Top 5 PA School Interview Questions You’ll Probably Be Asked
On interview day, the last thing you should be worrying about is “what will my interview panel ask me?” If you don’t already know what you’re going up against, you may find yourself lacking for answers in the interview room. Don’t let yourself get blindsided by the hundreds of potential interview questions you could be asked.
Listed below are a handful of common interview questions. Taking adequate time well before interview day to prepare answers to these questions can save you from poor interview performance. Be sure to come up with stellar answers that you can rely on so you have ample time to focus on other material that may need some extra attention.
1. When and how did the PA profession begin?
If you did your prep work, this should be a no brainer (in fact, you should be able to answer this question as easily as “when is your birthday”). Showcasing you have all the right skills and temperament to be a successful PA is great, but if you don’t know the history of the profession you’re going into, your motives for being there may be questioned (or worse, you’ll come off as unprepared). If you need to review, the AAPA has a great section on their website dedicated to the history of the PA profession.
2. How do you think healthcare reform will affect the PA profession?
During the time you spend preparing for your interview, take time to catch up on current events that are related to the PA profession. Healthcare has been in the news frequently, but if there are any current legislative protocols affecting PA care, particularly in your state, these are things you’ll want to be aware of before you step foot in the interview room. Things like healthcare delivery, changes in healthcare settings, telemedicine, or new opportunities for PAs are important things to focus on as well- you never know what follow up questions your panel may ask!
3. What are some of the greatest challenges facing PAs today?
Once again, if you did your homework, you should be in a good place. Focus on state-to-state regulatory issues, the public view of doubt that surrounds advanced practitioners like PAs, or even issues in your local or state legislature. Being able to accurately speak about current issues shows that you have a high level of outside understanding and enthusiasm about the PA profession.
4. Why do you want to become a PA and not a NP or physician?
Your personal reasons for becoming a PA may be compelling, but they won’t convince a room of PAs if you don’t have concrete facts to back up your claims. Be ready to dive into the advantages of being a PA (flexible career, shorter yet more consistent work hours, shorter time spent in school, etc.).
5. Why do you want to attend our program?
Your interview panel is interested in learning about why you want to become a PA, but they also want to know why you specifically chose their program. Each school is unique so you’ll need to find compelling reasons as to why you chose each specific program. Try to focus on the aspects that called to you such as class size, specialization opportunities, or program structure. If you like the fact that they have a cadaver lab, have clinical rotations at a specific facility, or shadowed under one of their alumni, be sure to include your personal details- just make sure you don’t confuse your programs!