The Best Physician Assistant PA Schools in Colorado | 2023

A healthcare career is not only fulfilling but also highly rewarding, as primary healthcare providers are in demand across the globe.

If you are passionate about helping others, what better way to contribute your time and services than pursuing a career as a physician assistant, which offers a promising job outlook nationwide, growing faster than any other healthcare job? 

Colorado is one of the many states in the U.S. that values the need for physician assistants, and as such, it has been top-listed as one of the destinations with the best P.A. programs that students can choose from.

Physician’s assistants are what they sound like – assistant physicians. P.A.s are trained to be medical providers who diagnose illness, prescribe medication, and also share the same responsibilities as doctors; however, they work under the supervision of a doctor or surgeon.

This article will discuss the best P.A. schools in Colorado, their admissions requirements, and more.

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Are There PA Schools In Colorado?

Suppose you are an international or local student interested in becoming a physician assistant in Colorado. In that case, it will interest you to know that Colorado has some of the best P.A. schools that are top-listed in the United States.

Four (4) accredited on-campus P.A. schools are known for their academic excellence, comprehensive training program, and a high pass rate of the PANCE.

The following are the P.A. schools in Colorado.

  • University of Colorado
  • Colorado Mesa University
  • Red Rocks Community College
  • Rocky Vista University

How Do I Get Into PA Schools In Colorado?

Research has shown that one significant difficulty aspiring P.A.s face during their path to becoming physician assistants is getting into the institution of their choice.

Every PA school in Colorado has its distinctive admission requirement. Prospective P.A.s are expected to meet these requirements to have an upper edge of being admitted into their P.A. program.

To be considered for admission into any P.A. program in Colorado, you must meet these essential requirements coming along the following lines.

  • Acquisition of a high school certificate with a strong foundation in sciences like; Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English, etc
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • A minimum of 3.0 GPA
  • GRE score (dependant on the institution)
  • Personal Statements
  • Transcripts
  • 3 letters of recommendation from a professor, healthcare professional, and supervisor.

How Long Are PA Schools In Colorado?

To become a certified physician assistant, one must complete around 8 years of training. A cumulative of 8 years are spent learning various skills in healthcare delivery that are required to become a Pa—thoroughly.

In Colorado, it takes 27 months to complete the P.A. training program. This duration varies as it depends on the institution and the program choice.

Can Physician Assistants Practice Independently In Colorado?

A Physician Assistant is a trained medical professional member of a healthcare team, assigned the duty of

recording medical histories and physical examinations, prescribing medications, helping develop therapeutic plans to remedy medical problems, and following up with the patients through their treatments.

These duties of a P.A. are described according to what area of specialization they want to focus on or what specialty their supervising Physician is focused on.

Unlike some states, a Physician Assistant in Colorado cannot practice independently. Physician Assistants must be supervised by a physician and are responsible for providing medical services under their supervision.

What are the Best PA (Physician Assistant) Schools In Colorado?

If you desire a medical career but feel subjugated by the academic rigor and long medical school timeline, the next best option is to become a physician assistant. 

Colorado has some of the best P.A. schools, which offer programs that will train and equip you with the all-around knowledge needed in any area of specialization in the healthcare system.

Explore below the list of the best P.A. schools in Colorado

  • University of Colorado 
  • Red Rocks Community College 
  • Colorado Mesa University 
  • Rocky Vista University 

University of Colorado 

The University of Colorado is ranked as one of the top P.A. schools in Colorado, and it is ranked #7 in the United States. Over the years, the institution has provided adequate training for students pursuing careers as Physician Assistants.

The University of Colorado provides one of the most rigorous and intensive P.A. programs, stretching for 35 months. The tuition fees for residents are $61,179 and $132,465 for non-residents.

The mission of the Physician Assistant Program at this school is to provide extensive physician assistant education in primary care across the lifespan, with expanded training in specialty areas by aspiring P.A.s in healthcare delivery. 

To be admitted into the program, candidates must have the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • A minimum of 3.0 GPA
  • Transcript
  • Letters of Recommendation

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Red Rocks Community College

The Red Rocks Physician Assistant Program is a 27-month, state-sponsored, nationally accredited program in Colorado.

As one of the P.A. schools in Colorado, the school’s P.A. program was the first community college in the U.S. to award its own master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

The college’s P.A. program has a long history of educating competent students and has a 97% first-time PANCE pass rate. 

