Physician Assistant Programs in Montana

Montana has only one on campus option for those looking to earn a master’s in physician assistant studies – Rocky Mountain College. If you are a person who wants to stay in state while you earn your PA degree, you may be feeling like there aren’t many options available to you. Thankfully, there are also online programs available that allow you to complete your courses from wherever you are. This not only gives you more choices for PA school but also offers an opportunity to enroll in programs that grant the flexibility that may come with going to school at home.

Online PA Programs vs On-Campus Programs in Montana

When looking for the best physician assistant program for you, it is important to think about what your needs are in order to learn best and fit schooling into what may already be a hectic schedule. People learn differently – some need a classroom to focus while others like to be able to attend class at the kitchen table – think carefully about which of these learning environments you are more suited to. Additionally, think about what your schedule will look like as you attend school. If you have other commitments, you may need to think about what times are best for attending class and whether you are able to enroll in a program that requires you to tune into class at a specific time.

Last Updated: 6/28/21

On Campus PA Programs in Montana

Students attending on campus physician assistant programs (in the state of Montana there is just one such program) should expect to report to campus regularly for class. You will likely interact with your peers and professors in real life on the campus and perhaps forge connections with students that go beyond the campus as well. Additionally, you may be required to report to a clinical placement site to do your clinical hours and gain real life skills in the field. For on campus PA programs, these sites are often in the community surrounding the university.

Looking for other options that don’t require a classroom or a commute? You may want to consider online options.

Online PA Programs

Online programs cut out commute time and offer a range of other conveniences as well – depending on the program. Some may even allow you the ability to choose when you go to class (through pre recorded lectures or other media) if you are willing to forgo the benefits of options delivered in real time such as asking a professor a question during class. For the more interactive programs, students may find they are still able to have valuable discussions via webcam and forge meaningful connections with their peers. For some students, being able to attend class on their own time is plainly the only way they would be able to fit earning a degree into their schedule. Think about what your needs are and research different online programs to figure out which are best for you.

Students must still report in person to complete clinical requirements, but programs may allow you to do this locally to where you live. Talk to representatives of the programs you are interested in to find out where you can complete placements and if and how they will help you secure a placement site locally.

Hybrid PA Programs in Montana

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

Physician Assistant Program Online Learning Formats

Online coursework is delivered either asynchronously or synchronously. Programs may use both delivery methods throughout coursework.

  • Synchronous – students attend a class or activity in real time, through webcam, chats, or other media
  • Asynchronous – students attend a class or activity on their own time

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

PA programs are approximately 27 months, according to American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). However, a program may take as little as a couple of years and as many as four. There are also shorter, unaccredited bridge programs available for PAs who entered the field before a master’s was required.

Online Physician Assistant Programs Available to Montana Students

The following online physician assistant programs may be available to students in Montana. 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 Montana

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

Program City Time to Complete GPA Requirement
Rocky Mountain College Billings 26 months 3.0

General Tips on How to Become a Physician Assistant in Montana

To become a physician assistant in Montana, 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 Montana Board of Medical Examiners 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 Montana 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 Montana’s state board for exact requirements.