Physician Assistant Programs in Kentucky

There are four schools in Kentucky offering physician assistant programs – Sullivan University, University of Kentucky, University of the Cumberlands, and University of the Cumberlands Northern Kentucky Campus. Kentucky residents may also apply to several online programs that allow them to complete a degree from an out of state institution without having to relocate. This guide aims to help you evaluate all of these options to help you determine which are best for you.

Online PA Programs vs On-Campus Programs in Kentucky

The pros to attending an online versus an on campus physician assistant program depend on who you are. Some of it comes down to how you learn best – does a classroom eliminate distractions for you, or do you need the flexibility that online learning offers in order to complete your degree? There are many personal preferences that you need to consider when choosing between these two kinds of degrees.

Last Updated: 1/12/21

On Campus PA Programs in Kentucky

The classroom is often what comes to mind when we think about college. On campus programs are of course conducted in this traditional setting. On campus programs require several weekly trips to campus to attend lectures, and then a clinical portion which requires reporting to a clinical placement site within the university’s community. With this sort of program, you are able to learn alongside your peers and meet them in real life, but you must be able to attend classes in person as scheduled. If this is not enough flexibility for you, you could consider an online degree.

Online PA Programs

Online programs conduct lectures and assignments virtually, which are accessed through your computer. Clinical requirements will still need to be completed in person, but even if you live in another state many programs may still often connect you with a placement site in your area (make sure your university can do this before enrolling). There are different kinds of online programs which are described below, they can vary greatly in flexibility and learning format. Remember that you may need to drive (or fly!) to campus on occasion for special requirements, but any program that requires more than a few trips is more of a hybrid than an online program.

Hybrid PA Programs in Kentucky

If you are looking to cut down on some commuting time or have a little more control over when you learn, while maintaining some connection to campus, a hybrid program may be right for you. These programs simply split program requirements into on campus ones and online ones.

Physician Assistant Program Online Learning Formats

There are two types of online programs that you can choose from. You will need to do some research to determine what is offered by the programs you are interested in:

  • Synchronous – class is conducted in real time through streamed lectures, chats, or other live requirements/deliverables
  • Asynchronous – Anything that is done on a student’s own time, such as a pre recorded lecture or solo activity/assignment.

Some online programs combine synchronous and asynchronous learning.

How Long do Physician Assistant Programs in Kentucky Typically Take to Complete?

A PA program for those who are not currently PAs often takes two and a half to four years to complete (PA programs are approximately 27 months, according to American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)). For those who have an undergraduate degree and are already practicing as physician assistants, a bridge program may take less time.

Online Physician Assistant Programs Available to Kentucky Students

The following online physician assistant programs are available to students in Kentucky. Note that some of these options are bridge programs for current PAs:

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)
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 Kentucky

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

Program City Time to Complete GPA Requirement
Sullivan University Louisville 24 months 3.0
University of Kentucky Lexington 29 months 2.8
University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg 27 months 3.0
University of the Cumberlands, Northern Kentucky Campus Florence 27 months 3.0

General Tips on How to Become a Physician Assistant in Kentucky

To become a physician assistant in Kentucky, here are some common steps. Be sure to check with the state licensing agency for specific state requirements:

  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 Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure 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 Kentucky 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 Kentucky’s state board for exact requirements.