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
- Iowa City, IAIowa City, IA
University of Iowa
The mission of The University of Iowa PA Program is to recruit and select individuals of the highest possible quality for the PA profession and to equ...
- Fort Worth, TXFort Worth, TX
University of North Texas Health Science Center At Fort Worth
As the sole source of an osteopathic medical education for aspiring physicians and surgeons in Texas, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine is unique...
- Fort Worth, TX
- Albuquerque, NMAlbuquerque, NM
University of New Mexico
Administered within the Department of Family & Community Medicine, the Physician Assistant program is a 27 month course...
- Kalamazoo, MIKalamazoo, MI
Western Michigan University
This is a two year graduate level program, requiring a bachelors degree. Students will complete twelve months of didactic studies, followed by twelve...
- Vermillion, SDVermillion, SD
University of South Dakota
The mission of the USD Physician Assistant Studies Program is to help meet the need for South Dakota primary care providers through a program of medic...
- Stony Brook, NYStony Brook, NY
Stony Brook University (S.U.N.Y.)
26 month program leading to a MS degree in physician assistant education.
- Vallejo, CAVallejo, CA
Touro University College Of Osteopathic Medicine
The School of Physician Assistant Studies has the only physician assistant program in Nevada.
- Midland, TXMidland, TX
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
- Philadelphia, PAPhiladelphia, PA
Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)
Our program focuses on preparing PA professionals who extend and complement the capabilities of physicians in the delivery of health care in today’s rapidly changing medical environment.
- Old Westbury, NYOld Westbury, NY
New York Institute Of Technology
Use critical thinking skills to diagnose diseases, prescribe medication develop treatment plans, first- assist in surgery, while engaging in high-tech simulation labs, clinical rotations at leading health care facilities and an opportunity to be involved...
- Old Westbury, NY
- Hickory, NCHickory, NC
Lenoir - Rhyne University
LR’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program prepares highly qualified physician assistants from diverse faith, geographic, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds...
- Pittsburgh, PAPittsburgh, PA
Chatham College's online Master of Physician Assistant (MPA) program is designed to advance the knowledge base of certified phy...
- Galveston, TXGalveston, TX
University of Texas Medical Branch
The master's level degree program is designed in a 4+2 format.
- Brooklyn, NYBrooklyn, NY
Long Island University
Physician assistants (PAs) provide medical care to patients under the supervision of physicians and surgeons.
- South Orange, NJSouth Orange, NJ
Seton Hall University
This 96-credit, three-year program includes courses specific to PA practice that are intended not only to provide students with...
- Bridgeport, CTBridgeport, CT
University of Bridgeport
UB offers an exciting twenty eight month Master of Science in Physician Assistant program full-time on the Bridgeport campus.
- West Liberty, KYWest Liberty, KY
West Liberty University
You will attend classes in a quiet, safe, beautiful campus with new and fully equipped classrooms and labs.
- Birmingham, ALBirmingham, AL
University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Surgical Physician Assistant Program at UAB is one of only two entry-level surgical specialty program out of 137 PA programs in the nation.
- Suwanee, GASuwanee, GA
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
PCOM's PA program provides a comprehensive academic and clinical medical education to prepare students for their professional roles as Physician Assistants.
- Philadelphia, PA
- Brisbane, AustraliaBrisbane, Australia
University of Queensland, The
This program equips students with the theoretical knowledge, skills and professional attributes necessary to become a Physician Assistant.
- Tulsa, OKTulsa, OK
University of Oklahoma - Tulsa
PA program’s curriculum has special emphasis on meeting the needs students of the under served populations and those at risk.
- 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.