Doctor's Assistant Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Almost all accredited PA programs confer master's degrees, but there are a few schools that provide professional bachelor's degree programs in the field. Relevant programs are available at public and private universities around the country.

10 Physician Assistant Schools

These ten schools provide physician assistant programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (In-state, 2015-2016)*
Baylor University Waco, TX 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's $27,270
Yale University New Haven, CT 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's $38,700
Northwestern University Evanston, IL 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's $48,624
Duke University Durham, NC 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's $47,590
Rutgers University-New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ 4-year, public Master's $16,272
Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, private not-for-profit Combined Bachelor's Master's $33,778 (undergraduate), $21,402 (graduate)
Emory University Atlanta, GA 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's $38,800
Howard University Washington, DC 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's $30,545
Oregon Health and Science University Portland, OR 4-year, public Master's $20,412
Rush University Chicago, IL 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's $32,608

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

When choosing a school, here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • It is important to make sure that the program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc.
  • Students may want to explore the internship and clinical experience opportunities provided by the program to make sure that they will gain experience in the setting in which they hope to pursue a career, such as an urban or rural medical facility.
  • It can be helpful to find out what the pass rate is for graduates on the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE) offered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), which is required for licensure.
  • Prospective students should make sure that they have fulfilled the prerequisite undergraduate courses required for admission, which usually include basic biology, chemistry and mathematics courses.

Master's Degree Programs

The most common educational option for aspiring physician assistants is a Master of Science (MS) degree program. In these two-year programs, students take advanced lecture- and lab-based biomedical courses in topics such as pathology, human physiology and pharmacology. They also gain hands on experience with patient diagnosis and treatment methods through supervised clinical rotations in different medical subfields, such as internal medicine, emergency medicine and pediatrics. Graduates are prepared to take the PANCE exam.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

There are a few universities that offer bachelor's degree programs for aspiring physician assistants. These highly intensive programs require students to complete undergraduate pre-PA coursework in the sciences. Graduate-level medical courses are typically included in master's degree programs and clinical rotations in medical facilities. Some result in a combined bachelor's/master's degree; these programs typically take five years to complete. There are also professional bachelor's degree programs that can be finished in four years, but it is important to note that students must take courses during the summer.

Aspiring physician assistants can find a variety of accredited institutions that provide relevant coursework, real-world training and licensure preparation.

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