10 Best Physician Assistant Schools in the United States in 2024

Are you searching for the best physician assistant schools in the United States? Then search no more; we’ve got you covered.

In this post, you will find every detail about the top physician assistant schools in the United States, including their requirements, cost & how to apply to these schools.

Make sure you follow through till the end; I’m confident you will find what you are looking for.

The United States is by far the most famous country in the world. It is known for having some of the best physician assistant schools, colleges, and universities, as well as for technological innovation, sports, historical personalities, and more.

The Physician Assistant profession is a promising career path in the U.S. as it fields some of the finest P.A.s, with employment indicators showing a 30% increase in the coming years.

If you’re interested in medicine and how to use the knowledge gained to make a positive difference in the world, roles as physician assistant could be the ideal choice for you. 

Furthermore, obtaining a physician assistant degree is the most significant step aspiring PAs must take to achieve their career goal. 

In this article, we have identified and curated a list of the 10 best physician assistant pa schools where students can earn physician assistant degrees in the United States.

Read More: 10 Best Physician Assistant Schools in Texas

Table of Contents

Are there PA Schools in the United States?

The United States harbors about 256 accredited P.A. schools licensed to train and nurture aspiring physician assistants with all the necessary skills to work as medical professionals in the healthcare system.

With such a number, prospective PAs are guaranteed to find schools whose curriculum fits their schedule perfectly.

Below are some of the P.A. schools in the United States.

  • University of Iowa
  • Yale University
  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Marquette University
  • George Washington University,
  • Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio
  • The University of Colorado
  • Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • University of Utah

How Do I Get into Physician Assistant Schools in the United States?

While the rewards of joining the physician assistant profession include decent salaries, a sufficient number of employment opportunities, and the satisfaction of witnessing patients recover from severe injuries or illnesses, becoming a Physician Assistant is not easy.

Often, prospective PAs face the challenge of getting into the PA school of their choice. As each P.A. school has its own admission prerequisites, it is advised that candidates have the stipulated admission requirements to stand a chance to be considered.

Here are the general admissions requirements of P.A. Schools in the United States.

  • A CASPA Applications 
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • A minimum of 3.0 GPA
  • Prerequisite courses like physics, chemistry, biology
  • A minimum of Grade B in the prerequisite courses
  • GRE or TOEFL Score 
  • At least 1,000 hours of healthcare experience
  • Personal Statements
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts

Also Read: 10 Best Physician Assistant PA Schools In Washington | 2023

How Long are PA Schools in the United States?

The average time to complete a P.A. program in the United States is 2 years. However, some programs are usually longer than others, depending on the institution and the program you are applying for.

The duration of the P.A. program provides students with an opportunity to develop their analytical skills and build leadership and communication skills which are extremely important in the healthcare environment where P.A.s have been entrusted with increasing levels of responsibility.

Can Physician Assistants Practice Independently in the United States?

Physician assistants (PA) practice medicine alongside doctors, nurses, and therapists. Like doctors, these medical professionals examine, diagnose, and treat patients, and as a general rule, they must do so under the supervision of a physician. 

The U.S. has 50 states covering a vast swath of North America. Each state has laws and policies concerning whether a physician assistant can practice independently or not.

States such as Virginia, Arizona, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and North Dakota allow PAs to practice independently. 

However, Texas is one of the many states that require PAs to practice under the supervision of a certified physician.

If you are interested in practicing independently as a P.A. in the United States, ensure you apply to states whose laws accommodate the private practice.

What are the Best Physician Assistant Schools in the United States? 

The United States has one of the world’s highest numbers of P.A. schools. With such numbers, students are usually faced with the challenges of selecting the right P.A. schools.

Choosing a good P.A. school is pivotal in your career path as the training provides aspiring P.A.s with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the medical field.

Out of the 50 States, we have curated a list of the top 10 States with the best P.A. schools in the United States. 

