Physician Assistant Programs in Washington, D.C.

If you live in Washington, D.C., George Washington University is currently the single institution offering an accredited physician assistant (PA) program in your city. Those looking for additional options can consider nearby states such as Maryland and Virginia, or the variety of online programs that also exist. This guide will help you sift through your options so that you can find the program that is best for you.

Online PA Programs vs On-Campus PA Programs in Washington, D.C.

Looking at your schedule can help you narrow down the list of physician assistant programs that you want to apply to. Look for programs that hold classes at times that do not conflict with any other commitments you have, if that is a concern. Consider what a commute to a nearby campus would look like for you and whether you need options that allow you to save that time. Finally, think about whether there is variability in your schedule and if you might need a program that allows you to decide when you do your learning (i.e. through pre recorded lectures).

After using your schedule to shorten your list, think about any other factors that could help or hinder your learning experience. For example, you could factor in whether learning at home or in a classroom environment is better for you. You can also consider whether you would prefer a program that maximizes opportunities for discussion, or if you are ok with an asynchronous program that is less collaborative because you are learning on your own time.

Last Updated: 12/9/21

On Campus PA Programs in Washington, D.C.

If you are looking into PA school, it is probable that you have already earned your bachelor’s degree or are in the process of earning it. Likely, this happened on a campus, which means you are familiar with on campus learning. The on campus PA learning experience is similar – students go to class, take tests, and earn credits on a campus. In addition to on campus requirements, students also report to clinical placement sites, typically local to the university, for real world clinical experiences. These real world experiences are critical to a future PA’s preparation for certification.

Need a different kind of experience or just more choices? You may want to consider an online program.

Online PA Programs

With online programs you have the ability to log into class from wherever you learn best or from wherever is most convenient with you. This comes with many benefits, including the elimination of any commute. Some online programs are designed with flexibility in mind, offering features such as prerecorded lectures to maximize student control over class schedule. Other online PA programs are meant to mimic the benefits of traditional on campus programs – offering classes at specific times in formats such as video to maximize collaboration and discussion.

With online programs, clinical experiences are still a necessary part of earning the degree. See what the online programs you are interested in can do to help you secure placement sites local to you.

Hybrid PA Programs in Washington, D.C.

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

Physician Assistant Program Online Learning Formats

Online programs are delivered either asynchronously or synchronously

  • Asynchronous – not live, completed on one’s own time
  • Synchronous – live and collaborative classes or deliverables

How Long do Physician Assistant Programs in Washington, D.C. Typically Take to Complete?

PA programs are approximately 27 months, according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). PA degrees may be completed over a shorter or longer period of time, depending on which program you choose. This does not apply to bridge programs for current PAs certified before a master’s degree was required.

Online Physician Assistant Programs Available to Washington, D.C. Students

The following online physician assistant programs may be available to students in Washington, D.C. 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 Washington, D.C.

The following physician assistant programs can be found on Washington, D.C. campuses.

Program City Time to Complete GPA Requirement
George Washington University Washington, D.C. 2 years 3.0

General Tips on How to Become a Physician Assistant in Washington, D.C.

To become a physician assistant in Washington, D.C., 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 D.C. Health 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 Washington, D.C. 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 Washington, D.C.’s state board for exact requirements.