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Physician Assistant


The Physician Assistant Program at RIT is a highly competitive program. The number of openings for all students is limited by accreditation standards. The PA Program requires a personal interview prior to admission to the program. Interviews are by invitation only and not all applicants are interviewed. Not all applicants who are invited to interview are accepted into the program. The interview performance is viewed as one of the most important aspects of your application to the PA Program. Careful attention is given to ranking and interviewing freshman and transfer applicants in comparison to their peers. In addition, the PA Program strongly encourages applicants to have participated in some degree of patient care experience and/or shadowing of physician assistants.

There are approximately 30-36 students enrolled in each class year of the program. Therefore, the number of openings for all students is limited and competitive. All prospective applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) to qualify for admission and must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 once enrolled in the program.

Information on applying on-line can be found at the RIT Office of Admissions website.

The application fee for this Undergraduate Program is $ 65.00.

Deadlines for completed applications are as follows:

Transfer applicants

December 1st for the following fall class.

Freshmen applicants (Early Decision)

November 1st for the following fall class.

Freshmen applicants (Regular Decision)

January 1st for the following fall class.

All admissions materials and applications should be forwarded to:
Rochester Institute of Technology
Office of Admissions Bausch & Lomb Center
60 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, New York 14623-5604

Admission requirements

In addition to the university’s general admission procedures, the physician assistant (BS/MS) major requires the completion of a supplemental data packet, application, and a personal admission interview (by invitation). For more information regarding these additional admission requirements, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions

It also is important to note that the minimum grade point average for acceptance into the physician assistant major is 3.0 (on the basis of a 4.0 maximum) for both high school and transfer students. In order to graduate from the major, a GPA of 3.0 or better must be maintained.

Healthcare Experience

While health care experience is not an absolute requirement for admission, the program faculty highly suggest that candidates volunteer in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice and/or healthcare facilities, as applicable.  In addition, shadowing healthcare professionals (PAs, MDs) in clinical arenas is highly suggested as a means of observing the role of PAs and other members of the healthcare team in providing care to patients.

Transfer admission

Qualified transfer students are accepted into the major, on a space available basis. Prior health care experience and/or shadowing are strongly recommended. Transcript evaluations and rendering of transfer credit are addressed at the time of admission only. Anatomy and physiology courses must be taken within the last five years prior to matriculation to be eligible for transfer. All pre-professional course work must be completed to continue on, or to be considered for entry, into the professional phase of the major. Please contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for information on transfer requirements.

Advanced placement

In the pre-professional phase, advanced placement (AP) credit for liberal arts courses is evaluated and approved by the College of Liberal Arts. AP credit for calculus, statistics, and university electives is awarded, as applicable, within the major. AP credit is not accepted for biology and chemistry as course substitutions. Advanced placement or credit for experiential learning is not awarded for courses in the professional phase of the major.

PA student employment and co-curricular activities

Many PA students work during the first two years of the program.  Most of these students find that balancing academics, co-curricular activities, and working 8-10 hours/week is possible.  Nonetheless, attention must always remain focused on the academic expectations of the PA program, which require students to maintain a minimum term and cumulative GPA of 3.0 (BS/MS degree) throughout the program.  Given the rigorous program of study, students in the professional phase of the program are strongly advised meet with their academic advisor to discuss their participation in outside employment and co-curricular activities.  Students in the professional phase, including clinical rotations, must ensure that employment and/or co-curricular activities do not interfere with academic preparation, performance, clinical responsibilities, and scheduling as per clinical affiliates and program requirements.  Outside commitments that are not managed effectively can dramatically affect successful progression within the program and on clinical rotations.  Given the rapidly changing environment in day-to-day clinical activities and responsibilities, patient cases and/or clinical responsibilities must be given paramount priority.

Service work

PA students participating in clinical service work are responsible for ensuring that those with whom they come into contact understand their role as PA students.  At no time should PA students, participating in clinical service work, represent themselves, take the responsibility of, or the place, of qualified staff.  The exception is when the student is under the guidance and direction of their instructor/preceptor for that given rotation block in which students’ status must be disclosed. PA students are never to serve as substitutions for regular staff and/or health professionals.

Tuition Fee Rates

PA Program Summary of Costs

Aside from tuition costs, there are additional costs that are incurred within the professional phase of the program.  A summary of costs is provided below, but these calculations are current estimates, and are subject to change.

