Overview

Physician assistants (PAs) are medical providers who are licensed to diagnose and treat patients. They provide invaluable support to doctors, surgeons, and other healthcare providers—especially in underserved communities where doctors aren’t readily available. From analyzing lab work to prescribing medication, physician assistants ensure patients receive essential care.

With such responsibility PAs must receive a rigorous education. The coursework is so advanced that by 2020 PA programs will be required to offer a master’s degree upon completion. Not surprising when you consider students undergo intense training in complex subjects such as anatomy, the effects of medication, and medical ethics. What’s more, students can also specialize to become experts in specific fields including pediatric care and health education. The result? Degree holders become effective and integral members of the medical teams they join.

Physician assistant programs are specifically designed to train future physician assistants. With a degree, students can take the certification exam and obtain a license to begin their careers.

Yes. Many schools offer online programs. Students simply need to ensure the program is accredited and matches their scheduling needs.

Most employers and schools recognize and accept online degrees. Performance during the program and on the certification exam is more important.

The exact requirements vary depending on the program, but most require a minimum GPA, letters of recommendation, clinical hours, and an acceptable GRE or MCAT score. The best solution is to look up the requirements of the programs you are interested in.

Completing a program is necessary for those who want to be physician assistants. In addition, programs offer stable careers and the ability to enter a highly respected medical field.

After program completion, students must also pass the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE) and obtain a license to practice. Fortunately, programs offer guidance for both and provide the tools and support students need to succeed. In other words, students can feel confident they are on the path to rewarding careers of helping those in need.

Best Online Physician Assistant Programs

We took a deep-dive and analyzed every online Physician Assistant program in the nation. Below are the results of our analysis and a list of the 10 best online Physician Assistant programs.

Read about our methodology here.

Graduation Rate
39%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$825 per credit
Most Accelerated

Pace University offers the physician assistant program in an accelerated format for students who want to earn their degrees quickly. This program takes 12 months to complete and provides all the skills that are needed for graduates to succeed in their careers.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Health Professions
Program Name: Master's in Physician Assistant Completion Program
Accrediting Body: NCCPA

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Completed an Accreditation Review Committee for Physician Assistants
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 12 months
Program start dates: Rolling

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: December 15, 2018
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Justin McManus

Admissions Contact

Address:

One Pace Plaza

New York, NY 10038

914-773-3649

School Type
Private
Tuition
$826 per credit
Best Hybrid Program

Yale University's physician assistant online program is a blended program, with students participating in streaming small-group discussions and conducting online coursework during their didactic year, and then spending 16 months experiencing in-person clinical rotations in their home communities. Students also visit the Yale campus in New Haven, Connecticut during the program, for three separate one-week immersions.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Yale School of Medicine
Program Name: Physician Assistant Online
Accrediting Body: ARC-PA

DeliveryFormat: Blended

Program LengthProgram Length: 28 months

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: April 15; July 1; September 1
GPA: 3.0

Address:

New Haven, CT 6520

844-433-9253

School Type
Private
Tuition
$445 per credit
Best for APA Credentials

A.T. Still University's (ATSU) Advanced Physician Assistant (APA) program offers the most direct path to APA credentials for licensed or certified physician assistants. Practicing PAs can begin immediately to pursue this Master of Science in Advanced Physician Assistant Studies degree from ATSU's Arizona School of Health Sciences. ATSU's APA program offers concentrations in either clinical Medicine or Education/Leadership, with flexibility for working professionals.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Arizona School of Health Sciences
Program Name: Master of Science in Advanced Physician Assistant Studies
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Graduation from an ARC - PA accredited PA program
Credit Requirements: 40 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 1 or 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.5

Address:

800 W Jefferson St

Kirksville, MO 63501

877-469-2878

Most Hands-On Experience

The University of Nebraska Medical Center trains the next generation of physician assistants via supervised practices. With more than 800 hours of supervised practice required in the program's clinical track, students receive abundant hands-on experience that they can use to advance their own careers after college.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Physician Assistant Studies
Available Concentrations: Clinical, Educational
Accrediting Body: National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from an approved institution of higher learning
Credit Requirements: 36 semester credit hours

