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)
|University of Wisconsin - Madison||Madison, WI||4-year, Public||Master's|| $11,870 (in-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)
|University of Iowa||Iowa City, IA||4-year, Public||Master's and Postgraduate Certificate|| $9,693 (in-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)
|East Carolina University||Greenville, NC||4-year, Public||Master's|| $6,857 (in-state)
|Central Michigan University||Mt. Peasant, MI||4-year, Public||Master's||$11,770 (in-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.