Physician Assistant Programs in Michigan with School Options

Jan 13, 2021

Essential Information

In Michigan, physician assistant programs are offered at the master's degree level and take approximately two years to complete. One school listed in this article also offers a dual bachelor's and master's degree program, which is designed to be completed in five years. Typically, students complete clinical rotations in the second year of their master's program.

Applicants should have a bachelor's degree with completed coursework in such subjects as anatomy, biochemistry, chemistry, biostatistics and psychology. In addition, they are typically required to have 500-1,000 hours of health care experience working directly with patients. Most physician assistant programs are offered on a limited admissions basis.

Central Michigan University

Students in Mount Pleasant can earn an MS in Physician Assistant Studies degree after completing the 27-month ARC-PA-accredited program. Admission into the program requires applicants to have bachelor's degrees and complete at least 500 hours of direct patient care experience, 100 hours of which must be paid. Additionally, applicants must have completed specific coursework in subjects such as biostatistics, organic chemistry, biochemistry, general psychology, and anatomy.

Once admitted, students spend the first 15 months completing coursework in communicable disease, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, diagnostic testing, pediatrics, and pharmacology. Additionally, students may complete a mentorship during their first year, which entails shadowing a physician. During the remaining portion of the program, students participate in 8 clerkships in areas of emergency medicine, family medicine, general surgery, internal medicine, and an elective area. After each clerkship, students must take an exam.

Grand Valley State University

This university in Allendale has a Master of Physicians Assistant Studies degree program that is ARC-PA-accredited. About 48 students are accepted annually, and 12 full-time faculty members teach classes in this program. A bachelor's degree, completion of prerequisite coursework, and 500 hours of approved experience are required for admission. Once accepted, students can expect to dissect cadavers to study anatomy and physiology, evaluate clinical problems and solutions, study clinical pathophysiology, and conduct research. Clinical rotations in areas like family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, geriatric medicine, rural medicine, and pediatrics are also required. Within the past 5 years, 99% of graduates have passed the PANCE.

University of Detroit - Mercy

This Detroit-based university offers 3 ways students can earn their physician assistant master's degrees. The 5-year program is designed for incoming freshmen and awards graduates with BS in Biology and MS in Physician Assistant Studies degrees. No more than 35 students are accepted to this program each year. The undergraduate portion consists of 3 years of coursework and cooperative education. The 2-year graduate portion includes clinical rotations during the fifth year. Students may work with medically under-served populations. The program prepares graduates to sit for the PANCE.

The traditional 2-year master's degree program is designed for students with bachelor's degrees and 1,000 hours of approved healthcare experience. A 3-year track is also offered to current healthcare professionals and other individuals who want to remain employed while completing the program. Some of the classes that students may complete during the first year cover patient assessments, pharmacotherapeutics, healthcare promotion, disease prevention, and healthcare research. Clinical rotations are completed during the second year.

The program is accredited by the ARC-PA. Additionally, the program is part of the Association of Physician Assistant Programs, and students can join the school's chapter of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Wayne State University

Individuals in Detroit can earn a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree by attending Wayne State University. This ARC-PA-accredited, entry-level, professional program can typically be completed in 2 years. Program admission requires applicants to have bachelor's degrees, prerequisite coursework, and 500 hours of patient care experience, among other criteria including GRE scores. First-year students may take classes in anatomy, patient assessments, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. The second year is dedicated to clinical rotations in areas of internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, and family medicine. A preceptorship allows students to train more in an area of medicine they're most interested in.

Physician assistant students may benefit from various partnerships that the program has formed. Some of the opportunities include providing health services to medically underserved individuals and working with children attending Detroit's public schools or athletes in the Detroit Public School Special Olympics program. Additionally, the university offers the WSU Health Education for Longevity and Prevention (HELP) Clinic.

Western Michigan University

A Master of Science in Medicine degree program that trains students to become physician assistants is offered in Kalamazoo at Western Michigan University. The 2-year full-time ARC-PA-approved program receives more than 700 applications each year and only accepts between 36 and 40 students annually. To be eligible for admission, applicants need bachelor's degrees, the completion of 6 prerequisite classes, and at least 1,000 hours of relevant direct-to-patient healthcare experience; standardized test scores are not required. Students can expect to complete 48 credits of mostly classroom-based coursework in the first year and 47 credits of mostly clinical training in the second year. Some of the courses may include patient evaluations, research methods, diagnostic methods, healthcare promotion, anatomy, and integrated medicine. Some of the areas of medicine in which students receive clinical training are internal medicine, women's health, pediatrics, surgery, and psychiatry.

Select physician assistant students may be eligible for the 2 scholarships awarded by the school. Approximately 91% of graduates from the past 5 years have passed the PANCE on their first attempt.

Career Requirements

To work as a physician assistant in Michigan, individuals must obtain licensure from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs' Task Force on Physician's Assistants. The first step to obtaining licensure is completing a task force-approved physician assistant program.

Next, individuals must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). Eligibility to sit for the exam requires applicants to complete a physician assistant or surgeon assistant program that's accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Read on for information about several public and private not-for-profit universities in Michigan offering accredited physician assistant programs, some of which are designed to prepare students for PANCE.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Physician Assistant Degrees Offered Graduate Tuition & Fees (2019-2020)
Central Michigan University University; public; distant town Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies $17,150*
Grand Valley State University University; public; large suburb Master of Physicians Assistant Studies $17,208*
University of Detroit - Mercy University; private; nonprofit; large city Bachelor of Science in Biology/Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies,
Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies
Wayne State University University; public; large city Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies $18,226 in-state,
$37,215 out-of-state*
Western Michigan University University; public; small city Master of Science in Medicine $17,283 in-state,
$31,355 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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