Housing expenses - In the fifth year of the program, students complete ten clinical rotations which require, from time to time, that the student be away from the Rochester area.  Sometimes these clinical sites are within driving distance, but other times, the student will need to stay near the clinical site for the 5 weeks of the rotation.  Because of this, there may be slightly elevated housing costs during this fifth year.  The PA program assists the student in finding suitable housing during this clinical year, but ultimately the responsibility for housing, travel, and food, is that of the student.  Students are not reimbursed during their time on clinical rotations.  Senior students are considered full time during this clinical training year and are responsible for tuition costs.  These costs vary according to the needs of individual students.  Suitable living on-campus (dorms, apartments, etc.) are generally available for average housing fees.  Please refer to the RIT Undergraduate Bulletin and online at for more information. 

Transportation and parking - In the professional phase of the program (years 3, 4, 5), students can expect to be off campus a portion of the time.  The student is responsible for transportation during these years.  Because of this, a car is recommended in the start of the third year, and certainly during the fifth year.  Parking fees may be incurred as students begin clinical training in hospitals.  Car-pooling is recommended, when applicable.        

Textbooks - In the professional phase of the PA Program (years 3, 4, 5), the coursework and clinical experiences are exclusively medical in nature.  Additional textbooks are required in various areas of didactic and clinical instruction.  These additional books and reference materials typically run around $2,000.00, but vary from student to student.

Diagnostic equipment - Each student is required to purchase diagnostic equipment for the start of the professional phase (year 3) of the program.  The student is expected to bring his/her own equipment to classes in good working order.  The PA program works with various medical suppliers to ensure that equipment costs to the third year students will be the lowest possible, while ensuring their quality.  If buying new equipment, it would be wise to wait until this time to purchase the equipment. These items generally range $ 800.00 to $ 1,200.00. This will be a one-time only cost, and these items will be useful for many years to come in the clinical fields of medicine.

PA Clinical Knowledge Rating & Assessment Tool (PACKRAT) Exams - A written competency examination will be given to students in the fourth and fifth years of the Program.  The Physician Assistant Clinical Knowledge Rating and Assessment Tool (PACKRAT) is a nationally recognized competency examination for PA students.  This standardized examination provides excellent feedback to students and faculty regarding comprehensive knowledge bases and problem-solving abilities of the students.  The content and approach has been created to simulate the computer-based Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).   Many students have found this to be excellent preparation for clinical rotations and the PANCE.  The cost to each student is currently $40.00/exam.

Criminal Background Checks - In accordance with various state laws and regulations, most of our clinical affiliates require PA students to undergo a criminal background check prior to beginning a clinical rotation. A PA student may not be allowed to participate in a clinical rotation (s), by the clinical affiliates, based on the results of a criminal background check.  As a PA professional advances in his/her healthcare career, s/he can expect regular criminal background checks and credential verification as part of the participation, hiring, and employment process.  The RIT PA Program requires that all PA students have an initial criminal background check prior to entering the professional phase of the program (year 3) and once again prior to the start of clinical rotations (end of year 4).  The cost to each student for these screenings is approximately $130.00.

Drug Testing - In accordance with various state laws and regulations, some clinical affiliates may require PA students to undergo drug testing prior to beginning a clinical rotation.  These additional authorizations and their associated fees must be completed by the student at the students’ expense.  A PA student may not be allowed to participate in a clinical rotation(s), by the clinical affiliates, based on the results of this drug testing.  As a PA professional advances in his/her healthcare career, s/he can expect regular, random drug testing, and credential verification as part of the participation, hiring, and employment process.

Basic and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (BLS/ACLS) Certification - Students are required to have current CPR /ACLS certification prior to the start of clinical rotations in the fifth year.  This training is arranged through the PA Program in conjunction with the American Heart Association and hospital affiliates.  The cost for this certification is $70.00-$150.00.

Physical Examinations and Immunizations - A history and physical examination (including various blood work, titers, TB testing, and current immunizations) are required prior to the start of clinical rotations.  TB testing is also required prior to the start of the third year. Students must arrange for these examinations several months in advance of the start of clinical rotations. Costs may range from $ 300.00 – 400.00 depending on insurance coverage. Although the PA program cannot mandate that each student obtain the Hepatitis B vaccine, however it is very strongly recommended prior to the start of the third year. Lack of this vaccination may preclude students from most clinical training sites.  Students may obtain this three injection vaccination series at the RIT Student Health Center or through private medical coverage.  Costs may vary dependent upon health insurance coverage.

FIT Testing - Prior to the start of clinical rotations students are required to undergo Fit testing which tests the actual size and provider’s ability to use a respirator mask device that protects healthcare workers from inhaling harmful substances. These incurred costs will be the student’s responsibility and could range from $ 40.00 - $ 50.00.

Optional Costs - Student memberships to the following professional organizations:

Rochester Regional PA Association (RRPAA) - $10.00 annually

New York State Society of PAs (NYSSPA) - $60.00 for the duration of your student enrollment

American Academy of PAs (AAPA) - $75.00 for the duration of your student enrollment

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