Program LengthProgram Length: Five semesters
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: September 1, 2018
GPA: 2.0
Work Experience: Must be employed (full-time or part-time) in a clinical or educational role

Address:

S 42nd St & Emile St

Omaha, NE 68198

402-559-6532

Graduation Rate
67%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$763 per credit
Most Established

Drexel University has experience providing distance education to online students, having started its online courses more than two decades ago. Students looking for an established online physician assistant program should consider Drexel as it not only offers full faculty support and online learning materials but also up to a 30 percent discount on tuition for alumni.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Nursing and Health Professions
Program Name: Master of Health Science - Physician Assistant
Accrediting Body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree
Credit Requirements: 117 credit hours

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-Time, Part-time

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: November 1
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Patrick C. Auth, PhD, PA-C

Admissions Contact

Address:

3141 Chestnut St

Philadelphia, PA 19104

267-359-5757

Most Flexible

Stony Brook University offers a flexible online physician assistant program for working professionals who may not have the time to dedicate to a 15-month curriculum. Students can adjust the coursework to fit their schedule and take up to five years to complete the program through part-time study.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Medicine
Program Name: Post-Professional Masters in Physician Assistant
Accrediting Body: Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous, Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
Credit Requirements: 30 credit hours

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 5 years
Program start dates: Fall 2018: August 8; Spring 2019: January 2

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Spring: December 1; Summer: April 1; Fall: June 1
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Diana Jones

Admissions Contact

Address:

100 Nicolls Road

Stony Brook, NY 11794

631-444-2029

Graduation Rate
84%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $515 per credit; Out-of-state: $1,047 per credit
Best Job Placement

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has an excellent job placement percentage for students who graduate from the online physician assistant program. More than 70 percent of graduates work in the field, a number that has risen and continues to rise each year.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Medicine and Public Health
Program Name: Master of Physician Assistant Studies
Accrediting Body: NCACS/THLC

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 93 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 3 years

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.2

Address:

Madison, WI 53706

608-263-5620

Graduation Rate
55%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$6349 per semester
Best Virtual Campus

The University of North Dakota provides the best virtual campus for students in the online physician assistant program. Students are able to complete all of the coursework online and have access to everything from live video to live chat with faculty, including other benefits such as discussion boards, learning resources, networking opportunities and more.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Physician Assistant Studies
Program Name: Master of Physician Assistant Studies
Accrediting Body: Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA)

DeliveryFormat: Online, Hybrid

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 90 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 24 months
Program start dates: May

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: September 1
GPA: 3.0
Work Experience: At least three years of experience

Address:

Grand Forks, ND 58202

701-777-2344

Best Faculty Support

Touro College's faculty members work directly with students in the online physician assistant program to ensure successful completion of the degree. The faculty not only provides support for lessons and technical issues with the online classroom but also support during the final research project, working alongside the student to create and present a paper that's suited for academic publications.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Health Sciences
Program Name: Physician Assistant Master's Completion Program
Accrediting Body: National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Graduated from an ARC-PA accredited Physician Assistant program
Credit Requirements: 37 credit hours
Field Education Requirements: Two-semester master's project as program capstone

Program LengthProgram Length: 1 year
Program start dates: Spring 2019: January 2; Summer 2019: March 4

Admission Requirements

Contact:

Shazad Zeb PA-C, MPAS

Admissions Contact

Address:

1700 Union Boulevard

Bay Shore, NY 11706

866-868-7648

Graduation Rate
43%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $953 per credit; Out-of-state: $1315 per credit
Best Bridge Program

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers an assistant studies bridge program to allow students to complete the entire physician assistant program online. Students must have their bachelor's degree to qualify for the bridge program and to complete their physician assistant training via online instruction.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master in Physician Assistant Studies Bridge Program (MPAS)
Accrediting Body: AOTA/ACOTE

DeliveryFormat: Online, Hybrid

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 16 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 12 Months
Program start dates: Fall, Spring and Summer I

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Frank Ambriz

Admissions Contact

Address:

1201 West University Dr

Edinburg, TX 78539

956-665-7049