Physician Assistant Programs in New Jersey

New Jersey has four different on campus physician assistant (PA) programs offered within its borders – at Monmouth University, Rutgers University, Saint Elizabeth University, and Seton Hall University. While this offers potential students several options to apply to, applicants may want additional choices or program formats to apply to. For those looking for other options, there are several online programs that New Jersey residents can apply to. Aspiring PAs may find online programs appealing for a variety of reasons. They may desire to save time by not having to commute to school. Or, they may find online learning to be more engaging. Every student is different and learns differently, which should be considered when choosing a program. This guide will take you through the different kinds of PA programs so that you can decide which programs may be best for you.

Online PA Programs vs On-Campus PA Programs in New Jersey

You will want to consider your own preferences and learning styles when deciding which physician assistant programs you should apply to. Because people learn in different ways and live different lives, what is best for one is not necessarily what is best for another. Think about what kind of program might best serve you by asking yourself the following questions:

What is the best learning environment for me? Would it be easier for me to pay attention in a classroom? Are there distractions at home that would make it challenging to complete an online program? Am I more comfortable learning from the comfort of my own home?

Is commuting to campus feasible? Are there campuses close to my home? Do I have a car or an easy route via public transportation? Do I have enough time to commute to campus while managing the rest of my responsibilities?

What does my schedule look like? Does my schedule allow me to attend class at the same time every week? How many other obligations am I shouldering? Am I available during normal class times or do I need options that allow me to learn on my own time?

Last Updated: 7/28/21

On Campus PA Programs in New Jersey

As mentioned before, there are four on campus PA programs in New Jersey – Monmouth University, Rutgers University, Saint Elizabeth University, and Seton Hall University. Those who earned a bachelor’s degree on campus will be familiar with the in-person experience. Students will report to class to hear lectures from a professor in real life. Because everyone is commutable to campus there are many opportunities to meet up with professors and peers. In addition to reporting to campus, students will report to clinical placement sites to gain real-world experience that is required in order to be certified.

Those looking for a more flexible or non-traditional experience may want to consider an online program.

Online PA Programs

Because online programs are delivered virtually, students may be able to attend class from wherever they are. This is a nice convenience for some and a necessity for others as not everyone is able to commute to class. Some students who may have been too busy to go to campus to complete a degree program may find that an online option makes earning a PA degree possible. The level of added flexibility offered by an online program ranges from that saved commute time to even more convenience such as being able to login to class whenever it is easiest for you. 

Any and all physician assistant programs will require you to report to clinical placement sites to earn real-world experience. This includes online programs. Different programs may be able to offer differing levels of support when securing a placement site. Ask the programs you’re applying to if they can set you up with placements in your area and how much help they will offer you in securing those placements.

Hybrid PA Programs in New Jersey

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

Physician Assistant Program Online Learning Formats

There are two ways that online programs are delivered- synchronously and asynchronously. While some programs will utilize one type of delivery, some online programs will have both synchronous and asynchronous components:

  • Synchronous components are live. Everyone is required to report to synchronous classes or activities in real time.
  • Asynchronous components can be completed on one’s own time.

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

A master’s in physician assistant studies (MPAS) could take just two years to complete, or it could take more than four years (PA programs are approximately 27 months, according to American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)). Physician assistants who entered the field before a master’s was required, unaccredited bridge programs will take less time to complete.

Online Physician Assistant Programs Available to New Jersey Students

The following online physician assistant programs may be available to students in New Jersey. 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)
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 New Jersey

The following physician assistant programs can be found on New Jersey campuses.

Program City Time to Complete GPA Requirement
Monmouth University West Long Branch 28 months 3.0
Rutgers University New Brunswick 33 months 3.2
Saint Elizabeth University Morristown 28 months 3.0
Seton Hall University South Orange 33 months 3.2

General Tips on How to Become a Physician Assistant in New Jersey

To become a physician assistant in New Jersey, 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 New Jersey Physician Assistant Advisory Committee 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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey’s state board for exact requirements.