Registered nurses holding a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing satisfy the prerequisites needed for entry into physician assistant programs. When choosing a physician assistant program, make sure it is fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), which is the governing body for education in the field. Program lengths vary from 24 to 33 months, with 26 months the average.
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California's Master of Physician Assistant Practice is a 33-month program administered by the Department of Family Medicine and fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, clinical experience (1,200 hours is average for applicants) and experience shadowing a working physician assistant. The Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) must be completed before applying, and the applicant must be accepted into USC's graduate school. A criminal background check is also conducted. Class size is limited, and USC reports a 93 percent first-time pass rate, as of May 2010. The program's application process ends in the winter and the program begins in the fall.
Primary Care Physician Assistant Program
Keck School of Medicine
1000 S. Fremont Ave., Unit 7
Alhambra, CA 91803
University of Texas Medical Branch
The University of Texas offers a post-graduate 24-month, physician assistant studies program which culminates in a master's-level degree. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, clinical experience, completed essay (topic is announced and written on the day of the interview) and an interview with the admissions committee. Submission of the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) is also required. Applicants must pass a criminal background check. UT's program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. Class size is limited, and UT reports a 96 percent first-time pass rate, as of May 2010. The program begins in the fall.
Physician Assistant Studies Program
University of Texas Medical Branch
301 University Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77555-1145
University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky's Master of Science in Physician Assistant degree is a 29-month program administered by the College of Health Sciences and fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. Applicants must submit the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) and be accepted into UK's graduate school. Criminal background checks are also conducted. The application process begins in the early spring with the submission of the CASPA and ends in early summer. Class size is limited to 56 students divided among two campuses, and the university reports a 92 percent first-time pass rate, as of May 2010. The program begins in early January each year.
Physician Assistant Program
College of Health Sciences
900 S. Limestone
Lexington, KY 40536-0200
859-323-1100, Ext. 80492
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