10 Best Physician Assistant Schools in Pennsylvania | 2023

Becoming a physician assistant requires serious training. This is because you’ll not only be helping physicians out but also become a lifesaver.

Hence, you need to enroll in a physician assistant school where the teachers are up to the task. This way, you’ll end up being an expert at ensuring that patients are healthy – and alive.

Pennsylvania is one of the best places where you can pursue your physician assistant (PA) career. If you’re in or will relocate to the state and you’re looking forward to attending a physician assistant school there, this article is for you.

Read on as we unveil the 10 best physician assistant schools in Pennsylvania, their features, and some related questions and answers.

Read Also: 10 Best Physician Assistant (PA) Schools in Texas 2023

Are There Physician Assistant Schools in Pennsylvania?

Yes! There are schools in Pennsylvania where you can be trained to become a physician assistant. These schools have maintained excellent academic records and you’ll surely enjoy your stay while learning. 

How Do I Get into A Physician Assistant School in Pennsylvania?

Firstly, you’ll need to earn an undergraduate certification where your calculated GPA must be at least 3.0. During your undergrad degree pursuit, you should undertake courses in science or health-related areas.

Also, you should’ve strengthened your soft skills which include decision-making, maturity, accountability, academic ability, critical thinking, and swift reasoning.

Next, you can freely choose a PA school at Penn. Here, you should check for quality, accreditation, location, academic records, past & current developments, program duration, and your budget. 

Don’t forget to get your letter of recommendation ready. If you already have some healthcare experience, that’s an advantage. Just in case, prepare for an interview. 

How Long Are Physician Assistant Schools in Pennsylvania?

On average, Pennsylvania-based physician assistant schools take two to three years before you can graduate. During this time, you’ll be exposed to the extensive classroom and clinical work.

Best Physician Assistant Schools in Pennsylvania

Physician Assistant schools in Pennsylvania offer students the opportunity to learn and practice what the PA career entails.

Through exposure, they ensure that you become a professional healthcare provider. Here are some of the best PA schools you can find in Pennsylvania:

  1. Arcadia University
  2. Pennsylvania State University – College of Medicine
  3. Saint Francis University
  4. Lock Haven University
  5. Drexel University
  6. Gannon University
  7. Chatham University
  8. DeSales University
  9. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  10. Seton Hill University

#1. Arcadia University

The PA program at this University is top-notch as the school maintains a 100% pass rate in PANCE.

It’s located in Glenside, PA, and students get to choose a dual program option. This way, they can earn a PA degree and a Master of Public Health degree at the same time.

The school’s facilities are top-class and practical sessions like anatomy classes are well-designed. The fact that Arcadia University employs modern technology in its program guarantees that you’ll enjoy the school.

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#2. Pennsylvania State University – College of Medicine

Speaking about achievements, the College of Medicine at Pennsylvania State University has so far proven to be top-class. The school’s located in Hershey, PA, where its programs are handled by committed, competent, and qualified tutors. 

Since its establishment in 2014, the school has maintained a 100% PANCE pass rate. After graduation, graduands are sure to get jobs within six months of graduation. The school is for sure, one big opportunity.

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#3. Saint Francis University

At Saint Francis University, students are open to a wide range of experiences that can strengthen their PA skill set.

More especially, with programs like clinical rotation, health seminars, and health trips, you can be sure to become a professional before you graduate.

Saint Francis University is located in Loretto, PA, and it maintains a record of a 100% first-time pass rate in PANCE.

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#4. Lock Haven University

Lock Haven University is one of the best PA schools in the United States. This is because of the outstanding performances that result from its comprehensive programs.

At the school, students are taken through basic medical sciences and clinical experiences up to soft skill development. 

The school has an average PANCE pass rate of above 94% and focuses more attention on teaching students about the need to provide healthcare services to rural areas.

Not only that, the class sizes are small, which allows students to earn the full attention of their teachers. Lock Haven University is located in Lock Haven, PA.

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#5. Drexel University

Like most PA schools, the PANCE pass rate at Drexel is well above the national mean. This is a result of the intense training and clinical experiences that competent PAs give to students. Drexel University is located in Philadelphia, PA.

Apart from the excellent training sessions and adequate facilities, students are also required to undergo clinical practices in both rural and urban settings. This gives them more insight into the world of physician assistants and healthcare provision.

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#6. Gannon University

With its well-designed PA program that runs for five years, Gannon University provides students with the opportunity to bag two degrees simultaneously. At the school, you can earn a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences and a Master’s degree in PA science.

Although the school runs two programs side-by-side for five years, quality remains essential. This is because its mission is to build students into top-class and disciplined healthcare providers. Gannon University is located in Erie, PA.

