Physician's Assistant—Degree Programs
The master of science in physician assistant studies (physician assistant-certified)
employs a didactic approach where students engage in approximately 12 months of clinical
rotations as well as learn basic and medical sciences. Most students who gain admission
to a PA program have a bachelor’s degree and about three years of health care experience
before entering a PA program. Programs are accredited by the Accreditation Review
Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and typically require
at least two years of full time study. In order to practice, PAs must obtain a state
license. All states require that PAs graduate from an accredited PA program and pass
the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) from the National Commission
on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).
In order to be admitted to a PA program, applicants must have experience with direct patient care. Please research your programs of interest to gain a better understanding of what the minimum requirements are as well as an understanding of the profile of a successful applicant. Physician Assistant programs vary in the number of hours and the kinds of experiences that qualify as direct patient care. Qualifying experiences often include paramedic, EMT, emergency department volunteer, orderly, nurse's aide, researcher/technician, mental health aide, EKG/monitor technician, patient care associate or technician, home health aide, medical office assistant, pharmacy technician, medical technologist, medical technician, athletic trainer, veterinary technician, ophthalmologic technician, dietitian, respiratory therapist, radiation technologist, LPN, corpsman, and phlebotomist.