Interestingly, the college’s P.A. Program accepts 32 students annually, allowing for closer relationships with the lecturers.

To be eligible for admission into the college, candidates must have the following

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • With a minimum of 3.0 GPA
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcript
  • 1800 hours of healthcare experience

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Colorado Mesa University

Colorado Mesa University provides one of the best P.A. programs in Grand Junction, Colorado. The school’s P.A. Program is designed to offer a broad-based curriculum with a unique emphasis on training compassionate and competent P.A.s.

The program is an intensive 27-month, full-time, on-campus program with 112 credits. Also, the tuition fee for residents and non-resident students is $74,000.

The school’s P.A. Program curriculum is formulated to educate future P.A.s with the knowledge and skills to be representatives of excellence in delivering quality healthcare to the communities in Colorado and beyond.

The admissions requirement of Colorado Mesa University includes

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • With a minimum of 3.0
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of Recommendation.
  • At least 500 hours of healthcare experience

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Rocky Vista University

Rocky Vista University PA program is fully accredited by The ARC-PA, making it a common choice for international and local students to consider.

The Rocky Vista Physician Assistant Program aims to prepare clinically competent, compassionate physician assistants to deliver primary health care to patients.

The school’s P.A. program provides educational experiences to support student development of requisite knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed in pursuing their career as Physician Assistants.

To be eligible for admission, candidates should have the following

  • A bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited institution
  • With a minimum of 3.0 GPA
  • GRE scores
  • 1,000 hours of healthcare experience
  • Transcript
  • Letters of Recommendation

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What Are The Easiest Colorado PA Schools To Get Into?

According to an analysis by Physician Assistant Education, Physician Assistant schools are difficult to get into. This can be traced to the fact that some school has strict admissions requirements that students must comply with before being accepted.

However, some schools are pretty flexible. For this reason, the most accessible P.A. schools to get into here below are competitive and excellent institutes with lower requirements for applicants.

  • Colorado Mesa University
  • Rocky Vista University

How Much Does A Physician Assistant Make in Colorado?

The average salary earned by a physician assistant in Colorado is around $121,730 per year and $58.52 per hour.

The salaries of P.A.s in Colorado vary due to certain factors such as area of specialty, work experience, educational level, and location.

What are the Best Physician Assistant Programs In Colorado?

Attending PA schools with one of the best programs automatically gives some form of career boast to prospective P.A.s as they are guaranteed to be provided with the necessary knowledge and skills needed to excel in any area of specialty in the health care industry.

In Colorado, only four (4) accredited P.A. programs are considered the best in the state and beyond.

Let’s take a look at the best P.A. programs in Colorado.

  • University of Colorado 
  • Red Rocks Community College
  • Rocky Vista University
  • Colorado Mesa University

What are the P.A. Schools In Colorado That Don’t Require GRE? 

Like many other states, most Physician Assistant schools in Colorado require prospective candidates to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) test.

This standardized test is a staple for most graduate school admissions, but some physician assistant programs don’t require students to have a GRE score on their applications. 

Such PA schools in Colorado include

  • Colorado Mesa University
  • Red Rocks Community College
  • University of Colorado 

You might also want to check out: Tips on How to Get a High GRE Score

Are there Physician Assistant Master’s Programs In Colorado?

Attending a master’s program is the next step in becoming a physician assistant. These programs provide advanced studies and techniques for a physician assistant to deliver primary health care.

In Colorado, the master’s program usually takes 2-3 years to complete. These programs typically comprise classroom learning and clinical placements with long hours of healthcare experience.

The following are the Physician Assistant Master’s Program in Colorado 

  • University of Colorado Masters of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) Program
  • Colorado Mesa University’s Masters of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) Program
  • Red Rocks Community College the Masters of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) Program
  • Rocky Vista University Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) Program

Are there Online Physician Assistant Courses In Colorado For International Students? 

Colorado has one of the best P.A. programs in the United States; as such, international students have taken a keen interest in applying to its P.A. schools.

In the digital age, students who are not residents of the country can apply for the program and attend classes online at their convenience.

Although clinical placements will desire online placements, students can carry out such activities in their area of residence after making arrangements with the school of their choice.

Some PA schools that offer online courses for international students include

  • University of Colorado
  • Rocky Vista University
  • Red Rocks University 

See also: Nursing Scholarships for International Students.

What are the Cheapest PA Schools In Colorado?

