Advanced Physician Assistant Degree Online
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Advanced Physician Assistant Post Professional Program
A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) Advanced Physician Assistant (APA) program offers the most direct path to APA credentials–even without a Bachelor’s degree (additional admission requirements apply). Practicing Physician Assistants can begin immediately to pursue a Master of Science in Advanced Physician Assistant Studies from ATSU’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ASHS).
ATSU’s Master of Science in Advanced Physician Assistant Studies online is a post-professional program that offers concentrations in either Clinical Medicine or Education/Leadership, with flexibility for working professionals.
Current demand for Physician Assistants is at an all-time high. Graduates with a Physician Assistant degree take their place as esteemed healthcare leaders who serve a crucial role in meeting growing demand and solving community healthcare shortages. The Physician Assistant profession is rated number one by both PAs and the industry, according to List25.com’s list of Best Jobs in America 2012. Job mobility is even greater than that for an MD.
ATSU’s Advanced Physician Assistant Degree program has earned prestige for outstanding leadership and a prestigious curriculum that elevates Physician Assistants to the top tier of their profession.
A.T. Still University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 230 S. LaSalle Street; Suite 7-500; Chicago, IL 60604, Phone: 800.621.7440.
Degree-granting authority for ASHS has been given by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education, 1400 West Washington Rd., Room 260, Phoenix, AZ 85007. Phone 602.542.5709.
Students in the elite post professional ATSU-ASHS Advanced Physician Assistant online degree are practicing physician assistants who want to advance their careers in many exciting areas of healthcare including:
- Advanced Physician Assistant (APA)
- Cardiology Physician Assistant
- Cardiothoracic Surgery Physician Assistant
- Cardiovascular Physician Assistant
- Family Practice Physician Assistant
- Neurosurgical Physician Assistant
- Orthopedic Physician Assistant
- Primary Care Practitioner at rural and/or retail “mini” clinics
Student Insights +
As a Master’s degree is now the entry level degree of students coming out of PA school, I felt it important to ‘stay current’. After doing research of programs recommended by the AAPA and assessing each program I felt that ATSU was the best fit for me in terms of tuition, time in the program and content.
~Rodney Hamby, APA graduate
The best part of the program for me was being able to work at anytime of the day at any place. During my second year I had my first baby and it was very easy for me to still attend school, work full time and be a new mom! I did also enjoy learning how other Physician Assistants practice in different parts of the country.
~Lori Singer, APA graduate
Being an advance practice degree program we were all practicing PA’s and everyone had such a varied background. For once… I had a “peer group” and very much looked forward to our daily interaction. I would definitely recommend ATSU for any PA that wants to complete a Master’s Program.
~Sandy Beeman, APA graduate
Advanced Physician Assistant Degree Faculty
Faculty members comprise a supportive community of leaders in their respective fields. Not only do they teach both online and in the classroom, but they also provide students pursuing a physician assistant degree online with hands-on learning opportunities and real-world experience. They serve as mentors, advisers and researchers who are dedicated to furthering each student’s academic and career goals.
The world-class leadership of ATSU’s Advanced Physician Assistant degree program is reflected in its faculty, which includes a dean at Stark State College and the director at the Physician Assistant Institute in Conn. The Arizona School of Health Sciences dean is PA editor-in-chief of Clinician Review and former president of the Veteran Caucus of the AAPA. Supporting leadership for ATSU, a current commander in the U.S. Coast Guard is a member of the Board of Trustees and graduate of the Physician Assistant program.
Randy D. Danielsen, PhD, PA-C, DFAAPA
Dr. Danielsen is dean of the Arizona School of Health Sciences. Since graduating from the University of Utah Physician Assistant (PA) Program in 1974, Dr. Danielsen has distinguished himself as a clinician, PA educator, author, and editor. He received his BS in Health Science (cum laude) from the University of Utah in 1978, his Masters in PA Studies (MPAS) from the University of Nebraska with an emphasis on Internal Medicine in 1997, and his PhD from the Union Institute & University in 2003 with an emphasis on Medical Education. He completed sixteen years with A.T. Still University as academic coordinator (1995-1997), chair of physician assistant studies (1997-2004), and as dean of the Arizona School of Health Sciences (2004-2010) and recently returned as Dean of ASHS. He was honored in 2010 by A.T. Still University with Emeritus Professor status. He has served on the board of directors of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and as a board member and chairman for National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Danielsen served as president of the Utah Academy of Physician Assistants, the Arizona State Association of PAs, and as chair of the Arizona Regulatory Board for PAs. Retired after 28 years of service in the US Air Force and Army National Guard with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Dr. Danielsen also is a former president of the Veterans Caucus of the AAPA and was honored with the Caucus’ Civilian PA of the Year Award in 2003.
