International Students Overview
International students are students who are not green card holders or permanent residents. A permanent resident is generally considered the same as a US resident for application purposes.
International students not holding a green card can be accepted to some US physician assistant schools.
If an international student is accepted, schools have policies that may require a student to show evidence of their capacity to pay tuition above and beyond the INS requirements for an I20. Some schools may expect the student to pre-pay tuition for the entire three years or create an escrow account for these funds. Some institutions will accept loans co-signed by a US citizen.
International students do not qualify for Federal Financial Aid, but a few institutions may provide merit scholarships.
For most countries, Physician Assistants are not licensed or recognized outside of the US healthcare system, but a handful of countries have adopted versions of the PA profession. Among them are Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Ghana, and South Africa.
If you plan to practice internationally, PA may not be the best choice for you.
Research Schools and Plan Accordingly
Each school is different, and it is imperative that you check individual admissions websites to view policies regarding international applicants, coursework requirements, financial requirements, etc.
Create a Financial Plan for PA School
PA school is an expensive endeavor. The average cost of attending a 3 year program can range from $50,000 to $200,000. International non-resident students do not qualify for Federal Financial Aid, so consider alternate options. For instance, some institutions offer school-specific loan programs. Additionally, some major banks offer private student loans to international applicants, but you would need to have a co-signer who is a citizen of the US.
The key is to evaluate the available options and have a plan in place before starting school.
Most important, Make Yourself a Competitive Applicant
This really is the key to the whole process. When you apply, it is imperative there are no gaps in your application.