United States Physician Assistant Masters PA Programs & Degrees
Master Degree Physician assistant graduate programs focus on patient, primary and special care in medical and surgical practices. Physician assistants work under the supervision of physicians, but training typically covers a wide range of diagnostic, therapeutic and preventative health care services which prepares them for a wide range of functions, such as: conducting physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting tests, counseling on preventative care, assisting in surgery, and in most states, writing prescriptions.
A physician assistant is an ideal masters degree for someone interested in the medical field who would like to undertake many of the same responsibilities as a doctor. In fact, it's common for first year medical students and first year Physician assistant students to share the same classes. However, Physician assistants are not required to complete a residency.
Prospective would ideally possess the following qualities:
- Strong background in the sciences
- Interested in Healthcare
- Enjoys working with the public
- Detail Oriented
Some programs may require prerequisite course work, as well as
a Bachelor's degree and GRE or MCAT score. Prior healthcare experience is usually not necessary, but it can certainly strengthen the application. Generally speaking, most physician assistant schools are masters programs, but a few physician assistant doctoral programs exist.
Physician’s Assistant Masters Programs and Curriculum
Physician assistant graduate coursework is usually two to three years in length and includes basic medical and behavioral sciences such as anatomy, pharmacology, pathophysiology, clinical medicine and physical diagnosis. After the classroom and laboratory based learning is complete, physician assistant graduate students must complete clinical rotations as part of
their training. These rotations could include:
- internal medicine
- family medicine
- obstetrics and gynecology
- emergency medicine
- geriatric medicine
Certification is required for licensure in all 50 states. To obtain certification, a graduate of an accredited program must pass the NCCPA-administered Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam.
Choosing an PA School
In evaluating a physician assistant school, important factors to consider are:
- Accreditation: A degree from an accredited school is necessary to obtain licensure
- Pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam: Research the pass rate for the NCCPA Exam at your preferred institution.
- Patient Care Experience: The amount of hands on training offered varies among programs, check with university or college personnel to ensure you will receive an adequate amount of field training.
- Program Flexibility: Determine the level of schedule freedom you need. Many online physician assistant programs allow students to set up their own rotations.
Physician Assistant Career Paths
Graduates of a physician assistant program with a master's (M.S.) or Ph.D. degree might pursue careers as surgical physician assistants, emergency department physician assistants, orthopedic physician assistants, cardiac physician assistants and more.
Physician Assistant Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2012 median annual wage for physician assistants was $90,930. The top 10% of earners made more$124,770 per year and the lowest 10% of earners in this field made less than $62,430. The BLS projects that job opportunities for physician’s assistants will grow by 38% between 2012 and 2022, much faster than the average of all other occupations. The graph below summarizes the median annual salary for physician assistants working in select industries of employment.
- Boston, MABoston, MA
Physician Assistants (PAs) are important members of the health care team, working interdependently with physicians in virtually all medical specialties and settings.
- Houston, TXHouston, TX
Baylor College of Medicine
The Master of Science Physician Assistant Program seeks to develop within each student a strong foundation in the basic and...
- Durham, NCDurham, NC
The first 11 months of the program are devoted to preclinical studies, and the remaining 13 months to clinicalexperiences in primary care and the medi...
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
The physician assistant studies degree program is designed to prepare students for careers as general practice PA's.
- Alhambra, CAAlhambra, CA
University of Southern California
The mission of the USC PA Program is to recruit and train an excellent and diverse student body to provide outstanding medical care, with a particular...
- Atlanta, GAAtlanta, GA
Emory University's PA Program recruits, educates, and mentors a diverse group of students to become physician assistants.
- North Chicago, ILNorth Chicago, IL
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
The mission of the Physician Assistant Program is to prepare and educate physician assistants to provide quality medical care.
- Grand Forks, NDGrand Forks, ND
University of North Dakota
Physician Assistant Program is a clinically oriented degree in Master of Physician Assistant Studies.
- Harrisburg, PAHarrisburg, PA
Lock Haven University
The nationally ranked PA program is a 24-month graduate curriculum, awarding the MHS degree & certificate as a PA.
- Coudersport, PA
- Clearfield, PA
- Lock Haven, PA
- Oakland, CAOakland, CA
Samuel Merritt University
The new Physician Assistant program is offered at the graduate level and leads to an M-PA degree, the first graduate program for the education of PAs...
- Milwaukee, WIMilwaukee, WI
- Lakewood, COLakewood, CO
Red Rocks Community College
The Red Rocks Physician Assistant Program is a rigorous, state-sponsored, nationally accredited curriculum that recruits adult learners...
- Portland, ORPortland, OR
Oregon Health & Science University
Twenty-six month master's level program. First year of the program is didactic phase with the clinical phase occuring during the final 14 months.
- Flagstaff, AZFlagstaff, AZ
Northern Arizona University
Start a career in a rewarding, high-demand sector of health care: join the NAU Physician Assistant program.
- Springfield, MOSpringfield, MO
Missouri State University
This program is a graduate, entry-level, professional study designed to prepare highly competent practitioners.
- Saint Louis, MOSaint Louis, MO
St. Louis University
The primary objective of the Physician Assistant Program at Saint Louis University is to prepare professionals who will serve as valued members of the...
- Miami, FLMiami, FL
Barry University Physician Assistant (PA) Program is dedicated to educating and training PAs with a focus on primary care.
- Syracuse, NYSyracuse, NY
Le Moyne College
The Le Moyne College Physician Assistant Program is dedicated to the education of students to become competent, caring, compassionate, and ethical pro...
- Arnold, MDArnold, MD
Anne Arundel Community College
The AACC program offer students the unique opportunity to attain a Master of Medical Science degree under an articulation agreement with the Saint Francis University or Loretto, PA. We have one of the most diverse programs in the nation, which includ...
- Fayetteville, NCFayetteville, NC
Our Physician Assistant studies are geared toward preparing individuals who will be health care professionals licensed to practice medicine.
- Columbus, OHColumbus, OH
Ohio Dominican University
Ohio Dominican University is introducing the only Physician Assistant Studies program in Central Ohio.