Physician Assistant Programs in New Mexico

There are just two on-campus physician assistant programs in the state of New Mexico- St. Francis University and University of New Mexico. Individuals who wish to apply to physician assistant school may be looking for more than just two options. Thankfully, there are also online options that New Mexicans can apply to. Online programs come with more benefits than just being more places to apply to. By not having to report to campus, students at online program to save on commute time. Other students may simply prefer learning from the convenience of their own home. Some online programs are delivered via live video lectures, which can be a particularly engaging way to learn. Every student is different- this guide will help you figure out which physician assistant program is best for you.

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

When deciding which physician assistant programs you should send applications to, there are a few things you may want to consider beyond proximity and prestige. Physician assistant programs can be delivered quite differently from one another, so you may want learning style to be a factor when considering which programs are best for you. Ask yourself these questions to start thinking about which kind of programs might be a good fit:

Where do I learn best?  Is my home a distracting place for getting work done?  Do I pay better attention when I’m learning material in a classroom setting? Does the comfort of home help me focus better?

How will commuting to campus affect me? Are the nearest PA programs in commuting distance to me? Do I have a car or easy means to get to class? Will the time it takes to commute make it hard to adhere to the rest of my schedule?

What does my schedule look like? Is my schedule consistent enough that I can attend class at the same time every week? Do I have availability to go to class during normal school hours or will I need to be able to learn on my own time?

Last Updated: 7/29/21

On Campus PA Programs in New Mexico

St. Francis University and University of New Mexico are the only two on-campus physician assistant programs in the state of New Mexico. Anyone who went to a campus to earn their bachelor’s degree knows the drill. Students are required to report to the classroom to learn course material several times per week. While getting to class may be an inconvenience, students may benefit from the fact that professors and peers are all physically nearby. This allows for benefits such as the ability to stroll into office hours, and the potential to connect with peers outside the classroom. In addition to attending class, students will also report to clinical placement sites to complete clinical hours which offer valuable real life experience. 

Those looking for a different experience or added flexibility may want to consider an online program.

Online PA Programs

Online programs are delivered virtually, meaning students do not have to be in a physical classroom to attend class. While some might find this simply convenient, others need this level of flexibility to consider attending school in the first place. Flexibility offered by online programs may go beyond being able to sit at home while viewing lectures or cutting commute time. Some programs allow students to attend class asynchronously whenever it is best for them so they can better fit the program into their schedule.

Even students attending an online physician assistant program will need to report to clinical placement sites to gain that real-world experience. Some programs may be able to place you at a placement site local to your home. Always ask the programs you are interested in if they will help you secure placements and if you can get a placement locally. 

Hybrid PA Programs in New Mexico

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

Physician Assistant Program Online Learning Formats

Online course material is delivered in one of two ways- synchronously or asynchronously. It is possible that an online program would deliver course material in both ways through various activities.

  • Synchronous learning is done in real time. Students must log on to participate in a live activity or attend class.
  • Asynchronous learning is done on one’s own time. An example might be a pre-recorded lecture that can be viewed whenever. 

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

A master’s in physician assistant studies (MPAS) could take as little two years to complete, or it could take over four years, depending on the program (PA programs are approximately 27 months, according to American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)). Bridge programs, which are unaccredited programs for PAs who enter the field before a master’s was required, may take less time to complete

Online Physician Assistant Programs Available to New Mexico Students

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

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

Program City Time to Complete GPA Requirement
St. Francis University Albuquerque 27 months 3.0
University of New Mexico Albuquerque 27 months 3.0

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

To become a physician assistant in New Mexico, 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 Mexico Medical Board 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 Mexico 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 Mexico’s state board for exact requirements.