Frequently Asked Questions
“I have already begun my undergraduate studies (either at Duquesne University or another university). Can I transfer into the program?”
Due to capacity constraints we are not accepting transfer or second-degree applications to the PA program. Any student with more than 12 post-secondary credits is considered a transfer student.
"Does your program have agreements with other universities?"
Yes. Articulation agreements currently exist with LaRoche College, St. Vincent College, and Westminster College. These agreements allow for a limited number of students to complete the first few years at one of these institutions and then transfer into the third year of the Physician Assistant curriculum. The Admission requirements for students in the affiliation agreements are identical to those for students enrolling at Duquesne University as Freshman.
"Can students with medical background enter the program with advanced placement?"
In the accredited phase, there are no provisions for advanced placement credit. The accredited phase must be completed in its entirety.
“Can the Accredited Phase be done as a part-time student? Are evening courses available?”
The PA program is completed only as a full time, cohort program. Regularly scheduled classes occur only during daytime hours. The Accredited Phase begins in the summer and students graduate 2 years later in August after successful completion of all academic requirements.
“Can I work while attending the program?”
The rigorous, intense nature of the accelerated curriculum requires students to remain extremely focused and dedicated to their studies. In addition, the time demands of the class schedule may require occasional attendance on evenings or weekends. Most classes during the accredited phase are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday through Friday). During rotations, hours are variable depending upon the clinical rotation assignment. As such, it is highly recommended that students limit outside distractions.
“Tell me more about the clinical rotations.”
Students in the PA program at Duquesne University complete their clinical rotations in a variety of settings, including in-patient facilities, out-patient facilities, long term care, and office settings. Rotations may occur at large teaching institutions or small, rural facilities under the supervision of experienced clinicians. Many clinical sites are located in the Pittsburgh area, while others may be located across the country. Students may also have the opportunity to perform clinical rotations in international settings. Students complete a total of eight rotations (each of which are approximately six weeks in duration). Required specialties include emergency medicine, family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, surgery, pediatrics, and psychiatry/behavioral medicine. Students select one additional elective rotation in order to gain additional experience in a specialty of interest. Some examples of elective rotations include overseas opportunities, cardiovascular surgery, orthopedics, dermatology, research, and burn unit.
“What is the tuition, and are there additional expenses?”
The tuition at Duquesne is in addition to fees and expenditures that students should expect at the time they enter the accredited phase.
These expenses are deemed integral to the students' professional development, such as medical equipment and white lab coats.
- Typical costs for all the equipment range from $300-$900, depending on the quality of the equipment.
- Hospitals and other facilities require students undergo criminal record history checks and child abuse clearances; approximately $10 each.
- Students are also required to take an Advanced Cardiac Life Support training course, which costs approximately $120.
- Students are also required to take the Physician Assistant Clinical Knowledge and Rating Assessment Tool exam (PACKRAT) in each year of the accredited phase. This exam currently costs $40.
- Travel, parking, and living expenses throughout the clinical year may approximate up to $1500 depending upon site placements.
- The current cost of the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE), which is completed after graduation, is approximately $460.
Students may also voluntarily choose to join PA professional organizations, including the PSPA and AAPA. Student membership in these professional organizations provides many advantages including educational conferences, networking, and scholarship opportunities. Professional liability insurance for students during the accredited phase of their education is provided by Duquesne University at no additional cost.
“Are there jobs available once I graduate?”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of PAs is expected to grow through 2012 and beyond. The job market is the best that it has ever been and is expected to continue, due to a variety of factors affecting the healthcare industry. Because of the flexibility of the role of Physician Assistants, PAs can fulfill vital roles in a variety of settings. Graduates of the Duquesne University PA program are employed in satisfying, rewarding positions throughout the country, and as a rule, have had no difficulty in obtaining employment. For more information about the national employment trends, check out www.bls.gov