Physician Assistant Programs in Oregon

There are a couple of Oregon campuses offering on campus physician assistant (PA) programs – including Oregon Health and Science University and Pacific University. Those who are looking for additional options that they can complete in state are in luck, there are also a few online programs that they can apply to. With very different kinds of choices, it can be hard to determine which programs to apply to. This guide will help you make sense of your options so you can start thinking about what programs might be best for you!

Online PA Programs vs On-Campus PA Programs in Oregon

When choosing between on campus and online programs, you may find that you like aspects of both types of learning. You may even decide to apply to both kinds of programs, leaving you with some options to sift through. In these instances, eliminating any physician assistant program that you couldn’t possibly attend is an easy way to start narrowing down your list.

What is a program you couldn’t possibly attend? One that is either too far away/takes too much commuting time (Oregon is a big state!) would fall under this category. Additionally, if you have a lot of obligations during typical class times, that may limit your ability to attend some programs based on when class is in session. Look for programs that allow you to attend class when you have time to. If you are especially busy, there may be online options that allow you to view lectures on your own time, if that level of flexibility helps.

Once you have narrowed your list down to programs you could attend, you may want to factor in your preferences. If you want ample opportunity to meet with professors and peers in real life for example, or if you are easily distracted at home, you may want to consider an on campus program. Or, if you value these interactions but need more flexibility, you may opt for online classes that facilitate live discussions during class via webcam. Those who prefer to learn on their own time may want an online program that offers pre recorded lectures. 

Last Updated: 8/24/21

On Campus PA Programs in Oregon

Oregon is home to a couple of on campus physician assistant programs. With these programs, you will attend class on campus on a regular basis. You will meet your peers and professors in real life. You will likely complete your clinical placements, a requirement for licensure, at sites surrounding the university. Anyone who has attended college on a campus beforehand will have familiarity with the on campus experience.

Those looking for added flexibility or a different kind of experience may want to think about an online program.

Online PA Programs

With online programs, you login to attend class instead of reporting to campus. This added convenience can be the difference between being too busy to earn a degree and having time to fit one in for some people. While you may not see your peers and professors often in real life, some programs facilitate live discussion through webcam, which allows students to still forge meaningful connections within the program. Other programs may not facilitate these connections, but instead will offer added flexibility through conveniences such as lectures that are pre recorded and that may be viewed at whatever time a student chooses.

For online programs, students will still need to go to clinical sites to get that real world experience. These experiences may be able to occur at sites near where the student resides. Check in with the programs that you are interested in to find out how they can support you in securing placement sites local to you.

Hybrid PA Programs in Oregon

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

Physician Assistant Program Online Learning Formats

Online programs may be delivered in asynchronous or synchronous format (or through a mixture of both methods):

  • Synchronous- live classes or deliverables that require students to login and participate at a certain time
  • Asynchronous- static deliverables that students can view or complete on their own time

How Long Do Physician Assistant Programs in Oregon Typically Take to Complete?

PA programs are approximately 27 months, according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). This timeframe may vary depending on the program. For current PAs who entered the field before a master’s was required, bridge programs may take less time to complete. Bridge programs are not accredited by the AAPA.

Online Physician Assistant Programs Available to Oregon Students

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

On Campus PA Programs in Oregon

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

Program City Time to Complete GPA Requirement
Oregon Health & Science University Portland 26 months 3.0
Pacific University Forest Grove 27 months 3.0

General Tips on How to Become a Physician Assistant in Oregon

To become a physician assistant in Oregon, 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 Oregon 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 Oregon 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 Oregon’s state board for exact requirements.