The College of Health Sciences Physician Assistant program accepts applications only through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistant (CASPA).

The processing of applications by CASPA begins April, sixteen (16) months prior to the year of desired enrollment. Applications must be verified by CASPA on or before December 1 of the year of desired enrollment.
 
  • Student application reviews begin when an application is verified by CASPA.
  • Interviews are scheduled and initiated, beginning in July/August.
  • Candidates are admitted by the Admissions Committee on a rolling basis until class capacity is reached.
See a profile of the most recent Entering Class (PDF)

It is to an applicant’s advantage to apply as early as possible to ensure priority consideration for admission.

Apply at CASPA                         


 
Criteria & Prerequisites

The College of Health Science Physician Assistant program actively seeks individuals with an undergraduate degree and diverse life experiences who desire to become physician assistants.

To be considered an applicant must:

  • Submit a properly completed application to CASPA. (www.caspaonline.org)

  • Submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (or currently attending) directly to CASPA.

  • Complete a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum cumulative and science GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The Office of Admissions recommends that prospective applicants with less than a 3.0 GPA consider enrolling in additional human biology courses to increase their GPA prior to applying.
  • Complete the course prerequisites prior to enrollment (see Prerequisites section below).​
  • Three letters of recommendation are required; one must be from a physician assistant. Arrange for required letters of evaluation to be sent directly to CASPA.
  • A minimum of 300 hours of direct patient care experience is required. This may be a volunteer and/or employment position(s).

  • In order to be familiar with the role of the physician assistant (PA) as a member of the health care team, a minimum of 20 hours of PA shadowing is required. Shadowing PAs in various medical disciplines is recommended.
  • Completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required within three years of the desired entrance date to the Program. Official scores may be sent to CASPA. Salus University's designated institution code is 0432.
  • If accepted, all physician assistant students are required to have a criminal background check, child abuse clearance, annual health clearances, fingerprinting and drug screening. Information will be provided by the Office of Student Affairs regarding this process. Students are responsible for all fees associated with these clearance protocols. More information below.
  • ​If accepted, all physician assistant students must provide proof of health insurance prior to the start of the program.
  • If accepted, you must be able to meet the Technical Standards (see section below) with allowance for reasonable accommodations.

  • International Students, please review below any additional requirements needed.

  • All credentials submitted on behalf of an applicant become part of that applicant’s record with the University and cannot be returned.

Prerequisites

A candidate must have completed a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited undergraduate institution with a minimum cumulative and science GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (if accepted into the Western New England University 3+2 Affiliation Program, at least 101 semester hours of credit must be completed prior to enrollment).

Prerequisite courses must be completed within ten years of the anticipated entrance date to the Program. An applicant may have prerequisites in progress at the time of application; however, all outstanding prerequisites must be successfully completed prior to enrollment. In order to fairly evaluate a candidate, it is recommended that no more than two prerequisites be outstanding at the time of interview.

Undergraduate credits must include the courses listed below, completed with a 2.0 (C) or better. 

Four semester credits* are required in each of the following courses:
  • Anatomy and Physiology I (or Anatomy) with laboratory  
  • Anatomy and Physiology II (or Physiology) with laboratory
  • Biology I with laboratory
  • Biology II with laboratory
  • Chemistry I with laboratory
  • Chemistry II with laboratory
*Three semester credit course/s may be reviewed on an individual basis.

Three semester credits are required in each of the following courses:
  • Microbiology (laboratory recommended, but not required)
  • Organic Chemistry (laboratory recommended, but not required)
  • Psychology
  • Statistics or Biostatistics
  • English Composition
Recommended courses, but not required: medical terminology (strongly recommended), genetics, immunology, embryology, histology, biochemistry, cell biology, developmental or abnormal psychology, public speaking, or ethics.    
International Students & Practitioners

INTERNATIONAL TRANSCRIPTS

For international students and practitioners who have completed their college degree(s) outside of the U.S. or Canada, please provide the Office of Admissions with the following information:

  • A course-by-course credential review from an accredited agency, which evidences all post-secondary studies completed.  Please consult agency’s web site for requirements to complete the evaluation. 

