Physician Assistant

Trevecca’s Physician Assistant (PA) program equips graduates to serve their communities through professional clinical practice. Our program is the first and longest-tenured program in Tennessee, offering all new on-campus facilities and clinical experiences in diverse settings.

Program Benefits

  • Graduate from Tennessee’s first and longest-tenured PA program.
  • Complete your degree with a supportive cohort of students who are working toward similar goals.
  • Learn from faculty who possess the highest degrees in their fields and have relevant and valuable real-world experience.
  • Enjoy collaborative and cooperative learning environments.
  • Earn your degree in the nation’s health care industry capital. 

New Facilities

This year as we celebrate 45 years of training excellence, we’re also moving into a brand new facility: Trevecca’s recently completed Health Sciences Building, featured above. This four-story addition to the Greathouse Science Building features an eight-cadaver lab and adds 33,000 square feet of classroom, lab, and other spaces, providing a great new environment for instruction and interaction. This new space gives Trevecca’s PA program space to grow and room to nurture collaboration and innovation. Our new home is a place where future PA students can thrive as they welcome a new era, building on a legacy that revolves around our supportive, student-centric community.

What to Expect

As a student in Trevecca’s Master of Science in medicine program for physician assistants, you’ll be part of a highly respected PA program that’s been growing and succeeding for more than four decades. Continuously accredited since 1976, the superior quality of Trevecca’s PA program exists to help you succeed. Our graduates consistently pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) at rates above the national average. In the past five years, graduates from our program have an average first-time pass rate of 99 percent. 

Before your program even begins, we offer optional, self-directed learning that covers important topics in science to prepare you to start strong. Once you are in the program, our curriculum prepares you to provide patient-centered health care in diverse populations and settings. You’ll be taught the ethical, legal and regulatory standards you need to be part of an interprofessional, collaborative team. You’ll also have the opportunity for in-lab learning with eight cadavers exclusively used by PA students. 

The program is divided into two phases: didactic and clinical. During the didactic phase, you’ll spend 15 months in courses on medical science and clinical medicine. You’ll then move on to a 12-month period in which you’ll participate in 8 six-week rotations in the following areas: family medicine I and II, pediatrics, behavioral and mental health, internal medicine, emergency medicine, general surgery and an area of your choosing.

Why Choose Trevecca?

Founded in 1901 and a leader in online education for more than two decades, Trevecca has been recognized nationally and locally for providing our students with the highest level of academic quality and rigor. We offer a holistic education focused on the intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual health of all the students in our diverse student body. 

As a Christian university, we offer programs that explore the ways faith and health care intersect. Our PA program prioritizes compassion, integrity and a biblical worldview. Throughout the program, you’ll participate in learning experiences at local organizations that reach Nashville’s medically underserved and homeless population. Our program also offers opportunities for clinical experiences at faith-based clinics in both urban and rural settings. If you are interested in medical missions, you’ll have opportunities to participate in foreign mission trips and clinical rotations in settings around the world. Students have served in a number of countries including Ghana, Zambia, Swaziland and Haiti.

Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Get details on all the courses you’ll complete as you work toward this degree at Trevecca.

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Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Nearly every student at Trevecca receives some form of assistance in paying for college. Learn all about the affordability of a TNU education and options for receiving aid.

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Class of 2024 Tuition & Costs

 

$650/Credit hour 142 total credit hours $92,300
Semester 1 14 credit hours $13,185
Semester 2 26 credit hours $13,185
Semester 3 27 credit hours $13,185
Semester 4 26 credit hours $13,185
Semester 5 18 credit hours $13,185
Semester 6 18 credit hours $13,185
Semester 7 13 credit hours $13,185

 

Medical instruments and lab coats are additional costs to the above tuition package per student selection.

*Disclaimer: Tuition & costs are subject to change.