Also Read: 10 Best Physician Assistant PA Schools In Oklahoma | 2023

#1. New Jersey

New Jersey is one of the 50 federal states of the United States. The State is consistently ranked among the safest, healthiest, and ideal places to study. 

The Garden offers a 33-month P.A. training program to individuals interested in becoming physician assistants.

The State has only 4 active P.A. schools established to offer standard P.A. programs. Such schools include.

Read More Here: The Best Physician Assistant Schools In New Jersey |2023

#2. Texas

Texas is the “Lone Star state” located in the south-central part of the United States. It is one of the best states to live in as its economy is booming, it possesses a lively sports culture, and it provides top-notch educational opportunities.

The 27-month P.A. program helps train and equip students with the necessary skills needed in any area of specialty in the medical line.

The following are some of the best P.A. schools in Texas

Check Out: Best Medical Schools in Texas

#3. New York 

Known as the Big Apple State, New York is a constituent state of the United States of America. Among its many attractions, it is also known for having some of the best P.A. schools competing among the world’s top schools. It has about 27 physician assistant schools, one of the highest in the country.

Here’s a list of some of the best P.A. schools in New York, PA.

You might also want to check out the following:

#4. Colorado

Colorado is the 38th State located in the Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Colorado’s P.A. programs are considered one of the best in the country. However, few of these programs have equipped local and international students with the knowledge needed to practice in the healthcare system.

The following are the P.A. schools in Colorado

Read More Here: The Best Physician Assistant PA Schools In Colorado

#5. California

California is the most populous State in the U.S., with a population of 39.1 million people. Its sunny beaches, Hollywood glamor, and Silicon Valley innovation are known for sunny shores. California also has a diverse economy that ranks among the largest in the world.

California has a few great options for future P.A.s. With so many colleges and universities in the Golden State, aspiring PAs have a variety of P.A. schools to select from.

If you are interested in studying in California, here are the best P.A. schools in the State.

See also: 10 Best Physician Assistant Schools in California

#6. Virginia 

If you are looking for a state that allows P.A. to practice independently without the supervision of a physician, Virginia is the right choice for you.

Virginia’s P.A. schools are top listed in the United States, and they all have a high pass rate in PANCE. Graduates from the Virginia PA schools have high chances of employment.

Below are some of the best P.A. schools in Virginia.

Check This Out: The Best Physician Assistant PA Schools In Virginia

#7. Ohio

Ohio is one of the states in the U.S. that values physician assistants so much that in late 2018, Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill No. 259, which makes it easier for physician assistants to practice in the Buckeye State.

Physician assistants in Ohio have a broad scope of practice, allowing them to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative services under the supervision of a physician.

The best P.A. schools in Ohio are as follows

Read Also: 10 Best Physician Assistant PA Schools in Ohio

#8. Massachusetts 

Massachusetts is one of the notable States in the United States. The State comprises about 6,859,819 people and has been ranked number 1 in education in the nation.

If you live in Massachusetts and you are looking to pursue a career as a Physician Assistant, the following are the top P.A. schools to consider

Read Also: 10 Best Physician Assistant PA Schools In Massachusetts

#9. Pennsylvania 

If you want to start a career as a physician assistant, you may want to consider Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, there are almost 200 hospitals that employ a range of physician assistants and medical professionals, so job opportunities in the field are numerous. 

Most PA programs require in-person lab time and medical research. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that physician assistant opportunities in Pennsylvania exceed 7,000 positions statewide, with salaries that reach almost $100,000 annually.

The following are some of the best P.A. schools to check out in Pennsylvania

Editor’s Desk: 10 Best Physician Assistant Schools in Pennsylvania

#10. Connecticut 

Connecticut ranks as one of the top 5 states In the U.S. where physician assistants earn the highest salaries. If you are a Connecticut resident hoping to become a physician assistant, you are in luck! 

