Just out of curiosity, I wonder what caused the sudden recent spike in competitiveness? It definitely looks like the "word is out," so to speak, on the AA career (the internet can probably be attributed to providing much of the exposure). Whereas just a couple years ago nobody nobody knew what the hell an AA was, I now run into old classmates (I just graduated last year)on a fairly regular basis who were previously gung-ho on going to medical/dental school but now exclaim, "Oh, I'm gonna be an anesthesia PA!" when I ask them what they're pursuing nowadays.
One thing is for certain, I really regret not taking a couple pre-reqs sooner so that I would've been able to apply to AA programs before last year.