Physician Assistant Programs in Arkansas

Those looking to complete an accredited physician assistant (PA) degree on an Arkansas campus have two choices – Harding University and the University of Arkansas. Thankfully, there are also online programs available that students can complete without leaving the state – allowing those who don’t want to move to complete their degree program a greater number of choices. This guide will help you determine which physician assistant programs offered in Arkansas might be a good fit for you.

Online vs On Campus Physician Assistant Programs in Arkansas

Online programs and on campus physician assistant (PA) programs both offer unique benefits to students. Some of the main benefits of each include:

On Campus Programs:

  • Traditional on campus experience
  • Good fit for those who may be easily distracted at home
  • More face time with peers and professors

Online Programs:

  • No commuting time
  • No need to move near a campus
  • Potential to choose when you view lectures (depending on program)
  • May be able to interact with peers in real time (keep reading below)

Last Updated: 12/21/20

Fully Online PA Programs vs Hybrid PA Programs

Aspiring physician assistants can apply to various types of online programs:

Online PA Programs

The coursework component of an online program is completed entirely online. Other components of the program will be completed in person (i.e. clinical hours) but most of these can typically be completed at a clinical site near the student’s home. Students participating in an online program will not be required to go to campus more than a few times, otherwise they are considered a hybrid program.

Hybrid PA Programs

Hybrid PA programs deliver some coursework online but also require that some coursework be completed on campus. For this reason, one must live within commuting distance to campus in order to complete a hybrid program. A hybrid program is a sort of best of both worlds situation – you get to experience the benefits of being on campus while also benefiting from the flexibility that online programs can offer.

Arkansas Physician Assistant Program Online Learning Formats

There are two main types of delivery for online PA programs:

  • Synchronous – Classes are conducted live, so professors and students log in simultaneously to attend class together.
  • Asynchronous – Class materials are prepared in advance, in the form of recorded lectures and other materials. Students access these materials on their own time.

Some online PA programs will blend elements of both synchronous and asynchronous learning.

How Long do Physician Assistant Programs Take to Complete?

Including clinical requirements, it typically takes as little as two and as many as four years to complete a physician assistant program.

Typical Online Physician Assistant Programs Available to Arkansas Students

The following online physician assistant programs are available to students in Alabama. Note that these are masters program options for students who are not already physician assistants:

Fully online PA programs

If you wish to become a PA, here are eight physician assistant programs that are completely online. Some require you to be online at scheduled times for certain classes, discussions or exams; others do not. Some also require you to be NCCPA certified in order to apply.

School Degree level Live classes On-campus requirements Length of program Accreditation
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences


Doctor of science in physician- assistant studies (DScPAS) No None 3 years, but accelerated program is two years ARC-PA accreditation
Pace University


MPAS for already- certified PAs No None 12 months N/A (program for already certified PAs)
Stony Brook/SUNY


MPAS Some None 24 months ARC-PA accreditation
Touro College


MPAS for already- certified PAs No None 12 months N/A (program for already certified PAs)
University of Nebraska – Medical Center


MPAS for already-certified PAs, or MPAS/MPH dual No None Five semesters N/A (program for already certified PAs)
University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley


MPAS for already- certified PAs No None 28 months N/A (program for already certified PAs)
University of Wisconsin – Madison


MPAS Some First summer semester / 12 weeks 36 months ARC-PA accreditation

1ARC-PA probation is a temporary accreditation status for programs that are making substantial progress toward all accreditation standards but need more time to become compliant.

2ARC-PA provisional means that a program has the plans and resources needed to meet all accreditation standards but has not yet enrolled students; or that a program is demonstrating progress toward the standards as it prepares for its first graduating class.

Hybrid physician assistant programs

Here are three hybrid physician assistant programs, all of which require a combination of online and on-campus work. 

School Degree level Live classes On-campus requirements Length of program Accreditation
Miami Dade College


MDC-PA, M.H.Sc. Some All clinicals are in Florida 27 months ARC-PA accreditation
University of North Dakota MPAS Some 15 weeks 24 months ARC-PA accreditation

 On Campus PA Programs in Arkansas

The following physician assistant programs can be found on Arkansas campuses. 

Program City Time to Complete GPA Requirement
Harding University Searcy 28 months 3.0
University of Arkansas Fayetteville 28 months 3.0

General Tips on How to Become a Physician Assistant in Arkansas

To become a physician assistant in Arkansas, here are some common steps:

  1. Earn your Physician Assistant Degree – This will take you about two to three and a half years. Look for physician assistant programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) to ensure you meet certification requirements in the future.
  2. Pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) – You can learn more about the PANCE on our guide to becoming a physician assistant.
  3. Get Licensed – Check with the Arkansas State Medical Board as early as possible to make sure you are on track to meet all current requirements for licensure. According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), licensure in Arkansas requires graduation from an accredited bachelor and physician assistant program and passage of the PANCE exam. Current certification by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is not required. This is a high-level overview, make sure to check out Arkansas’ state board for exact requirements.