  • An official credential evaluation must be sent from the agency directly to the CASPA application service or to the Office of Admissions at 8360 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA  19027.

  • These services are provided by various agencies including:  

    • World Education Services
      PO Box 5087, Bowling Green Station
      New York, NY 10274-5087
      Phone: 212-966-6311
      www.wes.org

ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY

Fluency in written and spoken English is essential for success in a Salus University academic program as well as to help ensure patient/client safety and/or effective communication with members of a healthcare team. Official results from the TOEFL (or IELTS) examination are required for all students for whom English is a second language (ESL).

Exceptions will be made for ESL applicants who hold degrees or diplomas from accredited post-secondary institutions in countries where English is the official language and in which English is the language of instruction (e.g. the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand).  

The TOEFL (or IELTS) examination must be taken within two years prior to the start date of the entering class to which an applicant seeks admission. 

For applicants to the Physician Assistant program, the minimum required score for the TOEFL iBT is 94. A minimum score of 26 is required for the speaking section; minimum of 24 for the writing section; minimum of 22 for the listening section; and minimum 22 for the reading section. Official scores from the IELTS examination will be accepted in substitution for the TOEFL (minimum score requirements comparable to the TOEFL). 
Admissions Selection Process

The Admissions Committee has established policies that include the selection of applicants best qualified to serve the public and the profession in the years to come. Many factors are considered in selecting students for our program, including:

  • academic performance*
  • motivation
  • extracurricular activities and interests
  • related and unrelated work experience
  • personal achievements
  • essays
  • letters of evaluation
  • communication skills, including a demonstrated command of the English language, both written and oral

*When evaluating academic performance, the applicant’s grade point average, performance in prerequisite courses, number of college science credits completed each semester, degree status, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, and accrued hours of direct patient care experience are taken into consideration.

Admissions Selection Process - Physician Assistant Program

INTERVIEW PROCESS

Individuals successfully meeting the required admissions selection criteria may receive an invitation to visit our campus for an interview, which provides further insight into the applicant’s character and motivation, and allows an applicant the opportunity to interview with a faculty member, meet with an Admissions staff member to discuss their application, tour our campus and meet with students.

NOTIFICATION OF ACCEPTANCE AND MATRICULATION FEE

An applicant may be notified of their acceptance as early as August, prior to the desired year of enrollment. Upon receipt of acceptance, an applicant is required to pay a $1,000 matriculation fee to the University prior to the start of classes, payable as follows:
  • Return the matriculation form along with a $500 deposit within 14 days of the date of the acceptance letter. 
  • The balance of $500 for the matriculation fee is due April 1.
  • All monies received above are non-refundable and will be applied toward first term fees.

Immunization, background check & compliance requirements

All students admitted to the Salus University Physician Assistant Program are required to have a criminal background check, child abuse clearance, annual health clearances, fingerprinting and drug screening. Information will be provided by the Office of Student Affairs regarding this process. Students are responsible for all fees associated with these clearance protocols.

Students will be responsible for uploading their required documentation via CastleBranch, an online-tracking system, and monitoring their compliance records to ensure that all information remains current and accurate. Clinical sites which require such clearances may deny a student’s participation in a clinical experience based on the results of these clearances.

As participation in clinical experiences is a required component of the curriculum and a requirement for graduation, denial by a clinical site may result in a delay of graduation, or the inability to graduate from the Program, or obtain certification or licensure as a healthcare professional. 

 

Advanced PLACEMENT or Transfer Credit 

The Salus University Physician Assistant Program does not grant advanced placement based upon transfer of credits for academic work completed at other institutions of higher learning or prior experiential learning. All courses within the curriculum are required.

Matriculating students who have withdrawn or been dismissed from the Program may be awarded advanced placement depending upon the designed remediation plan related to their readmission.

deferment of Admission 

An accepted student to the Salus University Physician Assistant program with an unforeseen, extenuating circumstance prohibiting them from matriculating may request a deferment of admission in writing. The request must be directed to both the Dean of Students and the PA Program Director, and made via the Office of Admissions. 