There are several on-campus and online P.A. programs that you can obtain without leaving the State. The following are the top P.A. schools to consider in Connecticut

Check Our Post On: 15 Best Physician Assistant PA Schools In Connecticut

What are the Easiest United States PA Schools to Get into? 

Like many other P.A. schools, most students find physician assistant programs in the United States challenging to get into. According to the PAEA, the average acceptance rate into a P.A. school is around 20%. But this acceptance rate can vary by State.

Also, each P.A. program has its GPA requirement for admission. However, several schools accept a relatively low GPA, so even students with a low GPA can apply as long as they have an otherwise strong P.A. school application and personal statement.

Here’s a list of the most accessible P.A. schools to get into in the United States

  1. Barry University Physician Assistant School
  2. Marquette University Physician Assistant School
  3. Loma Linda University Physician Assistant School
  4. Missouri State University PA School
  5. The George Washington University Physician Assistant School
  6. Thomas Jefferson University Physician Assistant School
  7. Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine And Science Physician Assistant School
  8. South University Physician Assistant School
  9. University of Utah PA School
  10. Midwestern University Physician Assistant School

How Much Does A Physician’s Assistant Make in the United States?

The physician assistant profession has proven to be lucrative as there seems to be a subsequent increasing e In salary earned. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a physician assistant’s salary is $108,610 annually.

Physician assistants who work in educational services tend to earn less, bringing in about $102,870 annually. In comparison, those working in outpatient centers earn some of the highest salaries, around $115,560. 

Salaries vary by State, experience, educational background, and industry. The top five states with the highest salaries in the United States are:

1. Connecticut

Annual Median Salary: $126,320.

2. Washington

Annual Median Salary: $122,710.

3. Alaska

Annual Median Salary: $120,990.

4. New Jersey

Annual Median Salary: $120,700.

5. Nevada

Annual Median Salary: $119,570.

What are the Best Physician Assistant Programs in the United States?

When it comes to obtaining an exceptional clinical experience with strong faculty, excellent academics, and a top-rate student body, yes, the P.A. school you attend does matter.

The United States houses P.A. schools known for their first-time pass rate in the PANCE and standard facilities.

P.A. school ranking data from the latest U.S. News Best Physician Assistant Programs Ranking Reports in the United States are as follows:

  1. Duke University, Durham, NC
  2. The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
  3. Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX
  4. The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
  5. Emory University, Atlanta, GA
  6. George Washington University, Washington, DC
  7. The University of Colorado, Aurora, CO
  8. Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC
  9. The University of Southern California, Alhambra, CA
  10. The University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  11. Stony Brook University–SUNY, Stony Brook, NY
  12. Rutgers University School of Health Professions, Piscataway
  13. Northern Arizona University, AZ
  14. James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
  15. University of Oklahoma Oklahoma City, OK

What are the P.A. Schools in the United States that Don’t Require GRE? 

In applying to P.A. schools in the United States, aspiring P.A.s are usually expected to have the stipulated admissions requirement before being considered.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is one primary admission requirement requested by most P.A. schools in the United States. The exam helps assess a person’s qualifications to be admitted to the program.

However, the GRE scores can either make or break your chances of getting into P.A. school, and students detest it. Yet, P.A. Schools in the United States accept students without the GRE. The following schools are

  • A.T. Still University, AZ
  • Bay Path University, MA
  • California Baptist University, CA
  • Colorado Mesa University, CO
  • Daemen College, NY
  • Eastern Virginia Medical School, VA
  • Franklin Pierce University. NH
  • Gannon University Ruskin, FL
  • Hofstra University, NY
  • Loma Linda University, CA
  • Mercy College, NY
  • Rutgers University, NJ
  • CUNY School of Medicine, NY
  • Xavier University of Louisiana, LA
  • Yale University Physician Associate Program, CT

Are there Physician Assistant Master’s Programs in the United States? 

Physician Assistant master’s programs are designed to help P.A.s have adequate knowledge to examine, diagnose, and treat patients as part of a team in many areas of medicine.

