True Cost to Attend Calculator



THE TRUE COST TO ATTEND CALCULATOR REQUIRES A SUPPORTER LEVEL MEMBERSHIP, CLICK THIS LINK TO LEARN MORE!

When it comes to the TRUE COST of your Physician Assistant education, there’s a lot more to consider than just tuition and fees! What about Cost of Living and Lost Wages?

Program A’s tuition might be higher than Program B’s, but what if the duration of Program A is 6 months less and you currently make $30,000 per year? And what if Program A is located in a mid-sized town with a very reasonable cost of living whereas Program B is in the heart of big city USA? Our True Cost to Attend Calculator helps you to easily compare programs of interest by considering much more than just tuition and fees!

How does it work? Simple…

Physician Assistant Program True Cost to Attend Calculator

How do the results display?

Physician Assistant Program True Cost to Attend Calculator

THE TRUE COST TO ATTEND CALCULATOR REQUIRES A SUPPORTER LEVEL MEMBERSHIP, CLICK THIS LINK TO LEARN MORE!

How should you use the True Cost to Attend Calculator?

IMPORTANT NOTE: This calculator was DESIGNED TO BE USED FIRST AND FOREMOST AS A THINKING TOOL. Investing in your PA Education will have an enormous impact on your pocketbook! Therefore, it’s invaluable to think through all of the major factors affecting your overall finances. Understanding how we derive each of the values that result from these calculations will give you greater insight about the programs you’re considering!

  • Estimated Program Cost: Includes tuition, fees, medical equipment, and needed supplies
  • Estimated Living Expenses: Based on length of program and your estimated annual living expenses in a city with an average cost of living. Adjusted using cost of living index of PA program host city
  • Earnings Opportunity Loss: The lower this number the better. Includes missed earnings from current employment, as it is highly encouraged, and even made a requirement at some programs, that you will not be working during your Physician Assistant training AND an adjustment, based on the average new graduate PA salary, for time spent in PA school less than or more than the duration of the PA Program average nationally
  • True Cost to Attend: The sum total of the previous three values

THE TRUE COST TO ATTEND CALCULATOR REQUIRES A SUPPORTER LEVEL MEMBERSHIP, CLICK THIS LINK TO LEARN MORE!

Important Factors to Consider:

-Cost IS NOT THE SAME THING AS Value: This is critical to understand!  Cost is an absolute term. Value should be thought of as “what you get in return for what you pay.” There are many dynamics that will influence the value of your PA Education.  I would argue that the most important variable is the individual student’s effort.  There are several other variables that should be considered as well, however, two of which include the quality and length of the PA Program. Some programs may be more costly, but because of the quality of the curriculum and faculty, the yield in return is absolutely worth it!  One would normally assume that financially, it would be more beneficial to attend a program that is shorter in duration. This is not necessarily true.  Attending a shorter program may be a significant detriment to many students who do not have as much of background in medicine or require more time to process complex information. They may not be able to handle the load, or may scrape by without truly understanding the material, and therefore the value they receive would be poor compared to choosing an option of longer duration.  It’s also important to consider the various credentials that can be awarded.  Although the great majority of PA Program’s now award a Master’s degree, there are still Bachelor’s degree programs, and even Certificate programs. There are definitely advantages to obtaining a Master’s degree, including the ability to work in academia and being without restriction for licensing and practice in all 50 states.  Furthermore, the curriculum of a Master’s program may include content not covered in other programs.  If you know you’ll end up pursuing a Master’s degree anyways, then you have to consider the additional cost that will incur in addition to any Bachelor’s degree program or Certificate program you choose.

-Living Location: The calculator makes an assumption that you will be living in the same city as the location of the PA Program. Therefore, the “Estimated Living Expenses” calculation adjusts for the PA Program host city’s cost of living index. If you plan to commute from a nearby city or town that has a significantly different Cost of Living Index, you should adjust accordingly.  Learn more about the Cost of Living Index here.

-Working During PA School: The calculator makes an assumption that you will refrain from working during PA school. Only in the rarest of circumstances should anyone consider working while in PA school. For example, someone who has a tremendous amount of medical experience, who lacks significant obligations to a spouse and/or children or other dependents, and who is in a working situation that may augment their learning.  And even in these circumstances, the work should be limited to part-time.  If you happen to be that person, you will need to modify the “Enter Current Annual Earnings” input to adjust for your earnings while in school. To illustrate, if you make $30,000 full-time and will move to part-time and make $10,000 annually while in PA school, then you will miss out on $20,000 of income you would have had earned otherwise, and therefore you should enter $20,000 into the “Enter Current Annual Earnings” input. That being said, it’s very common for PA students who attempt to work to quit, or cut their hours back significantly, within 3-6 months of beginning PA School. Therefore, if you plan to work, you should additionally calculate the worst case scenario in case you find yourself in this situation.

-School Supplies and Medical Equipment: The calculator makes an assumption that you will be purchasing medical equipment, textbooks and other recommended resources, and medical equipment of a high quality reflecting what is typically required by most PA schools.  If you know you will be able to reduce your expenditures because you will not have to purchase an updated computer and/or medical equipment, or because you know you can save incredible amounts of money because your a Craig’s list or online shopping superstar, you should consider adjusting your true cost down accordingly.

THE TRUE COST TO ATTEND CALCULATOR REQUIRES A SUPPORTER LEVEL MEMBERSHIP, CLICK THIS LINK TO LEARN MORE!