Physician assistants work in partnership with nurses and doctors to diagnose patients, prescribe treatment, and conduct ongoing check-ups to ensure a full recovery. It is common for a student interested in a career as a physician assistant to apply to pursue a bachelor’s program in the field of nursing before applying to master’s programs with in-person residency.
In Pennsylvania alone, there are almost 200 hospitals that employ a range of physician assistants and medical professionals, so opportunities in the field are abundant. In the Philadelphia metro, those looking to earn their graduate degree have access to some of the best programs in the nation.
Students typically earn their degree as a physician’s assistant in person, and most 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.Click Here to See the Best Colleges in the US
Founded in 1891, Drexel is a small, private university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a long history of utilizing cooperative education to allow for more practical experience. Taught through its College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel’s Master of Health Science - Physician Assistant was designed to “develop graduates who are competent, caring physician assistants, possessing the skills of life-long learning needed to incorporate new knowledge and methods into their practices and to adapt to a changing medical environment.” There’s also an exciting BS/MHS Bridge Program for Physician Assistant Option which allows students to complete studies a year earlier than average! Drexel is known for its vast online offerings, as well, so some undergrad courses may be completed remotely.
A compact, self-contained private university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Duquesne offers a unique five-year, Entry Level Master's Degree for PAs providing graduates with Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and Master of Physician Assistant Studies degrees. The curriculum covers a pre-professional stage with 91 credits of “humanities, basic sciences and medical sciences.” The accredited component consists of 89 credits and is split into two phases — Phase 1: “14 months of didactic and case-based courses in clinical and behavioral sciences, clinical laboratory science, and applied clinical skills” and Phase 2: “12 months of Supervised Clinical Practice” with a master's project. The school notes it has had over 800 graduates who have performed “exceptionally” on the PA National Certification Examination.
Saint Francis University offers 2 Physician Assistant degree programs. It's a small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a outlying town. In 2020, 92 Physician Assistant students graduated with students earning 47 Master's degrees, and 45 Bachelor's degrees.
|School||Average Tuition||Student Teacher Ratio||Enrolled Students|
|Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA||26 : 1||8,286|
|Drexel University Philadelphia, PA||22 : 1||23,589|
|Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA||18 : 1||8,830|
|Chatham University Pittsburgh, PA||18 : 1||2,353|
|University of the Sciences Philadelphia, PA||15 : 1||2,375|