Dr. Danielsen was named Outstanding PA of the Year by the AAPA in 1993 and by the Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants in 2011. He currently serves as PA editor-in-chief for Clinician Review. Dr. Danielsen has published over sixteen peer-reviewed articles, eighteen journal editorials, two book chapters, and most recently his first book, entitled The Preceptor’s Handbook for Supervising Physician Assistants, published by Jones & Bartlett Learning. Recently he was selected as a Senior Consultant with the Academy for Academic Leadership.
- Randy D. Danielsen, PhD, PA-C, DFAAPA
Albert Simon, DHSc, MEd, PA-C
Dr. Simon is a PA graduate of the Alderson Broaddus PA program in West Virginia. Prior to ATSU, he served as chair of the St. Francis University PA Program in Pennsylvania. His clinical practice experience includes internal medicine and occupational medicine. In addition to administrative duties, he teaches in the History and Physical Examination sequence.
- Albert Simon, DHSc, MEd, PA-C
Jim Burkett, M.S., PA-C, DFAAPA
Mr. Burkett is a PA graduate from the Community College of Allegheny County and an APA graduate of ATSU. He has completed a PA Surgical Residency. His clinical experience includes interventional radiology, surgery, occupational and emergency medicine. In addition to his administrative duties, he teaches ethics and medical simulation classes.
- Jim Burkett, M.S., PA-C, DFAAPA
Read Bio Close
Linda Wheelis started working with the APA program in March 2003 and has been the manager since 2005. As the manager she runs the day to day operations of the department and program working with students and faculty. Linda holds a Bachelor degree in Management from the University of Phoenix.
- Linda Wheelis
Advanced Physician Assistant Degree Admissions
The Advanced Physician Assistant program requires all applicants to meet the following criteria:
- Graduation from a PA program
- Minimum overall GPA 2.50/4.0 scale and minimum PA program GPA 2.5/4.0 scale
- Applicants must provide official transcripts from all educational institutions attended where a degree was conferred:
A.T. Still University Attn: Online Admissions 5845 E. Still Circle Suite 213 Mesa, AZ 85206
- An earned bachelor’s degree in Physician Assistant studies from a regionally accredited college or university, or an earned Associate or Diploma in Physician Assistant studies to be eligible for the non-bachelor equivalency option. (Please contact an Enrollment Counselor at 877.469.2878 for more information about the non-bachelor PA equivalency option)
Tuition and Financial Services+
Application Fee: $70
Tuition: $375.50 per credit hour (2013-2014 school year)
Note: All fees and tuition are subject to change.
The Education/Leadership concentration of the Advanced Physician Assistant degree is designed for the physician assistant who wishes to gain advanced training in the theory and practice of educating healthcare professionals.
- required steps
- satisfactory academic policy
- student budget determination
- special conditions
- financial planning
THE 10 STEPS REQUIRED FOR A STUDENT TO RECEIVE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE ARE AS FOLLOWS:The student completes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a Renewal FAFSA by going to www.fafsa.ed.gov and following the instructions on the website. ATSU’s school code is G02477.The Central Processing System (CPS) performs matches and edits, calculates a student contribution, and sends the data back to the processor.ATSU receives the same information electronically (ISIR) within three to five business days.The student looks over the Student Aid Report (SAR) and, if accurate, keeps it for his/her records. If any corrections are needed, the student contacts Student Financial Services.Student Financial Services reviews the required forms, performs verification as necessary, and transmits the loan data to Sallie Mae.The student accepts, refuses, or modifies the award letter and submits all required forms to Student Financial Services.Student Financial Services looks over the required forms, performs verification if necessary, and transmits the loan data to Sallie Mae.The lender sends a copy of the Stafford Loan application to ASA for guarantee.The lender wires the funds by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to the school or sends the institution a loan check.If by EFT, all funds will be applied to the student’s account. The funds will be directly deposited to the student’s checking account if so desired by the student and proper documentation is on file.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Federal Financial Aid
According to the United States Department of Education regulations, (34CRF 668/16 and 668.34 and October 29, 2010 Final Federal Register), all students receiving federal financial assistance must meet and maintain satisfactory academic progress. Student Financial Services will review the academic progress of financial aid recipients after each payment period. Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) is measured in terms of qualitative and quantitative standards.
The qualitative measure of a student’s progress is measured by cumulative grade point average. The minimum cumulative GPA students must maintain for financial aid is as follows:
Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average at A.T. Still University 2.0 for all programs on 4.0 scale 70% for all programs on 100% scale
Maximum Time Frame
Financial aid recipients must complete an educational program within a time frame no longer than 150% of the published length of the educational program. All attempted withdrawn, failed, repeated, and/or transferred credits that apply to a student’s program count toward this maximum time limit. For example, a student pursuing a doctorate degree requiring 120 credit hours may attempt up to 180 credit hours before financial aid eligibility is suspended (120 x 150% = 180). A student pursuing a doctorate degree requiring 5100 contact hours may attempt up to 7650 contact hours before financial aid eligibility is suspended (5100 x 150% = 7650).