Admissions Requirements

The physician assistant program aims to develop graduates who can function as fully competent physician assistants and who are capable of fulfilling the Hippocratic duty “to benefit and do no harm.” As a result, it is important that individuals admitted to the program possess the intelligence, integrity, compassion, humanitarian concern and physical and emotional capacity necessary to practice medicine. The admissions process includes requirements in academics, patient care, PA shadowing, submission of references and completion of the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) application.

Due to continued restrictions related to COVID-19, the Admissions Committee at Trevecca's PA program has updated its admissions policy addendum as of February 2022. These updated policies supersede all previous COVID-19 policy addendums.

1. Academics

  • GPA requirement, cumulative undergraduate: 3.25 or greater
  • GPA requirement, cumulative science: 3.25 or greater on all coursework 
  • GRE minimum score: 300 from a combined best score in the verbal and quantitative sections of the test (writing component not included).
    - An official test score must be submitted directly to CASPA (use code #0532) prior to October 1. Without an officially posted score, the application will not be reviewed. These scores are believed to indicate sufficient academic ability for successful completion of the program. We do not include the written portion of the test in the required 300 or greater score.
  • While any undergraduate major is acceptable, it is recommended that applicants supplement any degree outside of biology or chemistry with additional upper-level science courses to present themselves most competitive. Accepted applicants average 3-4 additional upper-level science courses.

Due to a large number of applicants, not all students meeting the minimum requirements will receive an interview. Candidates should endeavor to obtain the highest GPA and GRE scores possible. With any grade lower than a B, the applicant should retake the course in order to reflect mastery of the material and a capability to succeed within a rigorous program. Entering students of the last three years have significantly exceeded the minimum requirements. For example, the statistics for the cohort of 2021 include the following scores:

  • General GPA 3.7
  • Science GPA 3.76
  • BCP GPA (Bio/Chem/Physics) 3.6 
  • GRE combined score of 307
Prerequisite courses

Applicants must successfully complete all of the following program prerequisites, regardless of the undergraduate degree or major. 

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology with lab – 8 hours
  • General Chemistry I and II with lab – 8 hours
  • Microbiology with lab - 3 or 4 hours
  • General Psychology – 3 hours
  • Developmental Psychology (Growth and Development or Lifespan) – 3 hours
  • Medical Terminology – minimum 1 hour/certificate

No online or hybrid science prerequisites will be accepted. Science courses labeled as "survey" or "introductory" will not be accepted (for clarification, please contact us for approval). You may only use online course options to complete psychology requirements and/or medical terminology. (See COVID Policy Addendum for exceptions.)

Abnormal psychology cannot be substituted for the developmental psychology prerequisite. Child development or lifespan psychology is considered a substitute for developmental psychology. It is important that normal psychological development across the lifespan be covered in the course. We do not accept immunology, genetics, or cellular & molecular biology for the microbiology prerequisite, although these classes are recommended as additional courses. Mammalian anatomy can satisfy the human anatomy requirement.

Due to the competitiveness of the selection process, all applicants are encouraged to take as many additional upper-level science courses as possible. Not only do the courses provide information on academic performance, but they also assist in preparation for the rigorous program. The successful completion of these additional courses will assist in your competitiveness.

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Immunology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular or Cellular Biology
  • Biochemistry

Expiration of science courses: Any science prerequisite class taken seven years prior to the month of May of your matriculate year will require a refresher course. A refresher course is qualified by repeating the full course or, in the case of a two-semester course, repeating at least one-half of the course. An applicant may only be exempt from taking a refresher course if they have consistently worked in an academic or commercial setting (as a chemist or biologist--see below), where the material covered in the course was utilized on a routine basis. A description of specific course exemptions is included below. When in question, repeating the course is recommended. Please contact the program for clarification on specific courses if needed.

Science prerequisites with their exemption criteria:

  • Chemistry: Academic or Commercial Chemist 
  • Anatomy/Physiology: Academic or Commercial Human Biologist
  • Microbiology: Academic or Commercial Biologist/Microbiologist

Pending courses: For an applicant to present themselves most competitively, it is mandatory that two or fewer required science courses be pending for the spring semester prior to matriculation. This allows the admissions committee the ability to accurately assess the applicant’s academic performance at the time of an interview.

