6 Best Physician Assistant Schools in Illinois 2024 | How to Apply

A physician assistant (PA) offers medical services to people and works collaboratively with other medical practitioners.

Because of their broad scope of knowledge and skill, PAs are regarded as essential members of medical teams. The demand for PAs is high.

That is, many health establishments are seeking to employ more PAs. This is because they’re versatile and can adapt to various medical conditions.

While this is enough reason for students to be interested in the career, yours might be different.

Some are interested in providing healthcare to patients and caring for them, while others want to assist patients in living healthily. No matter what your reasons are, becoming a PA is a good idea.

It’s one thing to aspire to become a physician assistant and another to get trained. Hence, it would be best if you were trained at an outstanding PA school. Only this way can you build the necessary skills, gain essential knowledge, and gain valuable experience.

If you’re thinking of a better place to pursue your PA career, it’s Illinois. And in this article, we’ll provide you with details about the best physician assistant schools in the state and other related information.

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Are there Physician Assistant Schools in Illinois?

Like most states, Illinois has exceptional physician assistant schools where students can get the quality training required to make them proficient PAs. So far, these schools have maintained excellent student performance records.

How Do I Get into a Physician Assistant School in Illinois?

Your first step should be attending a good college for your bachelor’s degree. Here, you’re expected to develop your interest and skills in decision-making, critical thinking, and oral and written communication.

Then, your calculated GPA should be competitive enough. Most schools accept applicants with a 3.0 GPA, which should limit your potential.

Also, you should take and pass the GRE. Then, gain clinical experience. If possible, shadow a physician or physician assistant. Don’t forget to get your reference letters ready and prepare for an interview – or interviews.

How Long are Physician Assistant Schools in Illinois?

Not all physician assistant schools in Illinois have the same program duration. However, it averagely takes 24 months to complete PA school in Illinois. During this time, you’ll be exposed to different skills, methods, and coursework, all essential for your proficiency.

8 Best Physician Assistant Schools in Illinois

Read on for our list of the best PA schools in Illinois. These schools have stellar equipment and competent instructors. This way, you’ll be getting quality training at its best. They include:

#1. Dominican University of Illinois

Situated in River Forest, the Dominican University of Illinois has one of the best PA programs in Illinois. Its program aims to educate to-be physician assistants in various ways to become professional and compassionate medical practitioners. 

The program takes a distinctive and student-oriented approach to train students while ensuring flexibility. This means that you can thrive in more than one medical discipline. Thus, you can adapt to various working conditions and the changing medical world.

In your first year at Dominican University, you’ll go through intensive classroom sessions where areas like anatomy, physiology, patient diagnosis, and emergency medicine will be covered.

Then, in your second year, you’ll undergo clinical rotations in various specialties like internal medicine, pediatrics, and surgical procedures.

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#2. Midwestern University

This school’s located in Downers Grove, IL. The school uses a well-designed curriculum to expose students to various medical procedures while encouraging diversity. Thus, students are trained to be understanding and professional in their careers.

To ensure students’ professionalism, the school engages students through rigorous classroom and laboratory sessions. The stellar facilities at the school also help to achieve core proficiencies in students.

Ranked among the best 30 PA schools in the U.S., Midwestern University boasts an average first-time PANCE pass rate of 98%. Areas where you’ll be trained include effective communication, professionalism, patient-centered practice, and personal health

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#3. Northwestern University

The Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago, is a top-class PA program that produces high-quality PAs that provide patient-centered healthcare services. The school seeks to develop its students’ zeal for professionalism, making them valuable members of medical teams.

At the school, students are assisted by qualified and experienced teachers in understanding their courses. They can quickly identify their issues and learn collaboratively with their student colleagues.

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#4. Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Rosalind Franklin University in North Chicago, IL, houses one of Illinois’ best PA programs. The program’s centered on six central values: diversity, innovation, leadership, professionalism, service, and teamwork.

Through the school’s curriculum, students are trained in various areas ranging from drug administration, diseases & infections, and patient diagnosis to medical ethics. Thus, they become ethical healthcare experts and support the improvement of the PA profession through selfless service and leadership.