For deferment consideration, the following is required:

  • A deferment request submitted in writing by May 15, before the August start of the academic year. Please note, submission of a deferral request by the deadline does not guarantee approval.
  • Official documentation verifying the condition.
  • All non-refundable deposit fees and the matriculation supplement must be received (as directed in the University’s official Letter of Acceptance.)
If deferment is approved:
  • Admission will be extended to August matriculation of the next academic year.
  • A deferment will not extend beyond one admission cycle.
  • The student must contact the Office of Admissions, in writing, by April 1st of the deferred admission calendar year regarding his/her intention to resume enrollment.
  • The student will be required to meet with a member of the Admissions Committee prior to matriculation.

If a deferral request is denied:

  • A student has the option to withdraw acceptance from the Program, or reapply through CASPA for future admission. 

For questions regarding this policy, please contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@salus.edu.

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Enrolled students who withdraw or are dismissed from the University will be responsible for the payment of tuition in accordance with the institutional refund schedule. 

Technical Standards

Technical Standards

Minimum Technical Standards for Admissions, Continuation and Graduation

Technical standards are defined as the attributes considered necessary for students to complete their education and training and subsequently enter clinical practice. These standards are prerequisites for entrance to, continuation within, and graduation from the Salus University Physician Assistant program. They are also prerequisites to licensure by various state professional boards. Reasonable accommodation will be offered for persons with disabilities in conjunction with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Students must possess aptitude, ability, and skills in the following five (5) areas:
  1. Observation
  2. Communication
  3. Sensory and motor coordination and function
  4. Conceptualization, integration and quantitation
  5. Behavioral and social skills, abilities, and aptitudes

The functions described below are critically important and must be autonomously performed by the student. It should be understood that these are standards for minimum competence in the program:

Observation

Students must be able to observe demonstrations and conduct experiments in the basic sciences including, but not limited to, chemical, biological, anatomic and physiologic sciences. Students must be able to observe details through a microscope, and observe demonstrations in the classroom, including films, projected overheads, slides or other forms of visual presentation.

Students must be able to accurately observe a patient near and at a distance, noting nonverbal, as well as verbal signs. Specific vision related criteria include, but are not limited to, detecting and identifying changes in color of fluids, skin, culture media, visualizing and discriminating findings on x-rays and other imaging tests, and reading written and illustrated materials.

Students must be able to observe and differentiate changes in body movement, observe anatomic structures, discriminate among numbers and patterns associated with diagnostic tests such as electrocardiograms and competently use diagnostic instruments such as an otoscope, ophthalmoscope and microscope.

Communication

Students must be able to relate effectively to patients while conveying compassion and empathy. They must be able to clearly communicate with patients in order to elicit information, accurately describe changes in mood, activity and posture of patients, and understand verbal as well as nonverbal communication.

Communication includes not only speech, but reading and writing. Physician Assistant education presents exceptional challenges in the volume and breadth of reading required to master subject areas and impart the information to others. Students must be able to communicate quickly, effectively, and efficiently in oral and written English in the classroom and later with all members of the health care team. Specific requirements include, but are not limited to the following: rapidly and clearly communicating with the medical staff on rounds or elsewhere, eliciting an accurate history from patients, and communicating complex findings in appropriate terms to patients and to various members of the health care team. Students must learn to recognize and promptly respond to emotional cues, such as sadness and agitation.

Students must be able to accurately and legibly record observations and plans in legal documents, such as the patient record. Students must be able to prepare and communicate concise, complete summaries of both limited patient encounters and complex, prolonged encounters, including hospitalizations. Students must be able to complete forms, in a timely fashion, and according to directions.

Sensory and Motor Coordination and Function

Students must possess sufficient sensory and motor function to perform physical examinations using palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. This requires sufficient exteroceptive sense (visual, auditory, touch and temperature), coordination to manipulate patients and adequate motor and diagnostic instruments.

Students must be able to evaluate various components of the voice, such as pitch, intensity, and timbre. They must also be able to accurately differentiate percussive notes and auscultatory findings, including but not limited to, heart, lung, and abdominal sounds. Students must be able to accurately discern normal and abnormal findings, using instruments including, but not limited to, tuning forks, stethoscopes, and sphygmomanometers.

