Choosing a physician assistant school or program in the United States of America may as well turn out to be more challenging than you have initially thought – and for a good reason, keeping in mind that there are more than 291 accredited PAEA schools all over the country. PAEA stands for Physician Assistant Education Association-approved programs, and if a school has received this accreditation, then it means that it has managed to rise to the highest standards of quality set in the education industry.
On the other hand, ARC-PA approved physician assistant schools are also very important, if you have decided to pursue a career in this field. Having said that, if you want to do your research and find the best PA school in the US, yet you do not know where to start from, then here you will find some truly useful tips and hints that will come in handy, along with a comprehensive list of the top 19 best physician assistant schools.
Things To Consider When Choosing Your PA School
If you are still in high school and you have decided to pursue a career as a physician assistant in the health care industry, then the first thing you need to do is to become familiar with the basic pre-requisites and admission requirements that most physician assistant schools require from their students nowadays.
Once you have done that, it is important to weigh your options and to decide between University associated programs and Community programs – in spite of the fact that both of them are great for getting basic education as a PA, there are some slight differences between the two. Most of the physician assistant programs are offered by universities, and the difference between community physician assistant schools and universities is that even though you will get good basic education, you will not get too much hands-on experience neither will you get to interact with too many pharmacy, medical or physical therapy students throughout the course of your studies, unlike it happens in most universities these days. Social interaction with people from other specialties similar to yours or from other adjacent fields is vital for every future physician assistant.
In addition to this, it is also important to become familiar with the degree requirements. Most of the physician assistants these days start off with an associate-level degree, as this is the easiest and fastest degree they can get. Within as little as one month, those who do get an associate’s degree can slowly start to work their way to the top of their careers. Baccalaureate degrees and Master’s degrees programs are also very sought-after these days: as a matter of fact, approximately 90% of the medical colleges and universities n the US offer master’s level degrees, while only around 1% of them offer certificates. Some dual degree programs may be available as well, although statistically speaking around half of these programs require a bachelor’s degree for admission.
In spite of the fact that associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees are generally a good way to start a career in the field, there are some certificate programs that might be equally useful for those who have decided to work as physician assistants. One of the benefits of opting for a certificate-level PA program is that you do not need to obtain a master’s degree in order to become a PA-C, or a certified physician assistant. The only thing you need to do in order to earn this credential is to pass the PANCE examination, which is basically the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam. Certificate programs for physician assistants last for around two years (25 months, on average).
Another thing future PAs should take into account is an online or distance physician assistant training program. These programs can help PAs save a lot of time, money and headaches, especially if they live in rural areas with no PA training schools nearby, and they are not willing to or cannot relocate. There are several competitive online PA schools, and the admission requirements are virtually the same as those that apply to every live school – you do need to have some basic hands-on experience prior to your admission. For instance, the University of Wisconsin School of Public Health and Medicine is one of the most reputable and trustworthy online PA schools you can opt for. The University of North Dakota also offers an online training program for those who want to pursue a career as physician assistants and who cannot attend full-time live classes.
Top 19 Best Physician Assistant Schools In The United States of America
If you have decided to start your research and find the PA training school that best meets your needs, then here you will find a comprehensive list of 20 of the physician assistant training schools that are widely considered to be the best ones in the United States of America:
One of the best physician assistant schools you can possibly opt for in the US is the Emory University, located in Atlanta. Here you can enjoy in-depth, theoretical and practical training that will surely come in handy in the long run. Nonetheless, it is important that the admission requirements are quite harsh and competitive at the same time, just like they are with any other reputable medical school in the US!
What truly makes the George Washington University in Washington D.C. stand out from the rest is the fact that there are more than one thousand assistants that are alumni here!
Located in Wilkes-Barre, the King’s College is yet another trustworthy and reputable physician assistant school that you can count on, in order to receive top-notch practical and theoretical training. The school stands out through its speedy five-year accelerated Bachelor of Science or Master of Science degree programs in Physician Assistant Studies!
Another great physician assistant school is the Philadelphia University, which has a major-related employment rate for its graduates that exceeds 90%.
This particular physician assistant training school offers an innovative joint Master of Science and Bachelor of Science in Biology training program, and it will certainly help you save a lot of time!
Located in Stony Brook, New York, the Stony Brook University has an outstanding first-time pass rate for the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam, one of the most important examinations in the life of every PA. Here, the pass rate is of around 97%!
Located in Gainsville, Florida, the University of Florida is the only state funded graduate PA program in the state!
Located in the Iowa City, the University of Iowa is ranked within the top three most trustworthy and appreciated physician assistant schools in the United States of America.
The University of Yale is famous all over the world, and for a good reason. Located in New Haven, this is one of the best PA schools you can opt for.
Found in Salt Lake City, Utah, the University of Utah is one of the oldest and most reputable PA training programs in the United States of America.
Another great PA program that is worth looking into is the Duke University, located in the city of Durham.
Ranked at 4.0 on a scale of 5.0 in terms of education quality, the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas is a great school for future physician assistants to get their basic training.
Another great choice is the Oregon Health and Sciences University, found in Portland, Oregon.
Located in the city of Piscataway New Jersey, the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences guarantees top-notch PA training.
This medical center is located in Dallas, Texas, and it is widely known for its impeccable PA training.
Found in Hamden, the Quinnipiac University for PA is amongst the top 20 best physician assistant schools in the country.
The Interservice Physician Assistant program is found in the city of Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Located in the city of Omaha, Nebraska, this Medical Center is a great place for PAs to start their training!