Physician Assistant Programs in Minnesota

There are five universities offering on campus physician assistant (PA) programs in Minnesota, including the world renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester. If you are looking to stay in state but are in need of a more online experience, there are also several online PA programs that you may be able to complete without leaving the state of Minnesota. This resource will go through all of your options so you can start thinking about what kind of physician assistant degree program is right for you.

Online PA Programs vs On-Campus Programs in Minnesota

Each individual will put emphasis on different factors when determining the best physician assistant program for them. Those looking for a more traditional experience may put a lot of their consideration into on campus programs, so that they can attend school on campus with their peers. For those who have other responsibilities and who are looking for flexibility and less of a time commitment, an online program may be a way to shave off commute time or even have the freedom to attend class whenever is most convenient for them.

If you are looking for flexibility, remember that not all online physician assistant programs are the same in terms of what they offer. While any program without a commute may save you time, some students may need the added convenience of being able to attend class on their own time. On the other side of the coin, some students may prefer an online program that is delivered via live, webcam broadcasted classes so that they have the ability to ask questions as they are learning the material and communicate with peers and professors. Whatever your preference, ask the programs you are interested in about how they are structured and delivered so that you can choose wisely.

Last Updated: 6/22/21

On Campus PA Programs in Minnesota

As mentioned above, five different universities offer on campus physician assistant programs in the state of Minnesota. For these programs, students must go to class on campus regularly. In addition to course requirements, physician assistant programs also have clinical requirements that require students to report to a placement site to gain real world experience in the field. These sites may likely be off campus but in the community, though each school will be able to let you know how they place students.

If you are looking for an option that does not require you to report to campus, an online program might be for you.

Online PA Programs

Online programs allow you to tune into class online, which means you eliminate commute time and can learn from the comfort of your own home. This may be appealing to anyone who can’t afford to spend time driving to campus or who just prefers to learn at home. If courses are delivered asynchronously, students will have even more flexibility as they are likely to be able to view lectures on their own time, so long as they are alright with the trade off of not being able to ask the professor questions or communicate with peers during a lecture.

One thing students may have to commute to is their clinical placement site(s). Check with the programs you are applying to to see what they can do in terms of placing you in a site within your community/close to home.

Hybrid PA Programs in Minnesota

A hybrid program splits coursework requirements between campus and online. This kind of program is not currently being offered on any Minnesota campuses.

Physician Assistant Program Online Learning Formats

Online coursework is either delivered in a synchronous or asynchronous format. Some programs may utilize both of these kinds of deliveries.

  • Synchronous – any component that requires students to log in and interact at a specific time
  • Asynchronous – any component that can be completed at one’s convenience (as long as due dates are met)

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

A master’s in physician assistant studies may take between two and a half and four years to complete (PA programs are approximately 27 months, according to American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)). Bridge programs, which are unaccredited programs designed for those who became PAs before a master’s was required, may not take as long.

Online Physician Assistant Programs Available to Minnesota Students

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

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 Minnesota

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

Program City Time to Complete GPA Requirement
Augsburg University Minneapolis 27 months 3.0
Bethel University Saint Paul 27 months 3.25
College of St. Scholastica Duluth 28 months 3.0
Mayo Clinic Rochester 24 months No Minimum
St. Catherine University Saint Paul 28 months 3.2

General Tips on How to Become a Physician Assistant in Minnesota

To become a physician assistant in Minnesota, 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.

Get Licensed – Check with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota’s state board for exact requirements.