Physician assistant schools in the United States combine coursework and clinical experiences to provide a strong foundation of medical knowledge. Classes usually cover core topics in science, pathology, human anatomy, clinical medicine, pharmacology, and medical ethics. 

Also, students participate in supervised clinical hours in several areas to gain hands-on knowledge and prepare them for diverse challenges they may encounter in the medical field.

Here’s a list of some of the Master’sMaster’s programs offered by P.A. schools in the United States.

  • South University – M.S. Physician Assistant
  • The University of Florida – Master of Physician Assistant Studies
  • The University of Colorado – Master of Physician Assistant Studies
  • Nova Southeastern University – Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – Master of Physician Assistant Studies
  • University of Iowa – Master of Physician Assistant Studies
  • Rutgers University, Newark – M.S. in Physician Assistant
  • The University of Wisconsin-Madison – Master of Physician Assistant Studies
  • Northwestern University – Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies
  • Tufts University – Master of Physician Assistant

Are there Online Physician Assistant Courses in the United States for International Students? 

We have witnessed changes in the method of training over the years. Students can obtain entry-level degrees either online or on campus.

International students who have always wished to study as physician assistants in the United States but do not want to face the troubles of relocating can apply for online courses at some of the best P.A. schools in the country. 

We have identified the best P.A. schools that offer online P.A. courses for international students to attend at their convenience.

  • Touro College
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
  • Pace University
  • University of Nebraska –Medical Centre
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison

What are the Cheapest PA Schools in the United States? 

The cost of a P.A. school varies from one institution or program to another. The average tuition cost for cheap P.A. schools can range from $40,918 at the lowest to $81,555.

Occasionally, students are faced with finding affordable P.A. schools that not only offer quality education but are also accredited in the United States.

If you’re looking to minimize the cost of your physician assistant education, here are the cheapest P.A. schools in the United States.

  • Tufts University
  • Missouri State University
  • Springfield University
  • University of Texas
  • CUNY York College
  • University of Iowa
  • SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • The University of Mississippi
  • University of Detroit Mercy
  • Wichita State University
  • University of Nebraska
  • University of Wisconsin

What are the Accredited PA Programs in the United States? 

To practice as a Physician Assistant in the United States, you must become nationally certified by passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). Aspiring P.A.s cannot sit for that exam unless they have applied to a P.A. program that ARC-PA has accredited.

Schools can lose that status if they don’t comply with ARC-PA’s standards, which means they cannot accept new students. Students should ensure that they thoroughly access the pa schools they apply to.

Trust me, with 50 states to choose from, that’s no easy task. In addition, all states have individual requirements you must meet.

Below are some of the accredited P.A. programs in the United States.

  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham
  • Stanford University, Stanford
  • University of Colorado, Aurora
  • Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven
  • Barry University, Miami Shores
  • Mercer University, Savannah
  • Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine, North Chicago
  • University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne
  • University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • University of Kentucky, Lexington
  • Louisiana State University, Shreveport
  • The University of New England, Portland, Biddeford
  • Springfield College, Springfield
  • Missouri State University, Springfield
  • University of Nebraska, Omaha
  • Seton Hall University, South Orange
  • University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  • Stony Brook University, Stony Brook
  • Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland
  • University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth

How To Become A Physician Assistant in the United States

Studying in the United States is a thrilling experience as there are 50 states to explore during your career pursuit as a Physician Assistant.

The joy of becoming a physician assistant after the rigors faced during P.A. programs is unexplainable. Most times, individuals fail to achieve this goal because of a lack of adequate information on becoming a P.A.

Without further ado, here are the ways to become a physician assistant in the United States.

Acquire a bachelor’s degree and complete standard prerequisite courses

The journey toward starting a career as a P.A. begins with obtaining a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Usually, It takes about four years to get a bachelor’s degree, but some future P.A.s take an additional year to ensure that P.A. school prerequisites are completed.

