Physician Assistant Programs in Florida

For residents of Florida looking to pursue a master’s in physician assistant studies (MPAS) program, there are over a dozen on campus programs to choose from. Miami-Dade College to Florida State University, options are available in many areas of the state. Looking to skip the commute to school? There are also several online programs offered by US schools that Florida residents can enroll in. Because there are all of these choices, it can be hard to decide which schools you want to apply to. This guide will help you explore and compare available options, as well as provide tips on what you might want to consider when choosing between schools and program types.

Last Updated: 12/21/20

Online vs On Campus Physician Assistant Programs in Florida

When deciding whether to complete your physician assistant (PA) program in person or online, you should think about what each option might do to accommodate your learning needs. Have trouble staying organized? You might want a program (online or on campus) that keeps you accountable by requiring that you attend live classes each week. Need more flexibility? An asynchronous online program will allow you to complete deliverables whenever works best for you.

Online PA programs may offer you different kinds of added flexibility depending on the kind of program (options are described below). Some of these programs can even do this without forcing you to give up some of the benefits of in person learning, such as in person discussion and collaboration.

Fully Online PA Programs vs Hybrid PA Programs

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

Online PA Programs

As the term suggests, an online physician assistant program delivers all courses in an online format. There will be some components of an online program that are completed in person (such as clinical requirements) but these can typically be completed at a site near you. At most, an online program will require you to come to campus just a few times to complete hands-on requirements or just to meet up with your cohort.

Hybrid PA Programs

Some types of online programs are a blend of both the online and on campus experiences – requiring that some courses or parts of some courses be completed in person while other courses are completed online. While there isn’t the same degree of ability to complete all your coursework right at home, there is still added flexibility by not having to spend as much time going to campus, or by having online components require less of a fixed schedule. To complete a hybrid program, you must live close enough to campus to attend in person courses. Since the nature of these programs varies, make sure to check with the schools you are applying to to determine if the structure will work for you.

Florida Physician Assistant Program Online Learning Formats

It is important to consider the delivery format of the coursework when applying to online PA programs. Some programs are considered synchronous, where students have to attend class at a specific time and interact with professors and students through chats or even webcams. There are also asynchronous programs, where students decide what time to view pre recorded lectures and materials based on what works best for them. Each of these formats has its advantages – asynchronous can offer certain flexibilities to those who need it, while synchronous programs provide more opportunities to engage with peers and professors.

How Long do Physician Assistant Programs Take to Complete?

Between two and a half and four years is what those who are not already physician assistants should expect to spend completing a PA program. This time frame includes the clinical components of the degree.

Typical Online Physician Assistant Programs Available to Florida Students

The following online physician assistant programs are available to students in Florida. 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 Florida

The following physician assistant programs can be found on Florida campuses. There are campuses all over the state – Tampa to Miami.

Program City Time to Complete GPA Requirement
Advent Health University Orlando 27 months 3.0
Barry University Miami Shores 28 months 3.0
Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers 27 months No Minimum
Florida International University Miami 27 months 3.0
Florida State University Tallahassee 27 months 3.0
Gannon University Ruskin Ruskin 24 months Unknown
Keiser University Fort Lauderdale 24 months 3.2
Miami-Dade College Miami 27 months 3.0 Science
Nova Southeastern University Various 27 months 3.0
South University Tampa Tampa 27 months 3.0 Prerequisite Coursework
University of Florida Gainesville 24 months 3.0
University of South Florida Tampa 24 months 3.0
University of Tampa Tampa 27 months 3.0

General Tips on How to Become a Physician Assistant in Florida

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

  1. Earn your Physician Assistant Degree – This will take you about two to three and a half years (generally under three years for most Florida programs). 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 Florida Board of Medicine 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 Florida requires graduation from an accredited bachelor and physician assistant program and passage of the PANCE exam. It does not require current certification by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). This is a high-level overview, make sure to check out Florida’s state board for exact requirements.