Although quality education doesn’t come cheap, some schools are an exception as they provide high-quality education at an affordable fee for both local and international students.

Also, some schools offer financial aid such as scholarships, fellowships, and grants to students who cannot meet their tuition fees.

Here are the two (2) cheapest P.A. schools that produce competent and compassionate physician assistants in Colorado.

  • University of Colorado
  • Red Rocks Community College

What are the Accredited PA Programs In Colorado?

The accreditation of a P.A. program is done to ensure that these institutions offering the programs meet the standards established by a nationally recognized accrediting association, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

Only students who graduated from an accredited P.A. program can write the ARC-PA test and become licensed to practice as a Physician Assistant in Colorado.

Below is the list of the accredited P.A. programs in Colorado.

  1. University of Colorado 
  2. Colorado Mesa University
  3. Red Rocks Community College
  4. Rocky Vista University

How To Become A Physician Assistant In Colorado?

Becoming a physician assistant may be a suitable choice if you love genuinely caring for people.

As the employment indicators in this field continue to be optimistic, students may be interested in how to become physician assistants in Colorado. 

While there is so much information on becoming one, here are the general ways to successfully become a physician assistant in Colorado.

Completion of a bachelor’s degree

All PA schools in Colorado require that each candidate applying for their P.A. program must have acquired a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. 

Also, students must have a minimum of 3.0 GPA and above to apply to a P.A. school in Colorado.

Qualify for Colorado Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure

When selecting a P.A. program in Colorado, prospective P.A.s should remember that the state licensing board only acknowledges degrees from an Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA)-accredited program. 

Also, to obtain a PA Master’s Degree, most schools require candidates to have the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any field, plus:
  • Have the prerequisite courses like psychology, biology, and chemistry
  • Take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)
  • Have some clinical experience

Pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)

Administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), all prospective P.A.s must write and pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). 

PANCE is a $475 exam with 300 multiple-choice questions over five hours. Candidates should find the nearest testing center, register, and take practice exams for $35 online. 

Upon passing the PANCE, a title and certificate of Physician Assistant-Certified will be conferred on successful candidates, which they can then include in their licensure application packet to the Colorado Medical Board.

Apply for a Colorado Physician Assistant License

To make a complete application to the Colorado Medical Board for a P.A. License, candidates must take the following procedures:

  1. Fill out an application.
  2. Pay a $304 application fee.
  3. Prove legal ability to work in the U.S. with a passport, birth certificate, or permanent residence card
  4. Request candidate’s P.A. academic program to provide the Medical Board with a graduation certificate
  5. Request the NCCPA to provide the Medical Board with the candidate’s PA-C
  6. Submit a Primary Physician Supervisor Registration Form (included in the application)
  7. Submit a P.A. work history and explanation of any disciplinary actions or problems that may interfere with job performance, if applicable
  8. Create an online Healthcare Professions Profile

Obtain and maintain Licenses and Certifications

All Colorado physician assistant licenses expire on January 31 of even-numbered years and must be renewed before the expiration date. Physician Assistants must meet a mandatory level of continuing medical education (CME) credits each time they renew their licenses. 

One way to accomplish this is to maintain the NCCPA PA-C credential. Also, P.A.s can renew their licenses online approximately six weeks before expiration. They will now find more information on the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies Division of Professions and Occupations’ website.

You might want to check out: How to Become a Doctor in the USA.

Physician Assistant Certification Council of Colorado 

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is the only certification provider for physician assistants in Colorado, United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I work while in P.A. school?

P.A. programs tend to be very tasking and overwhelming. Students are strongly discouraged from accepting or continuing outside employment while enrolled in the program. Students are not permitted to work for the program.

What type of P.A. makes the most money?

According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants Salary Reports, Cardiovascular/cardiothoracic surgery topped the list as the highest-paid physician assistant specialty.

How much does a P.A. earn in Colorado?

The average annual salary of an experienced P.A. is $121,730, and an average hourly wage of $58.52.

What are the most challenging courses in P.A. school?

Based on several opinions of current P.A.s, Anatomy and Physiology are the two most challenging courses in the P.A. program. 


Colorado has produced some of the most acceptable physician assistants in the United States and beyond. It is undoubtedly one of the best locations to consider when applying for your P.A. programs.

With comprehensive training, leadership and communication skills, and mentorship under renowned physicians, aspiring P.A.s can have a worthwhile experience.


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