Best Physician Assistant PA Schools in Canada | 2024


Today, Physician Assistants (PAs) play a vital role in the healthcare sector as they are medical providers who diagnose injuries and illnesses, manage patient treatment, and prescribe medication.

Canada also has a diverse economy that ranks among the largest in the world. There are many factors to consider when choosing P.A. schools to attend. These factors include location, tuition fees, curriculum, student body diversity, and more. 


If you want to become a physician assistant, Canada has many good medical schools that train physician assistants (P.A.s) to be the best in their profession. So, if you are interested in treating patients as a P.A. in Canada, there are specific schools in Canada where you can learn this.

This article will provide an overview of how to become a physician assistant and the best P.A. schools in Canada to help achieve this goal.


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Are there PA Schools in Canada?

Only four (4) active physician assistant schools are available in Canada to train physician assistants in healthcare delivery.

Each PA school has various requirements for admission. As a result, prospective PAs must research the school they intend to apply to and check if they meet the school’s admission requirements.


The Canadian PA Schools include:

  • McMaster University—Hamilton, Ontario
  • University of Toronto, N.O.S.M., Michener Institute) – Toronto, ON
  • University of Manitoba-Winnipeg 
  • The Canadian Military Physician Assistant School

How Do I Get into PA Schools in Canada?

Just like any other university, applying to a P.A. school in Canada is highly competitive as some schools tend to have stringent admission processes peculiar to them.

Four effective P.A. schools in Canada will train aspiring P.A.s to work effectively in the healthcare industry.

Luckily, accredited P.A. schools in Canada do not require the GRE as a prerequisite for admission.

Although each P.A. school has its application requirements, below are some general ways to get into P.A. schools in Canada.

  • Be a Canadian citizen or have permanent resident status.
  • Have a minimum of 2-4 years of full-time study at an accredited university.
  • Have a minimum C.G.P.A. of between 2.7 and 3.47. All completed undergraduate studies will be considered in the calculation of the C.G.P.A.
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Demonstrate proof of English language proficiency as an international student.
  • Have a CV or resume

How Long Have PA Schools Been in Canada?

Although one must earn a bachelor’s degree, which usually takes about four years to complete, the duration for P.A. schools differs depending on the physician assistant training program you choose. There will be different requirements to graduate.

However, to become a Canadian certified physician assistant requires completing a two-year course, assuming you have completed the prerequisites.

Can Physician Assistants Practice Independently in Canada?

A Physician Assistant (PA) is an advanced practice healthcare provider. Its roles involve performing physicals, diagnosing, ordering and interpreting investigations, and formulating treatment plans. 

Also, P.A.s perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, perform biopsies, and assist in surgery. They educate and counsel patients on preventative health measures. They work under the supervision of a physician.

Unlike a medical learner who will subsequently become a physician, physician assistants cannot independently practice in Canada. Nurse practitioners can do this, but the role of P.A.s is strictly tied to the PA/MD relationship.

Click here for more information on what physician assistants can and cannot do in Canada.

What are the Best PA Schools in Canada?

In selecting exemplary P.A. schools, aspiring P.A.s must consider particular factors such as location, tuition fee cost, cost of living, and curriculum when making their choice.

Many students desire to study in Canada, one of the world’s best countries. Also, the best physician assistant schools in Canada welcome domestic and international students. However, you must meet the essential prerequisites to pull through. 

In no particular order, here’s a list of the best physician assistant schools in Canada in 2023.

#1 McMaster University—Hamilton, Ontario

McMaster University is one of the top-ranked physician assistant schools in Canada. It is a public university founded on April 27, 1887, in Ontario, Canada, with the main campus near the Ainslie neighborhood. 

Furthermore, the outgrowth of educational initiatives by the Baptist Church in 1830 led to McMaster University, formerly Toronto Baptist College.

