Physician Assistant Schools
Physician Assistant graduate programs could help you prepare to examine, diagnose, and treat patients as part of a team in many areas of medicine. Physician assistant schools combine coursework and clinical experiences to provide a strong foundation of medical knowledge. Classes may cover core topics in science, pathology, human anatomy, clinical medicine, pharmacology and medical ethics. Then students participate in supervised clinic hours in several areas to gain hands on experience and prepare for the diverse challenges they may face in the field.i
DID YOU KNOW?
A Physician Assistant is one of the top 5 fastest growing careers with a graduate degree in 2016. Learn more about PA salary and employment outlook.iii
What Is a Physician's Assistant?
A physician’s assistant is a healthcare professional who is licensed to practice medicine as part of a team. These qualified individuals are concerned with preventing and treating human injury and illness by providing a variety of health care services under guidance of a surgeon or physician.
PAs work in all areas of medicine, including primary care and family medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, and psychiatry. Their specific responsibilities and activities depend on their specialty or the type of medical practice where they work.ii Therefore, it's important to consider your interests when selecting physician assistant graduate programs.
Physician assistants typically need a masters degree from an accredited program and state licensure to practice. To become licensed, candidates must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) from the National
Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). A physician assistant who passes the exam may then use the credential “Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C).” i Licensure requirements could vary by state, so contact your local licensing board for details.
Types of Physician Assistant Graduate Programs
Physician assistant graduate programs may be available for experienced physicians assistants, as well as those new to the field. While every physican assistant school may structure their programs differently, most provide one of two types. These are physician assistant masters programs and advanced masters PA programs.
Physician Assistant Masters Programs
Most physican assistant schools offer physician assistant masters programs. These programs are often designed to prepare students for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and licensure. While every program and student is different, most earn their PA masters degree with appoximately two years of full time study.
Applicants to physician assistant masters programs may need a bachelor’s degree and some healthcare-related work experience. Although admissions requirements vary, most require 2 to 4 years of undergraduate coursework with a focus in science. Additionally, many applicants already have experience in healthcare and may be registered nurses or as EMTs and paramedics.i However, this is not always the case, so check with your prefered PA masters programs to learn more.
Advanced Masters Physician Assistant Graduate Programs
Physician assistant schools might also offer programs to help current PAs specialize their knowledge in areas such as clinical medicine, education and leadership, and psychiatry. These programs are typically called advanced masters programs. Depending on enrollment, these PA graduate programs may require 1.5 to 2 years to complete.
Coursework could be heavily influenced by the chosen specialty area, as well as vary by school. Therefore it's important to review each PA programs course list to see if it might meet your needs.
Applicants to advanced masters physician assistant programs may need to hold a current PA license and have some previous experience. However, this varies, so contact individual schools to learn more about requirements, specialties and coursework.i
Accredited PA Graduate Programs
When searching for physician assistant graduate programs, it may be important to consider accreditation. Accreditation is a process of external peer review that recognizes institutions and programs that meet set qualifications and educational standards. Physician assistant schools may be accredited at two levels. First, there is institutional accreditation, which speaks to the school as a whole. This may not only help you assess the school, but be important should you seek federal financial aid.
Additionally, some PA graduate programs earn accreditation at the program level. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) is the accrediting agency that protects the interests of the public and physician assistant profession by defining the standards for physician assistant education and evaluating PA programs within the US to ensure compliance. About 200 programs were accredited by ARC-PA in 2014. Almost all of these accredited programs were physician assistant masters programs.i To learn more about this type of accreditation, and whether certain physician assistant graduate programs qualify, visit the ARC-PA website and talk with schools directly.
Physicians Assistant Schools: Narrow Your Search
Look into great PA graduate programs for you by starting your search right here. Review the list on this page, or customize your search using the menu bar. You could look for a Master in Physician Assistant program using the degree type filter. Or search for physician assistant schools in a specific state. You might also consider online PA programs. However keep in mind, these are more common for advanced masters physican assistant graduate programs.
Whichever physician assistant graduate program you choose, it's important to contact the school directly. Then they can answer questions about applications, costs, curriculum and more. All you have to do is fill out the simple on page form by clicking the PA school's link. Then you could be one step closer to earning your graduate PA degree!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assistants.htm#tab-4 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assistants.htm#tab-2 | [iii] bls.gov/emp/ep_table_103.htm
- 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.
- Clearfield, PA
- Lock Haven, PA
- Coudersport, PA
- 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.
- 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.
- Milwaukee, WIMilwaukee, WI
- Hempstead, NYHempstead, NY
Hofstra's program is designed to provide undergraduates the opportunity to earn both the B.S. and the M.S.
- Bronx, NYBronx, NY
The Mercy College Graduate degree in Physician Assistant Studies is a full-time program...
- Loma Linda, CALoma Linda, CA
Loma Linda University
The Physician Assistant program includes training in primary patient care and emphasizes proficiency, compassion, and professionalism.
- Erie, MIErie, MI
At the forefront of education for PAs, emphasizing professional excellence and leadership through a 24-month program.
- Albany, NYAlbany, NY
Albany Medical College
28-Month Master's Degree Program in Physician Assistant Studies. Sixteen months of didactic instruction followed by 12 months of clinical rotations a...
- Scranton, PAScranton, PA
Committed to excellence in training of students to provide primary care and specialized health care in a variety of settings.
- Marietta, OHMarietta, OH
A master's degree for the Physician Assistant Program is designed to provide the students with growth as physician assistants through course objective...
- Hamden, CTHamden, CT
Quinnipiac University offers a full-time Physician Assistant program. We have been recently reaccredited for the maximum of seven years.
- Wilkes-Barre, PAWilkes-Barre, PA
Five-year integrated BSMS program. Also may enter as a 2 year (24 month) full-time MS program by applicants with a BS degree...
- Atlanta, GAAtlanta, GA
The mission of Mercer University's Physician Assistant Program is to educate patient-centered medical providers of the highest quality who are leaders...
- Harrisonburg, VAHarrisonburg, VA
James Madison University
The mission of the James Madison University Physician Assistant Program is to provide educational opportunities for students to develop the knowledge,...
- 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 Fra...
- Miami, FLMiami, FL
Barry University Physician Assistant (PA) Program is dedicated to educating and training PAs with a focus on primary care.
- Glendale, AZGlendale, AZ
Our PA program offers B.M.S. and M.M.S. degrees in Physician Assistant Studies on both the Downers Grove and Glendale campuses.
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
The physician assistant studies degree program is designed to prepare students for careers as general practice PA's.