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

#5. Rush University

The PA program at Rush University – located in Chicago, IL – takes 30 months to complete. The first year is dedicated to various training sessions like classroom lectures, group research/discussion, and case-based lessons.

Students engage in clinical rotations in the following 18 months, giving them advanced training necessary for real-life opportunities.

Interestingly, students work with licensed PA mentors during their training stages. This allows them to ask questions, get answers, and learn from their mentors’ experiences while improving their skills.

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#6. Southern Illinois University

Popularly referred to as SIU Medicine, this school’s a great choice among PA schools in Illinois. Its PA program uses real-life learning styles and special clinical training techniques to prepare students for a competency-filled career.

The school develops students’ critical thinking, decision-making, and time management skills through state-of-the-art facilities. This way, they can connect their training with real medical scenarios. SIU Medicine is located in Carbondale, IL, where students gain a lot of experience in various medical specialties.

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Read More: 8 Best Physician Assistant Schools in Michigan| Requirements, Cost & How to Apply

What are the Easiest PA Schools to Get into in Illinois?

Different PA schools have additional requirements, although their overall motive is to select the best students for their PA programs. That makes some “harder” to get into than others. Here are the most accessible PA schools to get into in Illinois:

  • Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
  • Northwestern University

What are the Cheapest PA Schools in Illinois?

Of course, everyone likes attending a “rich” school, especially in the medical field. However, it would be best if you considered your financial situation before choosing a PA school. Here are the cheapest PA schools in Illinois:

  • Midwestern University
  • Southern Illinois University
  • Rush University

Can Physician Assistants Practice Independently in Illinois?

No! PAs can’t practice independently in Illinois. Instead, they can operate under the close supervision of a licensed physician or gain approval from him. Should you want to own your practice, you can share company ownership rights with your supervising physician.

How Much Does a PA Make in Illinois?

An average physician in Illinois makes about $116,438 per annum. Factors that determine a PA makes include work experience, years of service, and employer type (government or private individual).

See Also: Best Physician Assistant Schools in Georgia

Physician Assistant Schools in Illinois that Don’t Require GRE

Only one physician assistant school doesn’t require GRE before considering your application:

  • Northwestern University
  • Rush University

Are there PA Master’s Programs in Illinois?

Yes! Most of the abovementioned Illinois-based physician assistant programs offer students the chance to earn their Master’s degrees in PA. That’s why learning at the schools is advanced and, well, more challenging compared to bachelor’s degree programs.

Are there Online PA Courses in Illinois for International Students?

Currently, there are no online physician assistant courses for international students. But international students are welcome for on-campus PA programs. PA schools in Illinois have diverse student communities open to students worldwide.

How to Become a Physician Assistant in Illinois

If you’re seeking to become a PA in Illinois, here are the steps you should follow:

  • Meet an accredited Illinois-based PA school’s requirement.
  • Take all courses and clinical sessions seriously.
  • Take the state’s PANCE exam and earn your certification from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).
  • Apply for licensure and ensure that you maintain your PA license. 

Read Also: 10 Best Physician Assistant Schools in Utah | Best Ranking

Physician Assistant Certification Council of Illinois

The Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants is the agency that oversees all activities concerning physician assistants in the state. The agency seeks to enlighten PAs in Illinois about the need for professional development and achieving their full scope of practice. 


How Many PA Programs Are in Illinois?

There are six accredited PA programs in Illinois. Students can apply to any of them to learn and train to become professional and certified physician assistants.

Who Makes More Money, RN or PA?

Physicians (PAs) make more money than registered nurses (RN). This is because PAs train more across different specialties. This gives them more job opportunities and higher salary ranges.

Can You Work While in PA School?

Due to intense coursework and training schedules, working while in PA school isn’t recommended. You’ve got to give it your best shot. Although you might be good at multitasking, you won’t be working while studying to become a PA.


Physician assistant schools in Illinois are bent on offering students exceptional hands-on and in-lab training. This way, students can be more skilled in their professional clinical careers. If Illinois is your preferred study location, check through the abovementioned schools and – all the best!


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