Prospective P.A.s are advised to consider majoring in a science-based field; your required coursework will count towards P.A. school requirements. 

Remember that your P.A. program may require standard classes like statistics, chemistry, ethics, and physics but are not required for your undergraduate degree. You may have to take some additional courses to fulfill these requirements.

Gain healthcare and patient care experience hours (HCE/PCE)

All aspiring P.A.s need to accrue healthcare experience. P.A. programs look for two (2) significant types: healthcare experience (HCE) and patient care experience (PCE). 

Healthcare experience involves working in settings where you are not directly responsible for a patient’s care but rather administer treatment with the supervision of a physician; patient care experience involves now being accountable for a patient’s care.

Usually, PA programs require at least 1,000 HCE or PCE hours. Each PA program is unique. Nonetheless, you can find the minimum requirements on P.A. schools’ websites, the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA), or the Applicant’s Manual of Physician Assistant Programs.

Apply for a P.A. program

Once candidates have completed their bachelor’s degree and have acquired a substantial amount of HCE/PCE, it’s time to start preparing your application. You’ll likely use CASPA to apply, and, among other things, you’ll need:

  • Transcript
  • Letters of recommendations
  • Personal statements
  • GRE or TOEFL scores
  • 1,000 hours of HCE/PCR

After successfully being admitted and completing the P.A. programs, which usually take about 2-3 years, depending on the location, institution, and choice of programs, students are expected to write the PANCE.

Pass the PANCE

After you graduate from an accredited P.A. program, students are mandated to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). The PANCE consists of 300 total questions. You are allotted five hours to complete five 60-question sections. (You are allowed 45 break minutes and 15 minutes to train on the software.)

It generally takes a few weeks to receive your PANCE results. Students are allowed to retake the exam if they fail the first time.

Consider obtaining additional certification or Board Certification

After earning P.A. licensure, Physician Assistants may obtain specialty or board certification to improve their knowledge and skills and advance their careers. P.A.s can specialize in pediatrics, psychiatry, cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, hospital medicine, and orthopedic surgery.

To acquire a specialty certification, P.A.s must possess licensure and specialty experience, meet proceeding education requirements in their specialty, and receive support from a physician. After completing these requirements, P.A.s must pass a specialty exam. 

Maintaining Certification

After obtaining certification, P.A.s must ensure they maintain certification. Physician assistants must earn at least 100 continuing education credits every two years. 

P.A.s must also pass the PANCE during year 10 of their recertification cycle. P.A.s who do not pass the PANCE on their first attempt may take the exam up to three more times.

You might want to check out: The Best Physician Assistant PA Schools in the Caribbean

Physician Assistant Certification Council of the United States

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Are PA schools harder than medical schools?

P.A. school is much more complex than medical school. P.A. classes are lengthier and more extensive than medical school. Also, they have to be completed in about 2 years.

Medical schools have classes 2-3 hours per day, and P.A. schools are 6-8 hours per day. Medical school classes are strictly optional, and P.A. lectures are usually required for attendance.

Can I get into P.A. school with a 3.0 GPA?

requirement of 3.0 in cumulative coursework or science courses. Some have higher minimum requirements, while others have needs that are lower than 3.0. Some programs do not list a minimum GPA requirement.

The simple answer is yes. Many PA schools have a minimum GPA 

Is a physician assistant above a nurse practitioner?

Neither profession ranks higher than the other. Both occupations work in healthcare but have different qualifications, educational backgrounds, and responsibilities. They also work in various specialties.

How many years is a master’s degree?

Most Master’sMaster’s degree programs will take an average of two years from start to finish – about half of the time it takes to earn your bachelor’s degree.


Being a P.A. is a rewarding profession that benefits many patients daily. Although the journey towards achieving this goal may be difficult, the outcome is always worth it.

We hope this article helps you make the right decision. To all practicing P.A.s, be proud of what you’ve accomplished!


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