Physician Assistant Programs in California Explained

Those looking to study to become physician assistants might also be interested in learning more about the physician assistant programs in California. The good news for students like this is that there are already nine such programs in the state of California, and they are accredited by the ARC-PA. In fact, California is actually only behind Pennsylvania and New York in the area of physician assistant programs that come with the required accreditation. Based on the program that students end up picking, they can get a mere certificate, an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree.

Requirements

The requirements for eligibility are different based upon both the school as well as the physician assistant program that students are applying to. For instance, some schools might demand that you already possess at least two years’ worth of college credits. A lot of the universities and colleges providing physician assistant programs in California also mandate a specific number of hours of contact with patients. It also will not hurt to already have some prior experience in the field of healthcare. Finally, some schools might also be quite picky about GPA and require students to have a minimum GPA to be accepted to a program.

Schools

There are a good number of physician assistant programs in California. One of the schools that are providing physician assistant programs to those interested is the Stanford School of Medicine in Palo Alto. This school permits students to enroll in a program in which they can earn either a certificate or an associate’s degree. In addition, the Stanford School of Medicine has options to allow students to enroll in programs that can lead to bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees.

Other schools in the state make good choices, too. For instance, interested students can enroll in the Riverside Community College located in Moreno Valley. Alternately, they may instead enroll at the San Joaquin Valley College in Visalia. Both of these schools offer students programs that can offer them an associate’s degree.

On top of these choices, there are still other schools that offer physician assistant programs in California. These are Touro University, Loma Linda University, Western University Health Sciences, the University of Southern California (Keck), the University of California Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento and Samuel Merritt University.

Students who are very serious about doing the hard work that it takes to become a physician assistant have to be certain if they are first eligible to make an application to the program and the school of their choice. Each school, which features physician assistant programs in California, comes with varying eligibility requirements. Thus, it is recommended that students directly get in touch with the school that they have their sights set on. Overall, students’ experience, academic standing and character are huge factors that the school that students are applying to is going to be assessing.

Physician Assistant Licensure

To take physician assistant programs in California, students should remember that it is insufficient to simply finish an accredited program. Students are going to be made to take and then pass the national certification examination referred to as the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination. Each and every state is different with respect to its laws on the practice of physician assistants. Still, one of these requirements has to do with passing the certifying exam that is administered by the NCCPA. Those students who end up passing this exam are then allowed to attach the Physician Assistant-Certified title after their names.

However, the certification process does not stop just yet. Every two-year period, physician assistants are obligated to complete 100 hours of continuing education. Every period of six years, physician assistants are mandated to take and pass a recertification test; otherwise, they can choose to just finish an alternative program and then complete a take-home examination.

How to make the best Choice

Students looking to get into a physician assistant program should want to get into one of the better ones. Getting into one of the better physician assistant programs gives students an edge over the competition because these programs are naturally better able to prepare them for the necessary licensing tests, the duties that come with this career and the responsibilities they must deal with. Students should consider these factors:

  1. PANCE Pass Rates: Excellent physician assistant programs usually feature a high percentage of students who do pass the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certification Exam). Students want to look at which programs produce students who score high on this examination since that shows they have been more than adequately prepared by the program.
  2. Rankings: Rankings should alert students about which programs are academically competitive with each other. They should be regarded by students as a guide. Rankings usually indicate that North Carolina’s Duke University is number one, and the physician assistant programs of DC’s George Washington University, Georgia’s Emory University, the University of Utah and the University of Iowa following closely behind.
  3. Compatibility: Compatibility is another thing that students should not take lightly. Compatibility includes the campus environment, the location and the cost. Compatibility has a tendency to be overlooked by students, but it is very important, nonetheless. Students in a physician assistant program that is not convenient in terms of how much they have to pay, where it is located and what the environment is like will not be able to make the most of their enrollment.

 

Physician assistant programs in California come in all forms, mainly because quite a few schools in the state offer them. However, not all schools and their physician assistant programs are created equally, which means that students wanting to enroll in said programs have to evaluate various programs before applying. If they do not, they run the risk of being accepted into a physician assistant program that is not going to be conducive to their unique needs. Factors to consider include the cost, location and the campus environment.