According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical training for a physician's assistant is a master's degree; from there, students can pursue state licensure in order to practice. However, there are a few specialized bachelor's degree options available through some schools as well.
Schools with Physician's Assistant Programs
Physician's assistant degree programs can be found at these schools:
|University/College||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered*||Tuition and Fees, In-State (2015-2016)**|
|Miami Dade College||Miami, FL||4-year, primarily associate's, Public||Associate's, Bachelor's||Undergraduate: $2,834|
|University of Florida||Gainesville, FL||4-year, Public||Master's||Graduate: $12,737|
|University of Wisconsin - Madison||Madison, Wisconsin||4-year, Public||Master's||Graduate: $11,870|
|University of Washington - Seattle Campus||Seattle, WA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||Undergraduate: $11,839 Graduate: $16,278|
|University of Southern California||Los Angeles, CA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Master's||Graduate: $40,670|
|Wayne State University||Detroit, MI||4-year, Public||Master's||Graduate: $15,853|
|University of Iowa||Iowa City, IA||4-year, Public||Master's||Graduate: $9,693|
|Nova Southeastern University||Fort Lauderdale, FL||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Master's||Graduate: $17,454|
|University of Utah||Salt Lake City, UT||4-year, Public||Master's||Graduate: $7,222|
Sources: *School website, **National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Prospective students should consider the following when choosing a physician assistant program:
- Students should make sure that the school is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc.
- Students may want to examine the pass rates for graduates of the program on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.
- Students should research the quality of laboratories and facilities offered by various schools.
- Students with scheduling constraints may want to consider programs that allow for part-time or online studies.
Master's Degree Programs
Almost all physician's assistant programs result in a Master of Science (MS) degree. Students take advanced courses in the biomedical sciences, including anatomy and physiology. They also gain practical training in a variety of clinical areas. The combination of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience generally fulfills the educational requirements for students to take the physician's assistant licensure exam in their state. For full-time students, these programs take two years to complete, but part-time programs take longer.
Undergraduate Degree Programs
Some non-traditional physician's assistant programs confer bachelor's and/or associate's degrees. For instance, one school offers a two-year associate's degree program as well as a four-year Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) program that prepares graduates for licensure. Another possibility is a specialized Bachelor of Clinical Health Services (BCHS) degree, which also includes the same classroom, biomedical and clinical experience requirements as traditional master's degree programs.
Physician's assistant programs can typically be found at the master's degree level, with undergraduate options at only a few schools. When choosing a physician's assistant programs, students should consider licensure pass rates and scheduling options.