Physician Assistant Programs in Georgia

Georgia residents interested in careers as physician’s assistants have some choices in terms of programs they can complete without leaving the state. There are five accredited on campus programs in the state of Georgia – Augusta University, Mercer University, Emory University, Morehouse, and South University Savannah. Aspiring PAs can also complete their choice of online programs while staying in their community. This guide will help you determine which programs you may be interested in.

Online PA Programs vs On-Campus Programs in Georgia

There are different advantages to both on campus and online physician assistant program formats. You may personally know that one of these learning environments is better for you than the other depending on how you work, what distracts you, and so forth. You may also want a certain degree of connection with your peers – which comes naturally with the on campus environment and varies depending on the type of online program you are enrolled in. Finally, online programs may allow you to complete some or all degree requirements on your own time which results in a lot of added flexibility.

Last Updated: 12/17/20

On Campus PA Programs

On campus programs are the traditional learning format. Students come to campus to attend classes with their peers. Since physician assistant programs have clinical requirements, those are completed at clinical placement sites in the community. This format offers consistent structure in the form of set class times, but requires commuting to campus several times per week.

If an on campus program is not what you seek, there are two types of programs that integrate online learning into their curriculums:

Online PA Programs

Fully online programs allow students to complete 100% of coursework online. Often, these online programs can place students in clinical settings near their community, so that they can also complete clinical requirements locally. Just a few on campus trips may be required during the duration of the program, but no more than that.

While you may not be with your peers in the physical classroom all of the time, some online programs offer many opportunities to connect with other students if there are many live streamed online requirements.

Hybrid PA Programs

If a program offers a mixture of on campus and online formats, it is considered a hybrid program. This program may bring the best of both worlds from online and in person learning to students by allowing for a medium amount of real time interaction with peers, and by reducing but not eliminating commuting time and required class times.

Physician Assistant Program Online Learning Formats

When choosing between online programs you will want to consider how the online programs are delivered. Program delivery is classified into two types:

  • Synchronous – coursework and other requirements that are delivered in real time
  • Asynchronous – course requirements that can be completed by students on their own time

How Long do Physician Assistant Programs Typically Take to Complete?

A Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree usually takes 2.5 to 4 years to complete (PA programs are approximately 27 months, according to American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)). This includes all program requirements. Other program options, such as bridge programs for PAs without master’s degrees, may take less time.

Online Physician Assistant Programs Available to Georgia Students

The following online physician assistant programs are available to students in Georgia. Note that some of these options are for students who are already certified PAs but do not hold a master’s degree:

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 Georgia

The following physician assistant programs can be found on Georgia campuses. There are campuses all over the state.

Program City Time to Complete GPA Requirement
Augusta University Augusta 27 months 3.0
Emory University Atlanta 28 months 3.0
Mercer University Atlanta 28 months 3.0
Morehouse School of Medicine Atlanta 28 months 3.0
South University Savannah Savannah 27 months Unknown

General Tips on How to Become a Physician Assistant in Georgia

To become a physician assistant in Georgia, 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 Georgia Composite 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 Georgia requires graduation from an accredited 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 Georgia’s state board for exact requirements.