2. Patient care

All applicants must log at least 250 hours of direct patient care. All direct patient care hours must be logged at the time of submitting your application. This allows the admissions committee to process your application at first review and schedule earlier interviews. In the opinion of the PA program faculty, past medical experience provides a framework upon which students can build and facilitate the expansion of medical knowledge. We do not accept updates sent directly to the program. 

Positions that qualify for direct patient care hours include: medical assistant, patient care technician, surgical technician, first assistant, scribe, CNA, LPN, RN, EMT/paramedic, OT/PT or OT asst./PT asst., AT-C, phlebotomist, RT, ER technician, lab technician (if phlebotomy or direct patient care is the majority of job description), clinical pharmacy technician (with high percentage of patient exposure) and clinical dietician. 

Positions that do not qualify are personal care assistant, pharmacy technician without clinical exposure, unit clerk, camp counselor, counselor and social worker. Clinical hours obtained while working towards a prior degree are not to be submitted in the application as direct patient care. Direct patient care hours should be obtained while an employee in one of the above accepted clinical positions. In addition, we will accept hours accrued under “volunteer” status in any of the above, accepted position titles. 

3. Shadowing

Shadowing of physician assistants is required for admission. Applicants should log a minimum of 10 hours at the time of application. This provides sufficient insight as to the role and duties of practicing physician assistants and is believed to be an accurate indicator of an individual’s desire and commitment to the profession. Shadowing may be logged from multiple physician assistants. All hours logged should be obtained via direct clinical observation and not on the basis of a personal relationship. Mission field shadowing may be utilized as long as you were working alongside a PA in a medical setting. Please do not duplicate shadowing hours as direct patient care hours. The program will not accept hour updates via email.

4. References

A total of three recommendations is required. One recommendation must be from a physician assistant. This PA should be one whom the applicant has worked alongside in a clinical setting through observation, shadowing or prior work experience.

5. Background statement

Through the CASPA portal, an applicant must self-report any misdemeanor, felony, and/or dismissals. If at a later time an incident is discovered that was not reported, the applicant is subject to possible revoking of an offer or acceptance into Trevecca’s PA program. A certified background check will also be performed prior to matriculation and any positive report is also cause for the revoking of an offer or acceptance.

How to apply

The PA program utilizes the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Students who wish to apply to the physician assistant program must submit the application and documentation to CASPA.

  • Early applicants should apply as early as possible upon opening of the application cycle in April. Remember that all shadowing and direct patient care hours must be logged at the time of submitting your application.
  • Applications must have a completed status in CASPA by October 1 and must include the following documentation. If you have questions as to status determination per CASPA, please notify its help desk for clarification.
    1. Official transcripts from all schools attended. DO NOT send transcripts to the program during the application process.
    2. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation. One recommendation must be completed by a physician assistant.
    3. An official score from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) must be logged on the CASPA application prior to October 1. The Designated Institution Code for Trevecca Nazarene University is #0532.
    4. Applicants must submit all transcripts and scores directly to CASPA. If you are offered a seat in the program an official transcript will be requested in the spring prior to matriculation.
  • No advanced placement is given to any student regardless of academic background.
  • No transfers of PA students are considered.
  • Questions? Contact the PA Admissions office at (615) 248-1303 or tvines@trevecca.edu to reach Teresa Vines, PA admissions coordinator.
  • For questions concerning the CASPA application process, please contact CASPA directly at 240-497-1985 or e-mail apply@caspaonline.org.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take an examination of their English language ability. The test required is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). See International students section below for score requirements.

International students

Trevecca welcomes international students to apply to our program. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take an examination of their English language ability. The test required is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and a minimum score of 550 is required on the paper-based test and 213 on the computer-based test. On the computer-based TOEFL, we require a total score of 80 with 20 on each section (listening, speaking, reading and writing).