The first year in P.A. school at McMaster University usually consists of clinical sciences and communication skills. Subsequently, the second year in this P.A. school in Canada comprises:

  • Family Medicine: 12 weeks
  • Internal Medicine: 6 weeks
  • Surgery: 6 weeks.
  • Psychiatry: 6 weeks
  • Emergency Medicine: 4 weeks
  • Pediatrics: 4 weeks

To become a physician assistant at McMaster University, you must fulfill the following admission requirements:

  1. You must be a Canadian citizen or have a permanent residence.
  2. You must have undergone four semesters of full-time undergraduate studies at a reputable university.
  3. You must have at least a minimum C.G.P.A. of 2.7.

On the other hand, if you have any of the following, you will be given preference for admission:

  • Already have experience administering treatments to patients in a hospital or clinical environment.
  • Have a paid job as a caregiver
  • Have a health care experience of five years

The tuition fees cost about 5,966.4 CAD for local students and 22,471.2 CAD for international students.

Address: 100 King St W, Hamilton, ON L8P 1A2, Canada

Accreditation body: Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (C.A.C.M.E.)

McMaster University has graduated some of the best physician assistants currently gainfully employed at some of the best health care centers.

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#2 University of Toronto, N.O.S.M., Michener Institute) – Toronto, ON

The PA Consortium, which came into existence on March 15, 1827, combines three universities—the University of Toronto, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and Michener Institute of Applied Health Sciences.

Each of these universities provides skills and techniques from their respective specialties to make one comprehensive and diverse P.A. program.

The first year of this school consists of online education and classroom learning. In contrast, the second year requires students to complete rotations in different fields of medicine for some weeks. You can only operate as a clinical clerk, equivalent to a third-or fourth-year medical student in rotation.

To be eligible for admission to the University of Toronto as a physician assistant, prospective candidates must have:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • Have a minimum of two years of full-time study in an accredited university.
  • Have a minimum C.G.P.A. of 2.7 calculated on the O.M.S.A.S. scale. All completed undergraduate studies will be considered in the calculation of the C.G.P.A.
  • Possess a minimum of 910 health care experience hours (paid or voluntary placement).
  • Demonstrate proof of English language proficiency as an international student.

The tuition fees for resident and international students are 25,286.42 CAD and 87,792.42 CAD, respectively.

Accreditation body: Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (C.A.C.M.S.) and the U.S. Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

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#3 University of Manitoba – Winnipeg

The University of Manitoba is a public university that started operations in 1967 and is located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The university’s physician assistant program admits about 15 students annually, with its admission deadline being January 15.

Likewise, the University of Manitoba is the only institution operating a graduate-level physician assistant program in Canada. The program encompasses 48 weeks of instructive learning and 52 weeks of clinical rotations.

Furthermore, to gain eligibility for admission to the physician assistant department of the University of Manitoba, you must possess the following:

  • You must be a Canadian citizen or have a permanent residence.
  • Must have a four-year bachelor’s degree from a reputable university.
  • Have at least a 3.0 GPA in a full-time or part-time program.
  • You should have a CV or resume.
  • Also, the applicant must have a statement of intent.
  • Then you should have a self-declaration form.
  • Finally, the student must have three letters of recommendation.

Tuition: 4,400 CAD for local students and 14,700 CAD for international students.

Accreditation body: Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (C.A.C.M.S.).

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#4 The Canadian Military Physician Assistant School

The primary role of the Military Physician Assistant School is to train PAs to administer medical assistance and emergency care for Canadian armed forces members. Such motives make it one of the best P.A. schools in Canada.

Also, these PAs work on ships or abroad, offering emergency assistance to armed forces. The most magnificent aspect of studying at Military Physician Assistant School is that you are guaranteed a job after graduation.

In addition, the military covers all tuition costs and other expenses after admission. 

To be admitted to the Canadian Military Physician Assistant School, you must:

  • Be 18 and above.
  • Be a Canadian citizen or have permanent resident status. 
  • Have Grade 10 to Secondary 4 if you apply for a non-commissioned officer position.
  • Have a BSc if you are using it for a commission officer.

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Read also

What are the Easiest Canadian PA Schools to Get into?

The Physician Assistant Education Association estimates that the average possibility of admission into a P.A. school is just 20%. The acceptance rates for Canadian PA schools are even lower, ranging from 2–10%.

