Physician Assistant Programs in Wisconsin

If you live in the state of Wisconsin, there are a few on-campus physician assistant (PA) degree programs that you may be interested in. However, Wisconsin is a big state and not everyone within its borders is within reasonable commuting distance to a campus. Luckily, for those who do not wish to relocate, there are also online programs that aspiring PAs can apply to. Even those who do live within commuting distance to a campus may want to consider these programs, which are offered by accredited institutions throughout the country. This guide will help you evaluate your options so that you can apply to the programs that are best for you. 

Online PA Programs vs On-Campus PA Programs in Wisconsin

A good starting point for culling the list of physician assistant programs that you want to apply to is assessing your personal schedule. If you have other commitments at certain times of day, see if there are programs that hold class at times that do not conflict with your schedule. If the nearest program to you requires a long commute, consider whether you are willing to move closer to school or if you would rather cut commute time out completely with an online program. Variability in your schedule is also something that you will want to consider. If the timing of your other commitments changes from week to week, you may opt for an online program that delivers courses asynchronously, so that you can learn on your own time. 

Once you get rid of any options that simply do not fit with your schedule, you can start thinking about whether some of your remaining choices complement your learning style better than others. Ask yourself if you will focus better if you are at home or in the classroom. Think about how important it is for you to have discussions during class with your professors and peers – while discussion is a natural part of any on campus program, online programs will vary in terms of how collaborative they are. Some will have no discussion because classes are viewed on your own time, while others will be highly collaborative through the use of webcams and live video streaming.

Last Updated: 11/15/21

On Campus PA Programs in Wisconsin

If you are seriously thinking about PA school, you have likely earned yourself a bachelor’s degree and it is likely that you did so on a college campus. The on campus experience for PA school is similar in many ways. Typically, students report to campus to attend class, take exams, and earn credits towards their degrees. In addition to class requirements on campus, PA students are also required to complete clinical experiences at placement sites. Likely for on campus programs, these sites are regional to the university. These experiences allow students to get the real world experience that they need in order to become certified as physician assistants.

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

Online PA Programs

Online programs allow you to login to class anywhere, whether it is your home, a hotel room, or somewhere else completely. This flexibility essentially eliminates any regular commuting that you would have had to do to attend school on campus. Some online programs will be designed with flexibility at the forefront – with features such as prerecorded lectures that allow you to learn when it is most convenient for you. Other online programs will be designed to replicate the structure of traditional programs and maintain many of the benefits of in person learning. Through webcams and required class times, online programs may allow for the discussion and accountability that are associated with on campus learning.

You will still need to report to clinical placement sites to earn that real world experience while attending an online program. Check with the online programs you are interested in to see if they can help you secure placement sites that are local to you.

Hybrid PA Programs in Wisconsin

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

Physician Assistant Program Online Learning Formats

With online PA degrees, class will be delivered either synchronously or asynchronously:

  • Synchronous learning is anything delivered live, such as a live class
  • Asynchronous learning is anything completed on one’s own time, such as a pre recorded lecture

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

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)). This does not apply to bridge programs for current PAs certified before a master’s degree was required.

Online Physician Assistant Programs Available to Wisconsin Students

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

On Campus PA Programs in Wisconsin

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

Program City Time to Complete GPA Requirement
Carroll University Waukesha 2 years 3.0
Concordia University Mequon 26 months 3.2
Marquette University Milwaukee 28 months 3.0
University of Wisconsin – La Crosse La Crosse 24 months 3.0
University of Wisconsin – Madison Madison 24 months 3.2

General Tips on How to Become a Physician Assistant in Wisconsin

To become a physician assistant in Wisconsin, 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 Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin’s state board for exact requirements.