You are also required to submit your foreign coursework to a US-based evaluation service for a course-by-course US equivalency report. This report should then be sent directly to CASPA from the evaluation service. We recommend you contact a foreign transcript evaluation service as early as possible. Services can take several weeks to process your transcript(s) once received. The following are foreign evaluation vendors our applicants have used in the past. This list is not all-inclusive and we do not recommend or endorse any particular vendor or service. 

All regular admission requirements must be completed. Fifteen (15) semester hours must be completed in a United States accredited institution. Nine of the 15 hours must be prerequisite science courses. Trevecca’s Certification of Financial Support must be on file at the time an I-20 form is issued. International students will have the same financial policy applied to them as any other student does. Only international students with a valid immigration student status of F-1 will be permitted to register.

 

Information Sessions

  • March 30 at 10 a.m.
    Virtual Session
  • April 25 at 12 p.m.
    Virtual Session
  • April 27 at 12 p.m.
    Quick Lecture Hall, Nashville Campus

For questions, please contact Mason Mitchell at mcmitchell@trevecca.edu.

The program is divided between two phases:

Didactic phase: Consists of 15 months of basic medical science and clinical medicine courses.

Clinical phase: Consists of 8 six-week rotations to be completed in a 12-month period.

Required rotations are Family Medicine I and II, Pediatrics, Behavioral and Mental Health, Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine and General Surgery. Each student will complete an eighth elective rotation in an area of their choosing. It is expected that students accepting admission to the PA Program will accept rotation assignments where and when they are available. Reliable transportation is required. All expenses related to travel, meals and lodging during rotations are the responsibility of the student. Financial planning in this area is important.

Students are discouraged from employment while in the PA program. Working often interferes with learning opportunities. Requesting time off or adjustments to the PA program schedule demonstrates a lack of motivation and interest and may jeopardize the quality of your educational experience.

Accreditation

Trevecca’s physician assistant program has maintained continuous accreditation since its inception more than 40 years ago. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the physician assistant program of Trevecca Nazarene University, sponsored by Trevecca Nazarene University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2023. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.


The program's accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website here:
http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-trevecca-nazarene-university/

Trevecca physician assistant students consistently score above the national average on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). View Trevecca's National Certifying Examination Five-Year First Time Taker Summary Report here.

Here is more information about our exam results: 

  • Congratulations to the class of 2021 for their 100% first-time taker pass rate. 
  • Classes of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2021 each achieved a first-time taker pass rate of 100%.

Pass rates of first-time test takers

5-year national average:
95%

5-year average for Trevecca graduates:
99%

 

 

Graduated Classes

Current Classes

Class of 2018

Class of 2019

Class of 2020

Class of 2021

Class of 2022

Class of 2023

Maximum entering class size (as approved by ARC-PA)

50

50

50

50

50

50

Entering class size

48

51

54

45

50

51

Graduates

43

46

53

44

 

 

*Attrition rate

0.104

0.098

0.018

0.022

0.060

0

**Graduation rate

0.895

0.902

0.981

0.977

TBD

TBD

 

Footnotes:
*Attrition rate calculation: Number of students who attritted from cohort divided by the entering class size.
**Graduation rate: Number of cohort graduates divided by the entering class size.

Comments:

  • Class of 2019 entering class sizes includes 46 new students and 2 reentering students from the class of 2017
  • Class of 2019 entering class size includes 48 new students and 3 reentering students from the class of 2018
  • Class of 2020 entering class size includes 50 new students and 4 reentering students from the class of 2019
  • Class of 2021 entering class size includes 45 new students
  • Class of 2022 entering class size includes 50 new students
  • Class of 2023 entering class size includes 50 new students and 1 reentering student from the class of 2022

Class of 2022 and class of 2023 attrition rates are as of 1/26/2022.

Program Goals

The goals of Trevecca’s PA program are as follows.

