As of March 2015, there were 190 accredited physician assistant programs in the U.S.1 All PA programs are accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The governing body of the ARC-PA includes members from the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Surgeons, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, and the Physician Assistant Education Association. There are currently five programs in the state of Wisconsin: UW Madison, UW La Crosse, Marquette University, Carroll University and Concordia University.
Most PA programs are approximately 26 months in length. The didactic portion of the program (typically 12-15 months in length) includes classroom study in behavioral/social and clinical preparatory sciences including: anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, medical ethics, clinical laboratory science, microbiology, pathophysiology, public health, and clinical medicine. The clinical portion of a PA program encompasses over 2,000 hours of full time clinical rotations in family medicine, emergency medicine, internal medicine, women’s health, pediatrics, behavioral/mental health, and general surgery, as well as electives selected by the student (medical or surgical subspecialties.)2
1. Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Accredited PA Programs
2. American Academy of Physician Assistants website
Wisconsin’s PA Programs
Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA)