Physician Assistant Programs In Iowa

Last Updated on December 15, 2023 by admin

iowaHow To Become A Physician Assistant In Iowa

Physician assistants are very appreciated in Iowa as well as in all the other 49 states of the US. In a nutshell, physician assistants are skilled and formally trained health care professionals who collaborate with both licensed surgeons and doctors, and who examine patients, order and interpret the medical tests to see if there is any abnormal result, suture wounds, treat minor injuries and such. The first step every aspiring physician assistant needs to take is to qualify for a physician assistant training program that is reviewed and approved by the ARC-PA, or the Accreditation Review Commission on the Education of Physician Assistants.

Only ARC-PA approved physician assistant training programs can guarantee students that they will benefit from the highest level of training quality. In order to be admitted to these ARC-PA accredited programs, all applicants are usually required to have at least three years of health care experience in emergency medical services or in nursing. Although the admission requirements may vary from one physician assistant training school or program to another, the basic requirements are still the same. After being admitted into the Bachelor’s Degree level training program, most of the physician assistants are not satisfied with the entry level position granted by this degree, therefore they choose to take their career a mile further by enrolling in a two-year master’s degree training program.

Both the Bachelor’s and the Master’s degree programs include course topics in patient assessment, patient diagnostic, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology as well as various other topics that are adjacent to the medical field. Moreover, throughout the course of the training, students will also gain hands-on and supervised experience in the final year of study through laboratory work as well as through clinical rotations in various health care settings.

Physician Assistant In Iowa Job Description

Although the exact duties of the physician assistant are influenced by factors such as the amount of experience, the training level, the state where the health provider resides and works or the health care setting where he or she works, there are several basic medical responsibilities every PA has these days.

That being said, it is the duty of the physician assistant to identify both the long term and the short term medical needs of the patient, to assess the overall health of the patient by interviewing him and performing physical examinations, to perform different therapeutic procedures, to document the patient care services, to determine any abnormal conditions by administering and interpreting electrocardiograms, laboratory studies as well as x-rays, to provide continuous care, to develop and to maintain patient management plans, to make sure that the work environment is clean and complies with all the rules, procedures and regulations and such.

In addition to all the formal training which does play a pivotal role in the life and the career of every physician assistant, there are also several notable innate skills and qualities that every good physician assistant must have, such as pain management skills, good interpersonal and communication skills, bedside manners, empathy and so on.

Certification For Physician Assistants In The State Of Iowa

In all the 50 US states including Iowa, all physician assistants must virtually follow the same path in order to get their certification – as soon as they graduate from the ARC-PA reviewed and accredited training program, physician assistants must pass the PANCE examination, or the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination, which is administered by the NCCPA, in order to pursue the designation of Physician Assistant-Certified, or PA-C. This designation is required in all states, and the applicant must log 100 continuing medical education hours, or CMEs, in order to register the certification examination every two years and then to retake the certification exam every 10 years. The recertification examination is also administered by the NCCPA, and it is required in order for the physician assistant to maintain his or her certification active and valid.

Salary and Career Info

The interactive chart above is a visual representation of the annual salary of Iowa PA’s compared to the national annual salaries, all based on the latest May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Physician Assistant Schools In Iowa

At the time being, there are five ARC-PA reviewed and approved physician assistant training schools you can choose from, and they offer a Physician Assistant Certificate program, a Bachelor’s Degree-level training program, as well as a Master’s Degree-level training program. One of the institutions is the University of Iowa located in Iowa City, while another one is the Des Moines University and Osteopathic Medical Center which can be found in Des Moines.

List of All 5 Accredited PA Programs

The accrediting agency is ARC-PA and they have 5 fully accredited PA programs listed in Iowa as of December 2023.

1. St. Ambrose University

Initial Accreditation Date: March 7, 2014

Next ARC-PA Review: March 2029



2. Des Moines University

Initial Accreditation Date: April 1, 1983

Next ARC-PA Review: September 2025


DMU physician assistant students practice at sim center

3. University of Iowa

Initial Accreditation Date: February 1, 1973

Next ARC-PA Review: March 2033


University of Iowa physician assistant students

4. University of Dubuque

Initial Accreditation Date: March 12, 2016

Next ARC-PA Review: March 2031


MSc in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Dubuque

5. Northwestern College


Initial Accreditation Date: September 28, 2019

Next ARC-PA Review: September 2024


M.S. Physician Assistant at Northwestern College