If you’d like to become a physician assistant, there are approximately 200 accredited physicians programs spread throughout the United States. However, before you can apply to one, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree and earn three years’ healthcare work experience (you can earn this by working as a nurse, medical assistant, emergency medical technician, and more)
Physician Assistant Programs
If you’re not sure what school you’d like to attend, the U.S. News & World Report has ranked these schools in the top twenty:
Duke University #1
Did you know that Duke University is the birthplace of the physician assistant program? The first twelve months focus on pre-clinical studies and classes include Anatomy, Patient Assessment & Counseling, Basic Medical Science, Pharmacology, and Diagnostic Methods. The second year of the program involves clinical experiences in primary care along with the different medical and surgical specialties. Students must attend classes on a full-time basis, and they are leased laptop computers to use for in-class and clinical assignments as well as communicating with instructors.
Emory University #3
At Emory University, you’ll take a range of courses such as Introduction to Patient Assessment, Fundamentals of Hematology, Fundamentals of Dermatology, and Becoming a Physician Assistant. You’ll also need to complete 2,000 hours of clinical experience.
Oregon Health and Sciences University #5
Located in Portland, Oregon, this program takes twenty-six months to complete, and the curriculum includes Physical Diagnosis, Introduction to Medical Genetics, Electrocardiography, and Applied Clinical Skills. The clinical rotation consists of Emergency Medicine, General Surgery, Inpatient Medicine, Pediatrics, and Primary Care.
University of Colorado #5 (tied)
This three-year program includes courses in Psychosocial Aspects of Healthcare, General Pathology, Women’s Health, Pharmacology, and Emergency Medicine. The program also offers three tracks:
Rural – This track is designed to give students the necessary skills to work in a rural setting, especially in Colorado and Wyoming. During the third year of the program, students must complete a two month family medicine rotation in a rural community that has 25,000 residents or less.
Global Health – Students enrolled in this track learn public health skills that are useful in a host of medical settings, especially global ones. During the summer of the second year, students must complete a clinical experience in an international setting or with a local refugee or asylum seeker community.
Urban/Underserved – Limited to four students, this track gives them a good understanding of healthcare disparities and the complex role of physician assistants in urban communities.
Baylor College of Medicine #13
The Baylor College of Medicine is located in the world’s largest medical center. Physician Assistant students will complete a thirty month Master of Science Physician Assistant Program that includes classes such as Behavioral Dynamics, Clinical Biochemistry, Electrocardiography, Diagnostic Testing, and Health and Behavioral Counseling.
Rutgers University #16
Located on the campus of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center, this three-year program offers courses such as Microbiology, Biochemistry, Systems Histology, Medical Ethics, and Introduction to Scientific Inquiry. Students can attend full or part-time.
University of Alabama – Birmingham #16 (tied)
At the University of Alabama – Birmingham, students complete a two-year program that includes courses such as Human Gross Anatomy, Medical Physiology, Pathology, and Surgical Diseases. The clinical rotation includes both required rotations and electives.
Yale University #20
At Yale University, students complete a twenty-eight month program that includes courses such as Human Anatomy, Genetics, Dermatology, and Medical Ethics. The clinical practicum includes Pediatrics, Oncology, Emergency Medicine, and Orthopedics.
Before applying to a program, make sure that’s it’s accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. Currently, all of the schools listed above are properly accredited.
If you would like more about the various physician assistant programs, please contact us for additional information.