Pre-PA Student Resources

What is a Pre-PA Student? A Pre-PA Student who is in their undergraduate studies and is interested in pursuing PA studies to become a Physician Assistant (ever heard the term pre-med? similar concept applies here!). Pre-PA Students are also known as a prospective Physician Assistant student.

See Recommended Pre-PA Books

Pre-PA Student Resources

What is a Pre-PA Student? A Pre-PA Student who is in their undergraduate studies and is interested in pursuing PA studies to become a Physician Assistant (ever heard the term pre-med? similar concept applies here!). Pre-PA Students are also known as a prospective Physician Assistant student.

See Recommended Pre-PA Books

Welcome to the Canadian PA Blog & Community!

This blog will introduce you to the PA profession, the PA Admissions process and provide tips to help you excel during admissions.

My recommendation is to start with the Basics of the PA profession (What is a PA?), learn about the profession and see if it fits with your long-term goals in a health care career BEFORE diving into how to be a competitive applicant.

If you decide the PA profession is a good fit for you, you can proceed with reading articles and tips on PA admissions and strengthening your PA school application.

Due to the growing demand of the PA profession in Canada, we have added a Canadian PA Youtube Channel, where you can watch Info sessions, and Tips on Admissions, as well as an Instagram community to document life studying and working as a PA in Canada.

You can also join us over at the free Canadian Pre-PA Facebook Group, a group where you can ask questions and read answers from Pre-PAs, PA students and practicing Canadian PAs.

Congrats on taking your first step on your journey to becoming a PA in Canada!

Cheers,

Anne

P.S. You can read about my journey from discovering the PA profession to acceptance into PA School, and see if some of the reasons I chose to pursue PA resonate with you!

Basics of the PA Profession in Canada

Before you move any further in your PA journey, you must understand What is a Physician Assistant? Being able to describe the role, education, scope of practice and how PAs are able to provide patient care is an important first step. I have a few Infographics about Canadian PAs which provide a good summary of where PAs can practice in Canada. PAs function as physician extenders within a health care team, within a unique  PA/MD supervisory relationship.

PA Salaries in Canada differ from PAs make in the United States, because we work within different health care systems. PA salaries d between provinces, specialties,  practice settings and with individual PA experience. I’ve also written about the benefits of being a Physician Assistant, including work/life balance, length of school, continuing education and more.

Scroll to the bottom to learn more about how PAs find jobs in Canada (Under the section “Canadian PA Job Market”). 

There are several steps to become a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant in Canada:

  1. You must be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada to Apply to a Canadian PA program. No exceptions.
  2. Fullfill Admission Requirements: Review the requirements to apply to Canadian PA programs, which differ by school:
    1. You must have 2-4 years of undergraduate studies (university level, not college level)
    2. Meet minimum GPA requirements
    3. Have clinical experience hours (UofT only)
    4. Letters of reference (Manitoba and UofT only) and more.
      ________
      * Always check official PA programs websites for the most up-to-date information on PA schools.
      ** PA programs are competitive just like other health care programs, I list a few articles below on how to strengthen your PA application.
  3. Apply to a PA program and get into PA school!
  4. Complete a PA program at an accredited PA program
  5. Once you are done PA school, you can write a PA certification exam administered by the Physician Assistant Certification Council of Canada (PACCC).
  6. Apply for a PA Job, get the Job and then Practice!
  7. Maintain your PA Certification with Continuing Professional Development/Continuing Medical Education Hours. 

To read about these steps in more detail, see 7 Steps to Become a PA in Canada.

I find a lot of the questions I receive are often ones I have already answered here in the blog or easily answered with a quick google search. So my recommendation to any Pre-PA candidate is research admissions and the profession FIRST. That way when you reach out to a PA or PA student (or any health care provider!), you are more likely to have a higher level conversation with targeted advice specific to you, instead of a question that is easily answered with a quick google search. 

To get you started on how to learn more about admissions, I’ve outlined a few steps you can do to start your research:


Step 1: Read the official Canadian PA program websites FIRST, this contains ALL of the information you need to know. The websites also contain all o the most up-to-date and accurate information about what requirements are to apply. Any changes, or notices to the admissions process, and all dates and deadlines can be found here!

  • Always verify requirements for admissions with the official PA program websites! These requirements can change year to year and information you find online (e.g. social media, infographics circulating on google, youtube videos) may not accurately reflect what requirements are for the current admissions cycle.
  • Any questions you have about admissions is best to be directed towards the PA programs (who list emails where you can direct your questions about admissions).

Step 2: Check out Admission Resources on this Blog! Use the Canadian PA Blog to get through some of the basics of admissions and requirements.


Step 3: Check out resources on the Canadian PA Youtube Channel with interviews with current PA students who have recently gone through the admissions process SUCCESSFULLY, as well as panels and workshops which are all available and free to view online!


Step 4: Check out the Canadian Pre-PA Facebook Group. Here is where you can post questions about admissions and becoming a PA in Canada. You can also find free resources available to the group. Our philosophy in the group is to “Be a mentor.. be a mentee! Help each other grow and lift each other up!”.


Step 5: Connect with PAs and PA students on Instagram. Follow the hashtag #CanadaNeedsPAs or #CanadianPA to see posts from PAs and PA students from Canada! Or you can follow accounts listed on PAs on Instagram. Some IG accounts post helpful tips around PA Admissions season (winter/early spring).

What is helpful sometimes is understanding the difference between a PA vs. MD, vs. NP, or other health care providers:

If you’re looking for more resources (apart from this blog) on where to learn about Physician Assistants in Canada, check out the Top 10 Resources to Learn about the PA Profession in Canada

If you are an American PA-C, you can practice in Canada: Right now, Canada only accepts American Certified Physician Assistants (PA-C’s) who have trained in the United States to work in Canada.

If you are a PA from another country (e.g. United Kingdom, New Zealand, Ghana, India), you would have to complete a PA education program in American or Canada to work as a PA in Canada. International PAs who are not American PA-Cs cannot currently practice in Canada.

Canadian PA programs DO NOT accept International students at this time. You must be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada to apply.

Click here to learn more about options to learn at a PA program internationally.

You can consider applying to Canadian PA programs once you become a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada.

Canadian PA Admissions Info

PA Consortium (BScPA UofT)

Reapplying to UofT’s PA Program:

University of Manitoba Master of PA Studies (MPAS)

Free PDF Download!

Canadian PA Admissions Comparison Chart PDF

Receive a printable PDF with a summarized overview of Canadian PA program admission requirements. 

Download admissions pdf

Life of a Canadian PA Student

Successful Canadian PA school applicants share:

  • Undergraduate Experience for PA School
  • GPA
  • Extracurriculars
  • Pre-Health Care Experience Hours
  • Tips & Strategies they used when applying to PA school
  • Life in PA School!

 

See PA Student Profiles →

Recommended Prep Books for PA Admissions

Whether you are preparing your PA supplementary application, statement of intent, or doing research on how to excel on the Multi-Mini Interview, these are the most helpful books I have found for preparing for Canadian PA Admissions!

View PA Admission Prep Books Now →

Canadian PA Job Market

Join Our Pre-PA Community!

Join the Canadian Pre-PA Student Networking Group on Facebook. Its a community of Canadian Pre-PAs, current PA students, and practicing Canadian PAs answering Q&A!

JOIN NOW →