However, there are only 4 physician assistant (PA) schools in Canada with small class sizes, contributing to their low average acceptance rate. Also, since the health profession is relatively new to Canada, the program appears highly competitive. 

Despite the low acceptance, two (2) schools are the most accessible Canadian PA schools.

  • Canadian Military Physical Assistant School
  • PA Consortium (University of Toronto/N.O.S.M./Michener)

How Much Does a Physician Assistant Make in Canada?

The average salary of a physician assistant in Canada is $86,132 per year or $44.17 per hour. Besides, entry-level positions start at $46,049 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $146,424 per year.

What are the Best Physician Assistant Programs in Canada?

Although the Physician Assistant program is relatively new to Canada, the country has produced some of the best PAs, performing exceptionally well in the healthcare industry over the years.

Graduates from a P.A. school in Toronto, Canada, are trained to work in settings such as hospitals, clinics, academic administration, and other health facilities. They assist physicians in primary care, including emergency medicine, surgery, and cardiology.

Without further ado, the best physician assistant Canadian programs are:

  • McMaster University Physician Assistant Education Program-Bachelor of Health Sciences (Physician Assistant) [BHSc(PA)]
  • P.A. Consortium (the University of Toronto, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, The Michener Institute for Education at U.H.N.)-Bachelor of Sciences Physician Assistant Degree [BScPA]
  • University of Manitoba-Master of Physician Assistant Studies (M.P.A.S.]
  • Must be a member of the Canadian Armed Forces

What are the Best PA Schools in Canada that Don’t Require GRE?

All Physician Assistant Schools in Canada have specific admissions requirements such as transcripts, appropriate courses, G.P.A., supplementary application format, and even the format of the Multi-Mini Interview, which is unique to them. 

Each applicant must check the websites of these P.A. Schools and ensure they meet their requirements.

However, some P.A. schools do not require written tests like the GRE, nor will those test scores be considered for the programs.

These PA Schools in Canada include:

  • University of Manitoba
  • McMaster University 
  • PA Consortium (University of Toronto/N.O.S.M./Michener)

Are there Physician Assistant Master’s Program in Canada?

The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program is formulated to provide a comprehensive primary care training program that combines homiletic coursework with clinical experiences to enable the graduate to work in various practice environments.

Also, the program emphasizes team-based learning, small group sessions, diversity perception, interprofessional activities, integration of simulation technology, and the use of standardized patients in the educational process.

The graduate project provides an avenue to integrate evidence-based medicine with a literature review and research process, preparing graduates to be critically thinking clinicians who can effectively respond to the ever-changing healthcare system demands.

Given below are the physician assistant master’s programs in Canada.

  1. University of Manitoba – M.P.A.S. Physician Assistant Studies
  2. Loma Linda University – Physician Assistant M.P.A.
  3. Western University – Physical Therapy M.P.T.
  4. The University of British Columbia – Master of Physical Therapy(M.P.T.)

For more information on physician assistant master’s programs in Canada, click here.   

Are there Online Physician Assistant Courses in Canada for International Students?

The primary purpose of the physician assistant programs is to help train PAs who offer healthcare services to assist certified physicians.

However, All Canadian PA Programs require you to be a Canadian Citizen or have a Permanent Resident of Canada before you consider applying.

Currently, Canada does not accept International PAs EXCEPT if you are an American PA.

As a result of the current situation, there are no online P.A. courses for international students as some courses have residential blocks.

The way to practice in Canada or the U.S. is to either:

  • Become a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada, and then apply to a Canadian PA Program OR
  • Go to an American PA School as an International Student, get certified, then you can practice in Canada or the U.S.

What are the Cheapest PA Schools in Canada?

Like most universities and advanced degree programs in Canada, the price of P.A. school is surging.

The average cost of public resident tuition for a 27-month physician assistant program is about $79,941, while the average cost of non-resident tuition for a 27-month physician assistant program is around $90,659

With such skyrocketing tuition fees, schools that offer cheap PA programs are highly sought after by aspiring physician assistants. 

