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Helping Veterans Become Physician Assistants

PA Programs That Train Veterans

These physician assistant education programs report that they are using enhanced, veteran-specific recruitment and retention strategies, mentoring programs and/or curricula that meet the skills and needs of veterans.

Arizona | California | Georgia | Hawaii | Nevada | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Tennessee | Washington

Arizona

Northern Arizona University
Phoenix
The Northern Arizona University (NAU) physician assistant (PA) program actively recruits veterans through focused visits with the NAU Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, attending job fairs targeting Veterans, and through presentations and outreach at Luke AFB, Fort Huachuca and the Veteran’s Administration. The PA program Admissions Committee has and will continue to review the admissions scoring criteria to assure that military college credit hours are appropriately accepted towards the pre-requisites of the PA program. NAU’s PA program will provide tutoring services for students in need of assistance. The PA program will provide information to all incoming PA students addressing the availability of opportunities to join the uniformed services including the Public Health Service. The educational curriculum will highlight the Joining Forces program, which is designed to bring attention to the unique needs and strength of America’s military families, focusing on wellness.

California

San Joaquin Valley College Primary Care Physician Assistant Program
Visalia
The San Joaquin Valley College Primary Care Physician Assistant Program actively recruits veterans by inviting military medical recruiters to the campus and also provides a preference to veteran medical personnel in the PA Pipeline Program. The preference provides academic counseling, assists with application preparation including mock interviews, and disseminates financial aid information. The college maintains a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Ambassador program, which provides students information on the NHSC, which offers scholarship and loan repayment in exchange for service at approved sites in underserved areas.

The college utilizes PA preceptors that are either prior or current military medical personnel. A majority (62.5%) of the principle core faculty are prior military medical personnel and more than a third (37.5%) of the principle core PA faculty are NHSC or Indian Health Service scholars or loan repayment recipients. On average, 12% of the entering student class are prior military personnel.

Georgia

Georgia Regents University
Augusta
Georgia Regents University’s Green to Grad program aims to increase the number of veterans in the Masters of Physician Assistant Program at Georgia Regents University by 10 percent. The program includes a specialized set of admission criteria and transcript review that provides consideration for course work started but not completed due to military deployments.  The program also evaluates life skills associated with military members, such as maintaining composure in high-stress environments and managing exceptional levels of responsibility. The program strives to translate military training and experience to prerequisite credits.

Hawaii

Pacific University School of Physician Assistant Studies Hawaii Outreach Program
The Hawaii Outreach Program is both an admissions advantage as well as a clinical rotation advantage. If an applicant meets all minimum criteria required by the School of Physician Assistant Studies, they will be granted an on campus interview.   Similarly, The Veterans Outreach Program provides an admissions advantage to veterans where the top five (5) veteran applicants, who meet all minimum criteria required by the School of Physician Assistant Studies, will be granted an on campus interview. While this does not guarantee admission, it is an acknowledgment of the University’s dedication to veterans and their needs.

Nevada

Touro University Nevada School of Physician Assistant Studies
Henderson
The Touro University Nevada School of Physician Assistant Studies realizes the challenges veterans may have meeting admissions requirements and succeeding in school after acceptance. To help veterans meet these challenges, the school has developed, in partnership with the College of Medicine, a one-year bridge Medical Health Science program.  This master-level program has all of the upper level science courses required by many PA programs.  It is challenging, prepares the student for the rigors of the PA program, and is taught by the same instructors who teach PA students.  Each veteran is partnered with a PA student mentor. Students enrolled in the bridge program are guaranteed an interview for Touro’s PA school.

Oregon

Pacific University School of Physician Assistant Studies
Hillsboro
The Pacific University School of Physician Assistant Studies has a long-standing history of supporting veterans to become physician assistants. The School has two programs: the Veterans Outreach program and the Bachelor’s Degree Completion option.   The Veterans Outreach Program provides an admissions advantage to veterans where the top five (5) veteran applicants, who meet all minimum criteria required by the School of Physician Assistant Studies, will be granted an on campus interview. While this does not guarantee admission, it is an acknowledgment of the University’s dedication to veterans and their needs.   The Bachelor’s Degree Completion Option acknowledges veterans' non-traditional route to the PA profession and allows possible admission without a prior bachelor’s degree.  The program also is a participating institution for the VA Post 9/11-Yellow Ribbon Program.

Pennsylvania

Drexel University Hahnemann Physician Assistant Program
Philadelphia
The Drexel University Hahnemann PA Program offers a number of supports for veterans. Admissions requirements allow veterans increased flexibility during the admissions process; multi-layered student support systems include peer mentor-mentees, faculty advisors and faculty members who are or have cared for veterans; and Drexel University participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which helps cover costs that exceed Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and has an Office of Veteran Student Services, a Veterans Task Force and veterans lounge.

Marywood University Physician Assistant Program
Scranton
The Marywood University PA Program has a strong history with veterans and military members. The program accepts health care hours performed while in the military as health care hours for admission. The Marywood University financial aid department has experience working with veterans to meet their specific needs.

Tennessee

South College School of Physician Assistant Studies VET-UP© Program “Lifesavers then… Caregivers for the Future”
Knoxville
South College supports veteran students by providing targeted mentorship and advice and partnering veteran students with veteran faculty members for ongoing educational and career counseling. Veteran faculty members serve as a point of contact for medics and corpsmen applying to the program. 
In addition, a bridge B.S. degree in health science program is available for medics and corpsmen with 4 years of military medical experience. Information sessions are held with physician, physician assistant, and other military medical leaders and at military medical facilities. 
South College brings visiting professors who are senior military medical leaders to network with military personnel. Alumni also wrok with medics and corpsmen through the "Help Them Help Themselves" program.

Washington

University of Washington MEDEX Northwest Physician Assistant Program
Seattle
MEDEX supports veterans through the application process, with mentorship during PA school, deliberate clinical placement and ongoing alumni communication.  Recruitment has included information sessions on military bases, or if restricted, at nearby community colleges.  Several MEDEX faculty have military experience and the admissions process ensures that they have significant input into veterans’ applications and interviews.  
Once enrolled, students have access to veterans on the faculty for advising and consultation, which proves beneficial if issues arise related to the transition to civilian life.  
In the clinical phase, several VA and military clinic and hospital sites are available for training, although MEDEX also rotates these students through community health centers since these facilities are often ideal practice settings for veterans.  
MEDEX works with all students to inform them of job opportunities upon graduation, and maintains strong ties with alumni, many of whom later recruit more veterans to apply to the program.  
Recent survey results indicate that 41% were working in primary care, often in small-town or rural settings, and 18% practiced in emergency settings. Over the last 43 years, 33% of all MEDEX graduates had prior military experience; the average for the most recent 10 classes is 25%.