Physician assistants provide therapeutic, diagnostic and preventive health care services to patients under the supervision of a physician. Employment of physician assistants is projected to increase by 39 percent through 2018, reports the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Median annual wages of these professionals in May 2008 were $81,230, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although physician assistants usually must complete four-year bachelor’s degree programs followed by two-year master’s degree programs, several schools allow aspiring physician assistants to complete their studies in just five years.

Saint Francis University

Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, offers a master of physician assistant science degree program. Students can complete the program in five years. The program includes three years of pre-professional coursework and two years of professional study. The first four years are designed for a bachelor’s degree in health science. During the professional phase, students complete several clinical experiences and must obtain advanced cardiac life support certification. Following the program, students can take the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistant’s board examination. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. Saint Francis University was founded in 1847.

Saint Francis University 117 Evergreen Drive Loretto, PA 15940 814-472-3130

University of Detroit Mercy

University of Detroit Mercy’s physician assistant program in Detroit, Michigan, is the first five-year entry-level master’s degree program in the state. In this accelerated program, students at the private Catholic university earn a bachelor’s degree in biology followed by a master’s degree in physician assistant studies. To get into the program, high school students must have competitive standardized test scores as well as a grade point average of at least 3.3. After completing the three-year pre-professional phase of the five-year program, students must have an overall grade point average of 3.5 and a 3.3 in the sciences. During the final two years of the program, students learn how to address the physical and psychosocial needs of patients and complete intensive clinical rotations and health projects with communities that are otherwise given little medical attention. The University of Detroit Mercy was founded in 1877. The physician assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

University of Detroit Mercy Physician Assistant Program 4001 W. McNichols Road Detroit, MI 48221 313-993-1245

Marquette University

Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, also offers a physician assistant program that students can complete in five years. Students are admitted into the biomedical sciences bachelor's degree program before beginning the master’s degree program in physician assistant studies. While in the professional phase of the program, students can complete clinical internships in rural areas as well as metro-Milwaukee hospitals and clinics. Students also study rigorous topics such as emergency medicine, clinical medicine and surgery. During the last year of the five-year program, students work full time with practicing physician assistants and physicians in various specialties such as internal medicine, pediatrics and family practice. Marquette University’s physician assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. The Roman Catholic university was founded in 1881.

Marquette University 1313 W. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53233 414-288-7710

2016 Salary Information for Physician Assistants

Physician assistants earned a median annual salary of $101,480 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, physician assistants earned a 25th percentile salary of $86,130, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $121,420, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 106,200 people were employed in the U.S. as physician assistants.

Related Articles