Physician's Assistant Colleges and Universities in the U.S.

Physician's assistants (PAs) must hold bachelor's degrees, but master's degrees are becoming more commonly expected by employers. PAs take histories, order and interpret tests, provide treatment and other medical services under a physician's supervision.

Physician's assistants support doctors in a variety of capacities, including surgery. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, although a bachelor's degree may be sufficient, a master's degree is the typical education requirement to become a licensed physician assistant.

10 Schools with Physician's Assistant Programs

The following are among the top-ranked physician assistant schools by U.S. News & Word Report.

College or University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 4-year, Public Master's $12,737 (in-state)
$29,302 (out-of-state)
University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI 4-year, Public Master's $11,870 (in-state)
$25,196 (out-of-state)
University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA 4-year, Public Bachelor's and Master's $11,839 (undergraduate in-state)
$34,143 (undergraduate out-of-state)
$16,278 (graduate in-state)
$28,326 (graduate out-of-state)
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $40,670
Wayne State University Detroit, MI 4-year, Public Master's $15,753 (in-state)
$32,370 (out-of-state)
University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 4-year, Public Master's and Postgraduate Certificate $9,693 (in-state)
$25,827 (out-of-state)
Nova Southeastern University Ft. Lauderdale, FL 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $14,454
University of Utah Sat Lake City, UT 4-year, Public Master's $7,222 (in-state)
$22,983 (out-of-state)
East Carolina University Greenville, NC 4-year, Public Master's $6,857 (in-state)
$19,459 (out-of-state)
Central Michigan University Mt. Peasant, MI 4-year, Public Master's $11,770 (in-state)
$17,600 (out-of-state)

Source: *NCES College Navigator

School Selection Criteria

Here are a few critical considerations when looking into physician assistant programs:

  • Physician's assistant degree programs should be accredited by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, which also offers a certifying exam which is required for licensure in many states.
  • Consider the school's reputation and that of its faculty, especially in your area of interest.
  • Consider the practice opportunities offered by the setting and facilities of the college or university. You may be most interested in working in an advanced cancer care center, a hectic inner-city emergency room or a small rural outreach hospital, for example.
  • Finally, look at class schedules and college costs, including extra lab fees and other expenses beyond tuition and books.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are over 180 schools nationally that offer physician assistant training programs. Bachelor's degrees are available, but to make certain that you'll be licensed in any state, you'd be well advised to earn a master's degree.

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