Below is a list of Cheap Schools that offer PA programs in Canada.

  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Manitoba
  • Canadian Military PA School
  • McMaster University

What are the Accredited PA Programs in Canada?

Although there are four P.A. Schools in Canada, it suffices to say that there are three main Canadian PA training programs nationally accredited in Canada.

Each Canadian PA program is responsible for setting its own admissions requirement.

All PA programs in Canada require you to complete 2-4 years of undergraduate study (at the university level) to apply. The number of years of coursework completed depends on the school.

Once you have completed a P.A. program, you can apply for the P.A. Certification Examination to become a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant (C.C.P.A.) in Canada.

Below is the list of the three (3) accredited Physician Assistant programs in Canada

  • University of Manitoba Masters of P.A. Studies (M.P.A.S.)
  • McMaster University PA Education Program 
  • PA Consortium (University of Toronto/N.O.S.M./Michener) B.S.C.P.A. Program

How to Become a Physician Assistant in Canada?

Students who intend to become physician assistants often wonder how to embark on the process as there is much information from experts and certified doctors.

Well, we have created a simple guide to answer this question, so you can see how to become a Physician Assistant in Canada.

Below are some tips to help you on your journey toward becoming a P.A.

Optimize Your PA Admission Requirements

In searching for P.A. schools in Canada, the first step entails checking the admission requirements for the program and ensuring you take the required courses. 

Also, to gain exposure, try and have the healthcare experience hours, and most importantly, achieve the minimum G.P.A. to get in.

However, like many professional healthcare programs, getting into the best P.A. schools in Canada is highly competitive. Candidates should ensure that necessary measures are taken to strengthen their P.A. admissions application.

Complete Your Physician Assistant Program 

The completion of the P.A. program should be done at an accredited Canadian PA school. Just like medical doctors, P.A.s undergo the same medical model.

The first year, similar to the first two years of medical school, involves intensive coursework in medical foundations across all body systems/areas of medicine. They include:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Cardiology
  • Oncology
  • Hematology
  • Learning clinical skills
  • Communications skills

Although each school varies in academic administration, the second year comprises clinical rotations across different areas and specialties of medicine. The core rotations include family medicine, emergency medicine, psychiatry, general surgery, and internal medicine.

Towards the completion of the program, an examination will be carried out, and all students are expected to meet the required grade.

Become a certified Canadian PA.

Once you complete a P.A. training program in Canada, you automatically qualify to write the P.A. entry to practice certification examination ( Pa Cert Exam) issued by the Physician Assistant Certification Council of Canada (P.A.C.C.C.). You must be a CAPA member to write the examination.

However, the examination takes place annually, and you can write it in different cities. The exam has been slated for late October for the past few years. 

Hence, if you pass the exam, you receive the “C.C.P.A.” identification, which is the “Canadian Certified Physician Assistant” title.

Begin Your Career as a Physician Assistant 

After obtaining your certification, you can apply for positions listed on the CAPA website (members only). Also, you can search for job vacancies as hospitals and clinics post ads in requests for P.A.

However, P.A.s are trained as generalists. So, you can apply to job postings across different areas of medicine once you finish any P.A. school in Canada. The flexibility of P.A. training allows them to switch specialties as well.

Ensure that You maintain Your P.A. Certification with CPD/CME

To maintain your “C.C.P.A.” identification, you must become a member of CAPA and complete several Continuing Professional Development (C.P.D.) hours. 

Physician Assistant Certification Council in Canada

The P.A.C.C.C., which stands for Physician Assistant Certification Council of Canada, is the official Council of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) that administers and maintains the Physician Assistant (PA) certification process.


Becoming a Physician Assistant is one excellent way to render services to humanity. Nonetheless, you need to consider certain factors when deciding which Physician Assistant (PA) school to attend in Canada.

One major factor in thoroughly researching P.A. Schools is the accreditation of the school and also their academic requirements. 

Interestingly, you’ll find out that some of the best P.A. schools here in Canada are also considered among the best in the United States.


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