Students should be able to execute physical movements needed to provide general care and emergency treatments to patients. The student, therefore, must be able to respond promptly to emergencies within the hospital or practice setting, and must not hinder the ability of their co-workers to provide prompt care. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of a physician assistant include arriving quickly when called and assisting in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), administering intravenous medications, applying pressure to arrest bleeding, maintaining an airway, suturing wounds, and assisting with obstetrical maneuvers. As further illustration, CPR may require moving an adult patient, applying considerable chest pressure over a prolonged period of time, delivering artificial respiration and calling for help.

Students should be able to learn to perform basic laboratory tests such as wet mount, urinalysis, gram stain, etc., and diagnostic/therapeutic procedures such as venipuncture or placement of catheters and tubes. The administration of intravenous medications requires a certain level of dexterity, sensation, and visual acuity. Students must be able to measure angles and diameters of various body structures using a tape measure or other devices to measure blood pressure, respiration and pulse, and interpret graphs describing biologic relationships. Clinical rotations require the ability to transport oneself to a variety of settings in a timely manner.

Intellectual, Conceptualization, Integration and Quantitation

Problem-solving, a critical skill demanded of physician assistants, often requires rapid intellectual function, especially in emergency situations. These intellectual functions include numerical recognition, measurement, calculations, reasoning analysis, judgment, and synthesis. Students must be able to identify significant findings in the patient’s history, physical examination and laboratory data, provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses, and choose appropriate medications and therapy.

It is essential the student is able to incorporate new information, from many sources, toward the formulation of a diagnosis and plan. Good judgment in patient assessment and diagnostic/therapeutic planning is also essential. When appropriate, students must be able to identify and communicate the extent of their knowledge to others.

Behavioral and Social Skills; Abilities and Aptitudes

Students must possess the emotional health required for full use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities associated with the diagnosis and care of patients and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships in diagnosis and care of patients. Empathy, integrity, honesty, concern for others, good interpersonal skills, interest in people, and motivation are all required personal qualities. Students must be able to monitor and react appropriately to their own emotional needs. For example, students need to maintain balanced demeanor and good organization in the face of long hours, fatigued colleagues, and dissatisfied patients.

Students must be able to develop appropriate professional relationships with their colleagues and patients, provide comfort and reassurance to patients and protect patients’ confidentiality. Students must possess the endurance to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. All students are, at times, required to work for extended periods of time, occasionally with rotating schedules. Students must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the practice of medicine. Students are expected to accept suggestions and criticisms, and if necessary, to respond by modifying their behavior.

Admission

Candidates accepted for admission to the Physician Assistant program will be required to verify that they understand and meet these technical standards. Admission decisions are made on the assumption that each candidate can meet the technical standards without consideration of disability. Letters of admission will be offered contingent on either a signed statement from the applicant that they can meet the program’s technical standards without accommodation, or a signed statement from the applicant that they believes they can meet the technical standards if reasonable accommodation is provided.

The University reserves the right of final determination for applicants requesting accommodations to meet the program’s technical standards. This includes a review of whether the accommodations requested are reasonable, taking into account whether the accommodation would jeopardize patient safety, or the educational process of the student or the institution, including all coursework and internships deemed essential to graduation.

The Office of Academic Success and the Physician Assistant program will jointly determine what accommodations are suitable or possible in terms of reasonable accommodation, and will render the person capable of performing all essential functions established by the program.
Technology Requirements

Technology Requirements

The Physician Assistant Program requires all students to have laptop computers that meet certain technical standards and service requirements. To this end, the the Program offers students the choice of using their own laptop or purchasing a new one on their own. As a laptop computer is a requirement of the Program, there is a computer allowance incorporated into the cost of attendance budget, should a student prefer to purchase a new computer on their own.

These devices are to ensure each student’s ability to access required educational websites/databases/software/e-books during the didactic and clinical years. For example, students will utilize these devices to access the e-books currently in use by the PA program in place of bound textbooks.  They will also need laptops to access evidence-based websites for Clinical Problem Solving courses in the didactic year, and Blackboard for taking examinations and accessing course materials during the didactic and clinical year.  

Details on specific Computer Requirements (PDF).