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#7. Chatham University

Currently, this is one of the best PA programs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Over the years, the school has won the hearts of many students due to the quality of its graduates.

Chatham University encourages students to dwell more on real-life clinical situations. As a result of that, they engage students in activities like family practice, surgery, and emergency treatment.

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#8. DeSales University

DeSales University is situated in Center Valley, PA. The school’s programs are well structured and sophisticated.

Facilities are top-notch and students can gather reasonably much experience from the school. Also, students are groomed to be competent and compassionate health professionals through different clinical exposures. 

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#9. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Located in Philadelphia, this college creates a learning space where students enrolled in its PA program can gain a lot about healthcare and patient management. The tutors are certified and experienced. 

Interestingly, students have been performing outstandingly at the school. While most PA schools maintain good after-graduation job placement rates, Philadelphia College of Medicine maintains an excellent pre-graduation job placement rate.

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#10. Seton Hill University

This Greensburg-based school is one of the best in the United States. Here, students are groomed to be ethical, respectful, and professional.

It also offers a five-year PA program where students can earn two degrees at the same time. The school’s instructional materials are modern-day quality and well-designed to suit each student’s understanding.

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What Are the Easiest PA Schools to Get into in Pennsylvania?

Although all physician assistant schools at Penn put up expert measures to admit the best students for the professional PA career, some are easier to get into.

While this doesn’t – in any way – reduce their quality, you might want to know them. So far, the easiest PA school in Pennsylvania is:

  • Thomas Jefferson University

What Are the Cheapest PA Schools in Pennsylvania?

Budget is important when choosing a physician assistant school. As such, you should attend a PA school that doesn’t cost more than your financial capacity. This is because an expensive school mightn’t be the best for you. Here are the cheapest physician assistant schools at Penn:

  • King’s College
  • Lock Haven University
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology

Can Physician Assistants Practice Independently in Pennsylvania?

Physician assistants at Penn cannot practice independently. Instead, they’re to operate under the supervision of a licensed physician. Should they establish a company, they’re to share ownership rights with the physician.

How Much Does A Physician Assistant Make in Pennsylvania?

A PA in Pennsylvania makes between $104,154 and $124,752. You should note that a physician assistant’s salary depends on factors like his employer, experience level, and educational achievements.

Physician Assistant Schools in Pennsylvania That Don’t Require GRE

Getting into a PA school in Pennsylvania can be tiresome because you’ve got to be on your toes always. With serious work like taking undergraduate courses, maintaining high GPAs, and acing your interviews, it can be exhausting to hear that you’ve still got to take the Graduate Records Examination (GRE). 

So, if you’re seeking to avoid taking the GRE, here are some PA schools at Penn that don’t require GRE:

  • Duquesne University
  • Drexel University

Are There PA Masters Programs in Pennsylvania?

Of course, there are Pennsylvania-based physician assistant schools that offer Master’s programs. Some offer extra opportunities to students, after which job opportunities might set in. PA schools in Penn where you can offer Master’s programs include:

  • DeSales University
  • Lock Haven University
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Are There Online PA Courses in Pennsylvania for International Students?

Pennsylvania is one location you can trust for comprehensive PA courses. However, you might need a PA school that doesn’t only offer traditional (physical) teaching, but also online teaching – and even hybrid (physical and online).

This is good for you if you prefer online learning or have very busy schedules or part-time jobs. At the moment, all PA programs at Penn are On-Campus.

How To Become A Physician Assistant in Pennsylvania

There are two simple steps to becoming a PA in Pennsylvania – maybe not that simple! First, you need to earn your PA degree in an accredited PA school. At the school, you’re to undertake courses approved by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). 

After that, you should sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). This is similar to taking the Penn State Bar Exam which qualifies law students in Pennsylvania as lawyers. Prepare well for it and hit the top grades. Then, you can obtain your license.

Physician Assistant Certification Council of Pennsylvania

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) looks into the licensure of PAs in Pennsylvania. NCCPA also helps to check whether a PA’s license is valid or not.


How Many PAs Can A Physician Supervise in Pennsylvania?

At most, a licensed Penn State-based physician can supervise four physician assistants. In case of more, he has to seek approval from the authorized healthcare board.

How Often Is the PANCE Exam Offered?

PANCE is offered thrice in a calendar year. The examination is to be taken by all physician assistant students at accredited PA schools as part of their requirements for their PA licensure. 

How Much Does the PANCE Exam Cost?

The required examination for to-be physician assistants costs $475. This fee should be paid after the interested individual has submitted a registration form to the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).


A PA’s role is very flexible, unlike other health professionals. However, for you to become an expert PA who can switch roles and see that people are okay, you need to attend a very good PA school. If you’re in Penn or its environs, you can check out our list of the 10 best PA schools in Pennsylvania for some guidance.


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