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An analysis of the selection criteria for postgraduate physician assistant residency and fellowship programs in the United States

Abstract

Background: This study aims to investigate the admission criteria used by physician assistant postgraduate education programs in selecting licensed PA applicants for postgraduate training in the United States. To our knowledge, there have been no previously published reports on selection criteria and/or other factors infuencing postgraduate PA admission decisions.

Method: A non-experimental, descriptive research study was designed to obtain information from members of the Association of Postgraduate Physician Assistant Programs (APPAP).

Results: Twenty-three out of 73 postgraduate programs (35%) responded to the survey. The study reported that applicant PAs and NPs are largely selected on the basis of several factors. The most heavily weighted factor is the interview itself; other selection criteria perceived to be extremely/very important included board certification/eligibility, letters of recommendation, advanced degree, and personal essay. Survey data suggest that publications, undergraduate transcripts, and class rankings are not considered to be of high importance in applicant selection.

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