Best Physician Assistant Programs

When it all comes down to it the best physician assistant programs are the one who have been accredited by the Accrediting Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. (ARC-PA). This is so as doing your training at one of these programs and graduating from them will allow you to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). Doing your schooling through a physician assistant school that is not accredited by the ARC-PA will be a waste of time and will not allow you to be able to take the PANCE. There are currently 159 accredited physician assistant schools around the USA that you can obtain education at, which most all of them offer a Masters Degree in Physician Assistant Studies, although some of them offer a bachelors degree option. As far as the best physician assistant programs in the US go, the top 10 physician assistant programs consist of:

  1. University of Iowa – The PA school at University of Iowa has the highest PANCE success rates, as their students are most always in the top 5 to 10 percent.
  2. Duke University
  3. Emory University
  4. George Washington University
  5. University of Texas – Southwestern Medical Center – Dallas

How To Find The Best Physician Assistant Programs

Now these are the top physician assistant programs in the US, but they may not be the best programs for you as there are many factors that need to be considered when looking for the best physician assistant programs for you to attend. Below is a list that you can use to find an accredited PA program that best fits what you need.

  1. Do you want to stay local or go to a school in a different part of the state or country? States like California and Texas among others have anywhere from 5 or more accredited physician assistant schools in the state, whereas other states have anywhere from only 2 to none at all.
  2. Step one also  includes deciding whether you want to do your training either online or at an actual campus, as some learn better in a college atmosphere and some learn better more on their own which a distance learning online physician assistant program can provide. Online training can also provide those who don’t live near an accredited PA school the opportunity to still get the training needed to become a physician assistant.
  3. Does the school offer you the opportunity to obtain grants that can go towards paying for some or most of your training. This is one of the top aspects to look for when looking for the best physician assistant programs to attend as PA school can cost up to $40,000 or more. This is also very important as most all programs require or at least suggest that you not have a job during your training, as masters PA programs last anywhere from 24 to 30 months of full time intensive study. Schools require that you not have job during this time so that you aren’t distracted as well as not having your time being consumed by your job as you will need this time to study as well as rest.
  4. Can you fulfill all the admission requirements that have been set by the school you are wishing to attend? Schools tend to follow similar admission guidelines but some are more strict then others so finding one that coincides with your credentials can help you get into school faster.
  5. The last step you can take to find the best physician assistant programs for you is if you live in a state that has multiple PA programs, then you can consider sitting in on a couple of the classes at each of the schools to get a feel for which teaching style would best fit how you learn, which will ultimately dictate how well you do in the program. This can also be a great time to talk to the students who are taking the program and ask them how they like the teacher and if they make learning easy.

Asking these questions will allow you to find the best physician assistant programs for you, which will allow you to obtain the credentials needed to hold a position as a PA as well as make the learning experience as enjoyable as possible, equating to your success both during your training as well as when you go to take the physician assistant certification exam.