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.
A.T. Still University of Health Sciences
A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) Advanced Physician Assistant (APA) program offers the most direct path to APA credentials–even without a Bachelor’s degree (additional admission requirements apply). Practicing Physician Assistants can...
- West Long Branch, NJWest Long Branch, NJ
Monmouth’s full-time, 95-credit physician assistant (PA) graduate program will give you the rigorous, hands-on learning environment you need to become a critical part of the changing healthcare landscape.
- Portland, MEPortland, ME
University of New England
Physician assistants (PAs) are health professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. Within the physician/PA relationship,...
- 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...
- 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
- Lock Haven, PA
- Clearfield, 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...
- 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...
- Downers Grove, ILDowners Grove, IL
Midwestern University (IL)
Our PA program offers M.M.S. degrees in Physician Assistant Studies on both the Downers Grove and Glendale campuses.
- Paris, TNParis, TN
One of only a few Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies programs in Tennessee. The program is ARC-PA accredited.
- Greenville, NCGreenville, NC
East Carolina University
The goal of the Physician Assistant program at East Carolina University is to provide a master's degree to obtain a job in the healthcare profession.
- Grand Forks, NDGrand Forks, ND
University of North Dakota
Physician Assistant Program is a clinically oriented degree in Master of Physician Assistant Studies.
- Boston, MABoston, MA
Top-20 program to train PAs in diagnostic and therapeutic patient care...
- Erie, PAErie, PA
A Masters degree in Physician Assistant studies is available through either a five-year undergraduate program or a two year post baccalaure curriculum...
- Salt Lake City, UTSalt Lake City, UT
University of Utah
Practicing physician assistant's can obtain a Master’s degree of Physician Assistant Studies by completing three semesters coursework and a project.
- Loretto, PALoretto, PA
Saint Francis University
The Master of Physician Assistant Sciences program is a two-year entry-level master's degree program.
- Grand Rapids, MIGrand Rapids, MI
Grand Valley State University
The Physician Assistant Studies degree is designed for practitioners seeking a terminal degree in physician assistant studies.
- Winston-Salem, NCWinston-Salem, NC
The PA Program develops knowledgeable and caring Physician Assistants who practice competent patient--centered primary care in..
- Norfolk, VANorfolk, VA
Eastern Virginia Medical School
The EVMS Physician Assistant Program prepares students to provide health care in a broad range of medical settings.