Colleges in several different cities throughout Florida offer physician assistant graduate programs that are typically available at the master's level. These programs can be completed in 24 to 27 months and include plenty of hands-on clinical experience. Here we discuss a few of the programs available in Florida.
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Schools in Florida with Physician Assistant Graduate Programs
University of South Florida
The University of South Florida in Tampa has a 90-credit Master of Physician Assistant Studies program that can be completed in 24 months. The first year of the program focuses on coursework, followed by clinical experiences during the second year and concludes with a capstone research project. The clinical portion of the program consists of rotations of clinical clerkships in various areas of specialization, including emergency medicine, pediatrics and internal medicine. Graduates of the program can pursue certification through the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).
Florida State University
Tallahassee's Florida State University has a Master of Science (MS) in Physician Assistant Practice that requires 111 credit hours and takes 27 months to finish. The first year and a half of the program consist mostly of coursework in subjects like clinical medicine, patient assessment, anatomy and pharmacology. The rest of the program includes a range of clinical clerkships for hands-on learning in areas such as psychiatry, women's health and general surgery. The program generally admits around 40 students each fall and graduates are eligible to sit for PANCE.
University of Florida
The University of Florida in Gainesville provides a Master of Physician Assistant Studies program that takes 24 months to complete. The program must be taken full-time and requires a capstone project that consists of a paper and presentation. Students gain clinical experience over a 12 month period in a wide range of clinical settings around Florida, including in rural and urban areas. Graduates of the program are eligible for PANCE and also receive a Certificate of Completion.
Nova Southeastern University-Orlando
Nova Southeastern University-Orlando has a physician assistant program that awards a Master's of Medical Science degree, as well as a dual Physician Assistant/ Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program. The traditional physician assistant program admits a maximum of 64 students and can be completed in 2 years. Students are required to submit a graduate project, which consists of a paper and PowerPoint or poster board presentation. The final year of the program consists of clinical rotations in a range of core areas, such as family medicine, behavioral medicine and prenatal care and gynecology, and one selective area, like orthopedics or dermatology.
South University-Tampa offers a Master of Science in Physician Assistant that can be completed in 27 months. The program requires 12 months of clinical rotations in a range of clinical settings and specialties, including primary care, emergency medicine and pediatrics. The final year of the program also requires a Physician Assistant Senior Seminar, which is included in the program's required total of 174 credit hours. The program does not accept any transfer credit and must be completed at South University-Tampa.
Common Entrance Requirements
Most physician assistant degree programs in Florida require applicants to have a bachelor's degree, GRE scores and a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. Some programs require a specific number of hours in healthcare experience, while other programs strongly suggest it. The majority of programs have an initial review of applications and will have selected applicants undergo an interview process. These programs also typically have various prerequisite coursework requirements in subjects such as chemistry, biology, anatomy, physiology and math. Other common application materials for these programs include official transcripts and letters of recommendation.
There are several different kinds of physician assistant graduate programs in Florida that provide students with at least a full year of clinical experience. Students graduate with clinical experience in a range of areas and are eligible to sit for national certification.