Idaho citizens currently have one on campus ARC-PA-accredited physician assistant program they can attend – Idaho state University. If an Idahoan wants to stay in state but wants more options, there are some online programs they can apply to. This guide will try to help you determine which programs you may want to consider and why.

Online PA Programs vs On-Campus Programs in Idaho

Before making a decision about which physician assistant program format will suit you best, you could try learning about the advantages of each option. The advantages are not the same for everyone – some learn best in the classroom while others learn best in an online environment. Other advantages are out of necessity rather than preference – for example, a busy schedule may require the flexibility of an online program that allows a student to complete classwork on his or her own time.

Last Updated: 02/18/2021


On Campus PA Programs

If you are looking for the traditional school experience, an on campus program may be the right fit for you. With an on campus program you will attend classes on campus during set times during the week. Additionally, you will complete clinical requirements at placement sites in the community. Advantages to this format include a consistent structure and real life connections with peers.

Aspiring physician assistants can also apply to two kinds of online programs:


Online PA Programs

These are programs where all coursework is completed online. Clinical work is completed at placement sites in the community, and occasionally other hands-on requirements are completed on campus (but not more than a couple of times per year). These programs can have some of the same benefits as on campus programs, such as peer interaction through online streaming, and a structured schedule. Online programs can also offer flexibility in the form of no commute time or the ability to complete work on your own time.


Hybrid PA Programs

Some programs will offer some coursework on campus and then some in an online format – these are considered hybrid programs. Depending upon your needs, these may be a best bet for those who want some of the benefits of an online program and some of an on campus program.

There are two types of online programs:

  • Synchronous – real time course delivery that requires students to sign on at a specific time.
  • Asynchronous – Deliverables are completed on a student’s 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 the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). This time frame includes classroom requirements in addition to any clinical requirements that you need to complete. Other program options, such as programs for those who are already physician assistants but do not hold a master’s degree, may take less time.


Online Physician Assistant Programs Available to Idaho Students

The following online physician assistant programs are available to students in Idaho. Please note, however, that students should be sure to check each program to make sure the program is able to operate in Idaho. In addition note that some of these options are for students who are already certified PAs but do not hold a master’s degree:

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)
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 Idaho

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

Program City Time to Complete GPA Requirement
Idaho State University Pocatello 24 months 3.0


General Tips on How to Become a Physician Assistant in Idaho

To become a physician assistant in Idaho, 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 Idaho State 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 Idaho 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, but please make sure to check out Idaho’s state board for exact requirements.