Gardner-Webb University has applied for provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Gardner-Webb anticipates matriculating its first class in January 2014, pending provisional accreditation in September 2013. Provisional accreditation is an accreditation status for a new PA program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its comprehensive accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation Standards.
Gardner-Webb University will begin accepting applications for its inaugural PA class in February 2013. Completed applications will be evaluated in the following areas: Overall Academic Strength, Science Aptitude, Graduate Record Evaluation (GRE), Letters of Recommendation, Health Care Experience, Physician Assistant Shadowing, and Potential for Mission Match.
Evaluation of academic strength is largely based upon transcripts including course selection, semester load, and cumulative GPA. A Bachelor Degree from a US regionally accredited institution is required and the minimum acceptable overall GPA is 3.0.
Each applicant must have completed the following required courses in:
- Human anatomy and physiology with lab (two),
- General biology with lab (two),
- Microbiology with lab (one),
- General chemistry with lab (two),
- Organic chemistry with lab (one),
- Statistics (one)
- Psychology (one) and
- Medical terminology (in certain circumstances this will be waived).
The GPA for each of these required courses must be a 2.7 or higher (equal to a B- or higher). Survey courses will not meet the prerequisite requirements and online coursework will not satisfy laboratory course requirements. All course work must come from a US regionally accredited institution.
Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
The GRE is required. The score will be weighted but no minimal score is being required.
Letters of Recommendation
Each applicant will be required to provide three letters of recommendation. These should come from a healthcare provider, clinical experience supervisor, and past professor or someone who has known the individual on a professional level. The references provide an external perspective of an applicant’s ability to succeed.
Health Care Experience
Although no minimum hours are required, the program places importance on health care familiarity and evaluates the quality and quantity of an applicant’s experience with direct patient health care. Shadowing experience, although highly valued, does not count toward the total number of hours. Health care experience will be evaluated on the type of experience and the number of hours:
Health Care Experience – Rated by Type of Experience
- Low – volunteering at marathons, blood donor clinics, fundraising for medical causes, after-school programs, coaching, church reader, meals-on-wheels, research technician, lab-based researcher, unit secretary, ward clerk, peer educator, reader or other non-medical work in waiting room or other medical setting
- Medium – medical lab technician, medical technologist, athletic trainer, audiologist, exercise physiologist, radiology technician, phlebotomist, optometry technician, registered dietician, patient care assistant, PT assistant, medical scribe
- High – medical assistant, PT, RT, OT, MSW, EMT, LPN, chiropractor, RN, CNA, nurse’s aide, medic or corpsman, paramedic, OD, and foreign medical graduate.
Physician Assistant Shadowing
The number of hours shadowing a Physician Assistant will be evaluated.
The GWU PA selection committee will evaluate all volunteerism (medical or humanitarian mission, volunteer work in community, etc.) and applies a preference multiplier to applicants with a long history of service.
Completion of TOEFL, with a minimum score of 550, will be required for applicants when English is not their primary language.
For selected candidates, interviews will begin in May 2013 and seats will be offered using a rolling admission process. Since ARC-PA accreditation status will not be known until September 2013, many candidates will need to accept or decline a seat prior to ARC-PA’s decision.