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School of Health Sciences- Medical Campus Title
Physician Assistant Associate in Science Title with clinical operation tools
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How many applications does the Miami Dade College of Physician Assistant Program receive each year?
 A. Since 2008, the number of applicants choosing to apply to the Miami Dade College of Physician Assistant Program has exceeded 600.

Q. How many applicants are invited for interview?
A. The number of invitations varies each year, depending on the quality of the applicant pool. Since 2008, the School has invited an average of 75 – 100 highly qualified applicants each year.

Q. How many applicants are accepted into an entering class?
A. The Program selects the 45-50 most qualified interviewed applicants to fill the entering class.

Q. What is the deadline for completing prerequisites?
A. Prerequisites must be satisfactorily completed by the end of the fall semester preceding the start of the School’s academic year in late August.

Q. Are there any “flags” that might suggest potential academic difficulties in the Physician Assistant Program?
A.  Applicants’ transcripts are carefully reviewed to identify concerns such as numerous withdrawals from courses, light course loads particularly in the “heavy” sciences, science courses taken more than five years ago, and inconsistencies in academic performance.

Q. What kind of patient care experience will be most beneficial for admission into the Miami Dade College PA Program?
A. Applicants must provide information on both direct (“hands-on”) and indirect (“related”) health care experience, including role or job title, name of institution, name of supervisor, description of tasks, number of hours worked per week, and number of weeks worked at that institution. Applicants should be careful not to duplicate information in each section and to provide accurate dates and hours so that the Admissions Committee can calculate total amount of time spent in each type of clinical experience. Clinical experience can be on a paid or volunteer basis.

The program highly recommends that all applicants complete the equivalent of at least (300 hours) of direct (“hands-on”) patient care experience before entering the program. Examples of such care may include drawing blood, taking vitals, providing personal hygiene care, serving as technician in Radiography, etc. For applicants who are already health professionals, such as nurses, paramedics, or respiratory therapists, the practice of your profession for the recommended length of time would constitute such clinical experience.

Applicants without previous health care experience are often able to acquire good direct patient care experience working as a medical or nursing assistant or aide in settings such as hospitals, clinics, or physicians’ private practices where a wide range of patients are seen and there is opportunity for exposure to numerous types of health care providers. Patient care experience in settings such as nursing homes and private homes utilizing the services of home health aides, offer limited exposure to a wide range of patients and providers and are therefore not as favorably regarded by the Admissions Committee as settings such as hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ private practices.

Applicants often complete a short nursing assistant or EMT program in order to secure paid employment while gaining clinical experience. Patient care experience can be acquired on a paid or volunteer basis, as long as the recommended amount of time is met in an acceptable health care setting.
Related Health Care Experience is considered to be any experience working with patients that does not permit hands-on delivery of health care to patients. Examples include front office clerical work in a private physician’s office, medical records clerical work in a hospital or private office, etc.

Q. Would it be beneficial to shadow a PA before applying to the MDC Physician Assistant Program?
A. Applicants with minimal exposure to physician assistants should arrange with one or more PAs to “shadow” them on a regular basis, especially in a primary care setting (family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics). The Florida Academy of Physician Assistants (FAPA) provides students a resource for contacting PAs who are willing to make themselves available for shadowing.

Q. What kind of references should I request for my application?
A.  PROFESSIONAL references are recommended by the Admissions Committee. The PA program recommends at least one reference from a physician who has supervised the applicant in a clinical setting, one reference from a PA who is familiar with the applicant’s clinical work, and one reference from another health professional who has worked alongside the applicant and/or is familiar with the applicant’s clinical skills. In order to be considered “familiar with an applicant’s clinical skills,” the reference should have worked with the applicant for a minimum of six months.

References written by academic instructors and advisors will not carry as much weight as references provided by professionals who are familiar with the applicant’s clinical skills.
The School does not accept references written by relatives, personal friends, or friends of the applicant’s family. “Character references” (from pastors, teachers, counselors, family doctors, etc.) are also not acceptable.

Q. When are applicants invited for admission test?
A. The selected applicants that are chosen for the next step will receive an e-mail starting anywhere between March until May to come to our Medical Campus for an overview of our MDC Physician Assistant Program, admission test and written essay. After the Admission Tests are graded, the applicant’s scores will be ranked and the top 100 will be notified as to a future date for the interview.  The applicants that didn’t achieve a desired score will not be invited for the interview.

Q. When are applicants invited for interview?
A.  The top 100 will be assigned a time and a day for an interview.  The applicants that didn’t achieve a desired score will not be invited for the interview.  Subsequent to the completion of all interviews for the selected students approximately in the June timeframe, based on all of this information, we will select the next class of MDC PA students that will start August.

Q. When are the final selections for a entering class made?
A. Final selections are made in July, and offers of seats in the entering class are extended in late July or early August. All applicants, whether offered seats in the class or not, are notified of the Admissions Committee’s decision regarding their application.

Q. Can students enrolled in the PA program work?
A. Due to the rigors of the PA program, students are strongly discouraged to seek or maintain employment during their tenure in the program.

All Medical Campus students must complete the FDLE Waiver and Statement form.This form is to authorize dissemination to Miami Dade College - Medical Campus of any national criminal history record that may pertain to you.

In addition, all program students must complete a "background check" through the identified MDC agent and cleared by the 1st day of class. Depending on your program of study an additional background check may be required. In addition, prior to entry into a clinical site, some clinical sites will require more frequent background checks and clearance.

Successful completion of the MDC level two background check process or completion of a MDC nursing/health sciences program does not guarantee a graduate's eligibility for participation in the professional credentialing process or for related employment. Credentialing agencies and health care employers may have additional eligibility criteria not required by an educational institution. Individuals who have been arrested or convicted of any felony crime during the last 15 years are strongly urged to inquire directly of the licensing board in the jurisdiction in which they intend to practice.

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