timeline is determined by when you submit your application. As open spots for classes fill out, admission will become increasingly more competitive. So, the earlier you finish applying, the better.


For most PA schools, you’ll need to apply through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). CASPA is a web-based application platform that allows students to apply to multiple PA programs with a single application.  

While there are some schools that have their own platform, most will require you to apply through CASPA.  

Before you create your own CASPA account and begin the application process, there are certain PA school prerequisites you must satisfy. In the next section, we’ll give a detailed overview of these requirements.

Completing Prerequisites Prior to Application 

Different PA schools tend to have different requirements. But in general, you should complete the following before you can apply

Create a List of Target PA Schools

Before you apply to every PA school out there, you should consider your school priorities and create a list of target school. You can think about many different factors, including location, size, program length, school culture, etc. 

If you find it difficult to narrow down your choices, use our interactive PA school selection quiz tool below to help you find the right PA schools for you!

Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree and Meet GPA Requirements

PA programs require students to acquire a bachelor’s degree before they can apply. While there aren't any particular specifications about the subject of your degree, many students pursue a science-related major to meet the handful of prerequisite courses that must be completed by the time of application. 

PA schools also have a minimum GPA requirement for admission, which varies from school to school. You can find this information on the PA school's official website. It's important to keep this requirement in mind while pursuing your undergraduate degree.

Prerequisite Courses 

There are a number of college-level courses you must take to become eligible for application. Common prerequisite courses for PA school application include:

  • General biology 
  • Chemistry 
  • Physics 
  • Mathematics 
  • English composition
  • Medical terminology
  • Anatomy  
  • Physiology 
  • Microbiology 
  • Health studies 
  • Psychology 
  • Biochemistry 

These courses are designed to ensure that applicants have a solid foundation in the medical and science fields.


The GRE is an important part of the PA school application process for many schools, although there are some that don't require it. We recommend giving yourself at least two to three months to prepare and take the GRE no later than April or May of the year you intend to apply to PA school. 

A high score, particularly in the top 50th percentile or higher, with a combined verbal and quantitative score of 300 or higher, is considered competitive by most PA schools, although there is no minimum score requirement.

Letters of Recommendation 

To support your academic prowess, you’ll need to submit three recommendation letters from a professor, instructor, and healthcare professional who you’ve worked with. 

Choosing the right recommenders is key to a successful PA school application. Look for individuals who know you well, both personally and professionally, such as past professors, instructors, or supervisors. Make a lasting impression during your undergraduate studies and maintain contact to ensure they can provide a strong letter of recommendation.

Personal Statement 

A personal statement is your chance to let the admissions committee know more about who you are, your motivations for applying, and your aspirations for the future. Before you start writing, think about your motivations, goals, and past achievements. Include why PA school is valuable to you and what career you hope to attain from your education.

Hours of Experience 

Some PA schools require you to have prior work experience in the healthcare industry before you can apply. Make sure you’ve completed the required number of hours before applying.

PA School Application Timeline 

Here is a table of the timeline for PA school applications:

Source: Physical Assistant Education Association

After you submit your application, be sure to stay in close contact with your schools to keep track of your PA interviews. After all, an invitation can happen anytime, and you don’t want to miss it! Following the interview, the admission committee will go through their last rounds of evaluations and release their decisions. 

Once you’ve received your application letter, you can weigh your options and decide which PA program you’d like to attend!

FAQs: PA School Application Timeline 

Still have questions? Take a look at these FAQs on the PA school application timeline. 

1. When Should You Begin Applying to PA School? 

Each PA school can have varying deadlines. So, it’s important to do your research and keep track of important dates for each school.  

For schools that require you to apply through CASPA, the application window opens in mid to late April, so it’s best to start the application process around this time. However, keep in mind that you should begin acquiring the necessary documents in January to make sure you’re prepared to submit your application.

2. How Long Does It Take for a PA Application to Be Approved? 

PA applications submitted through CASPA normally take up to 10 business days to be approved and verified. 

3. Is Applying to PA School in August Too Late? 

It is possible, but you are way past the optimal time for PA school application. By August, many spots for PA programs would be filled, making application more competitive. If you can, it’s best to apply in April or May to increase your chances of getting accepted. 

4. How Long Does It Take PA Schools to Review Applications? 

Every school has its own reviewing process, so the time varies. It can take weeks or months to receive your admission decision. While we cannot give you a precise time, you should hear back from the admissions committee soon after your PA school interview.  

5. How to Increase Chances of Getting Accepted? 

PA schools are looking for candidates who demonstrate academic excellence and a passion for the profession. To increase your chances of acceptance, it's crucial to put your best foot forward in your application.

One way to do this is to demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded candidate. Don't just focus on one or two areas; instead, work to improve in all areas, including any weaknesses. This will help you show the PA school that you are a well-rounded candidate who can handle the demanding and fast-paced curriculum.

Having a solid understanding of the role of a PA is also a big plus. This includes understanding the day-to-day responsibilities, procedures, work environment, and more. PA schools want to see that you have a clear understanding of what the job entails and are committed to pursuing a career in the field.

Final Thoughts 

And that is all you need to know about the PA school application timeline! Applying to a PA school is a long and meticulous journey. In fact, it is common for the entire application process to take about a year to complete; and preparation can take even longer.  

But don't let that discourage you! Make sure to put your best foot forward at each step and approach the process with patience and care. By crafting the best possible applicant profile, you'll increase your chances of success and secure a rewarding career with competitive salaries.

Best wishes!

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