Physician Assistant Programs in Utah

Those residing in the state of Utah have two on campus options for completing a physician assistant (PA) degree – Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions and University of Utah. Those who do not live near one of these campuses or who are looking for more or different options are in luck as there are also some online PA programs that they can apply to. Given that there are different kinds of options, it can be hard to decide what kind of program is right for you. This guide will help you ask yourself the right questions so that you can make the best decision for you.

Online PA Programs vs On-Campus PA Programs in Utah

Considering your schedule is a good way to start narrowing down the list of physician assistant programs you may be interested in applying to. For example, if there are certain times a day where you have other commitments, you may not want to choose a program that requires you to be in class during those times. It is also important to consider that Utah is a large state, and there is a likelihood that you do not live near one of the two on-campus programs. In this case, you may want to consider online programs if you do not wish to move closer to Provo or Salt Lake City. You will also want to think about whether your work schedule and other commitments stay the same week to week, or if you would need more flexibility in terms of when you can complete class deliverables during any given week. Those who can’t commit to any specific class time may be interested in what are called asynchronous programs, which we will describe later on.

After you do this initial narrowing down, you can start thinking about how your learning style might gel with your remaining options. If you find home to be distracting, you may want to choose a program that allows you to learn in the classroom. However, if you learn better from the comfort of home, you may find that an online program is more appealing to you. In recent times, online programs have become better and better at delivering some of the benefits that were once considered exclusive to the on-campus experience. For example, through webcams, online classes can be held live which means that students and professors can still have meaningful discussions even though class is virtual. Since the online experience can vary from program to program, it is also important to ask the programs you’re interested in how class is delivered.

Last Updated: 10/19/21

On Campus PA Programs in Utah

Most bachelor’s degree recipients know a thing or two about the on-campus experience. When attending an on-campus program, students report to the classroom to attend lectures and earn credits. In addition to going to class, students will be required to complete clinical experiences at clinical placement sites. Typically with an on campus program, these sites are located in the area around the university that the student is attending. These clinical experiences are an essential part of student preparation for becoming a physician assistant.

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

Online PA Programs

With an online program, you can attend class anywhere from the kitchen table to your office to a location that is not in your home at all. Because you have flexibility in regards to where you attend class, commute time is essentially eliminated. Depending on the online program, added levels of flexibility may be built in, including the ability to attend class on your own time. Typically with online programs there’s a trade-off between flexibility and engagement. Some programs will offer you maximum flexibility so that you can complete class at the most convenient times for you, however these programs often result in less opportunities for class discussion as compared to other online options. For the busiest of students, having a maximally flexible program may not be a non negotiable necessity as those types of programs may be the only kind that they can fit into their schedules.

Online programs still require you to report to clinical placement sites. Ask the programs that you are interested in if they are able to place you at placement sites local to your home. Also ask what level of support they will offer you in finding and securing these sites.

Hybrid PA Programs in Utah

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

Physician Assistant Program Online Learning Formats

Online physician assistant programs are delivered in one of two formats, synchronous or asynchronous. You may find that you were interested in programs that utilize both of these formats at different points.

  • With synchronous learning, deliverables are live, requiring students to login at specific times
  • With asynchronous learning, deliverables are completed on one’s own time, through means such as pre recorded lectures.

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

While exact timing will vary, master’s in physician assistant studies (MPAS) programs can take as little as two years and as many as four years to complete (PA programs are approximately 27 months, according to American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)). If you are a current PA interested in a bridge program, the programs you are interested in may take less time.

Online Physician Assistant Programs Available to Utah Students

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

On Campus PA Programs in Utah

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

Program City Time to Complete GPA Requirement
Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions Provo 28 months 3.2, 3.0 in science
University of Utah Salt Lake City 27 months 2.7

 

General Tips on How to Become a Physician Assistant in Utah

To become a physician assistant in Utah, 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 Utah Division of Occupational and Provisional Licensing 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 Utah 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 Utah’s state board for exact requirements.