  • Prepare professionally competent Physician Assistants for entry into clinical practice.
  • Maintain a level of first-time PANCE pass rates above the national average.
  • Prepare physician assistants who will use their skills in compassionate ministry/service.   
    • Trevecca’s didactic PA students participate in learning experiences with Nashville organizations serving the local medically underserved and homeless population.  
    • Trevecca’s PA students have opportunities to complete clinical rotations with Christian Community Health Fellowship (CCHF) during the clinical phase of the program.  
    • Trevecca’s PA students interested in medical missions have opportunities to participate in foreign mission trips and clinical rotations in settings around the world. Students have served in a number of countries, including Ghana, Zambia, Swaziland and Haiti.
    • Trevecca’s PA graduates have gone on to serve at multiple non-profit medical clinics and sites such as Faith Family Medical Clinic in Nashville, Siloam Family Health Center in Nashville, Christ Community in Memphis, and a facility in the Dominican Republic.
  • Prepare physician assistant students to provide patient-centered health care to patients from diverse populations with a commitment to the ethical, legal and regulatory standards as part of an interprofessional collaborative team.  
    • The program’s curriculum is designed to facilitate the development of these skill sets in our students with courses such as Medical Ethics, Introduction to the Profession and Medical Communications, and incorporating Inter-Professional Education (IPE) experiences and assessments throughout the student’s tenure in the program.

Preceptors

Trevecca partners with medical professionals who can offer hands-on training to PA students. Locally licensed physician assistants, nurse practitioners, doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathic medicine are invited to apply to serve as clinical preceptors

Why be a preceptor?

  • Invest in the next generation of health care providers
  • Become eligible as a regular preceptor to receive a precepting stipend
  • Evaluate possible future employees
  • Add an educational component to your CV
  • Serve in a guest lecturing role in the classroom
  • Earn CME credits
  • Add energy and enthusiasm to your practice through student participants

What are the responsibilities?

  • “See one. Do one. Teach one.” Introduce students to new skills and procedures
  • Offer training to master’s-level PA students for a six-week clinical rotation
  • Provide feedback on student performance
  • Share opportunities and knowledge gained during practice
  • Be an example of professionalism
  • Grow a student’s communication skills
  • Connect students with professionals in other areas
  • Set the student’s schedule based on the provider’s schedule

What sets Trevecca’s PA program apart?

Trevecca is home to the first and longest-running Physician Assistant Master of Science in Medicine degree in Tennessee. Continuously accredited since 1976, the University has graduated more than 1,000 students who’ve gone on to serve successfully in a variety of health care careers. Our program emphasizes both academic excellence and a mindset of compassion and integrity.

Throughout the last five years, the average first-time PANCE pass rate for Trevecca students has been 99 percent. In recent years our graduates have scored above the national average on every organ system section of the exam.

Pre-PA Pathway

Trevecca offers a Pre-PA Pathway that allows students to tailor their undergraduate academic experience in order to prepare a competitive PA school application and maximize success in Trevecca’s PA program. Program coursework meets the prerequisites for the University’s PA program and provides additional coursework to promote success. This pathway consists of the courses required for a major in biology with a minor in chemistry, along with defined upper-level electives focused on building a solid foundation for PA education.

If you are interested in applying or have additional questions, please email Teresa Vines, PA program admissions coordinator, at tvines@trevecca.edu.

Trevecca campus tour

Career Opportunities

The demand for the occupation of physician assistant is projected to continue growing for many years. As a graduate of our PA program, you’ll be ready to advance your career and tap into higher earning potential. Your degree will position you to serve as a PA in any medical setting, including:

  • Outpatient, inpatient, surgical, and emergency/acute care
  • General practice or specialty care, serving patients across the lifespan
  • International and compassionate medical ministry
  • Leadership, advocacy, education, and research

I could not be more grateful for my experience at Trevecca. The program not only provided me with the medical skills and knowledge to become a competent PA, but it expanded my ability to face challenges, deepened my faith, gave me lifelong friendships and ultimately helped me become a better version of myself.”

Jocelyn Benton Trevecca PA graduate

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