Pace of Progression
Pace of progression is required to ensure students complete within a maximum time frame and that the pace is measured at each standard review time. Financial aid recipients must maintain a 67% minimum completion rate for attempted credit hours or contact hours. For example, a student pursuing a doctorate degree requiring 120 credit hours may attempt up to 180 hours before financial aid eligibility is suspended (120 divided by 180 = 67%). A student pursuing a doctorate degree requiring 5100 contact hours may attempt up to 7650 contact hours before financial aid eligibility is suspended (5100 divided by 7650 = 67%).
Dropped, failed, and remedial courses for which no credit is received do not count towards credit hours earned. Credit hours for a course are earned by completing and passing the class.
Financial Aid Warning
Failure to meet the minimum academic progress requirements will result in a student being issued a financial aid warning. Students issued a financial aid warning will have one payment period to correct a progress problem due to qualitative or quantitative standards. Students will be notified of their status in writing via ATSU email. Students issued a financial aid warning will have an opportunity to file an appeal to request financial aid probation prior to the upcoming standard review time, which is at the end of each payment period.
Financial Aid Probation
If a student appeals their financial aid probation status and the appeal is approved, that student is put on financial aid probation for one payment period. Students may receive federal financial aid while on financial aid probation if he/she meets the terms of his/her appeal decision. If a student fails to meet SAP standards during the term of financial aid probation, he/she may request an additional appeal.
Financial Aid Suspension
Students who fail to meet the requirements of the financial aid warning or do not appeal their financial aid probation status are placed on financial aid suspension and are not eligible for federal financial aid. These students will receive written notification to their ATSU email account of their failure to comply and that future federal aid will be canceled.
Students who have been issued a financial aid warning may submit a written appeal for reinstatement of eligibility prior to the start of the next payment period. Occasionally, extenuating circumstances contribute to their inability to meet the requirements for satisfactory progress. Extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Death of an immediate family member
- Severe injury or illness of the student or an immediate family member
- Emergency situations such as fire or flood
- Legal separation from spouse or divorce
- Military reassignment or required job transfers or shift changes
Students whose appeals are denied must establish eligibility by completing courses without federal aid in one or more payment periods at ATSU until the cumulative GPA and/or completion rate meet the required standard before any additional federal aid will be disbursed.
Students who have extenuating circumstances may appeal using the following procedure:
- Submit a completed Appeal form. Student will be notified if additional supporting documentation is required.
- Appeal packet is presented to the SAP Committee for consideration.
- Student is notified via email of the SAP Committee’s decision and recommendations.
Federal financial aid may be reinstated when one of the following conditions has been met:
The student completes courses without federal aid in one or more payment periods at ATSU until the cumulative GPA and/or completion rate meet the required standard.
- OR -
The student files an appeal and the SAP Committee approves the appeal. It is the student’s responsibility to notify Student Financial Services when reinstatement conditions have been met.
Student Budget Determination
The student expense budget is determined each year by the Director of Student Financial Services. Every effort is made to ensure that allowances in each category are realistic and fair. Although the Director of Student Financial Services determines the average student budget, students having credit history difficulties may not be able to borrow the full budgeted amount due to the private loans being based on creditworthiness.
Verification is the process by which Student Financial Services checks the accuracy of the information submitted by the student when applying for federal financial aid. It is intended to reduce errors in the financial information that students submit so eligible applicants can receive the correct amount of financial assistance.
ATSU will verify all applicants who are selected for verification from the federally approved edits. If selected, students will need to submit a signed copy of their federal income tax return from the prior calendar year along with a verification worksheet. ATSU will compare the tax return and the verification worksheet to the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) to verify required items. Financial aid will not be awarded until the verification is complete.
Professional judgment allows the Director and Assistant Director the flexibility to handle individual students with extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis. This authority is clearly stated in the regulations and is used as needed. The adjustments may be made in the cost of attendance, expected family contribution, or satisfactory academic progress.
Although every effort is made to meet a student’s financial need, financial assistance is not an entitlement and, in some instances, not all of a student’s need will be met.
Financing your education is an investment in your future. As a major investment, it should be entered into with conscientious planning. Setting goals and establishing a game plan are essential in order to minimize your debt.
A simple financial plan begins with the establishment of a long-term goal. As you plan your strategies to reach this end, keep in mind that your short- and mid-term goals should be consistent with and built upon this long-term goal. To help keep you on track, it is important to develop a budget.
A budget lists all sources of income, as well as all estimated expenditures. To make a budget work for you, keep the following points in mind:Have a written planSet realistic goalsEstablish prioritiesKeep expenditures below incomeStick to your game plan
It is important for you to determine your needs so that you will borrow only the amount necessary, rather than the amount for which you are eligible. In the end, you may pay back 2-3 times the amount you borrowed. Therefore, the less debt you accrue in school, the more financially secure you will be later.
For online programs, tuition is due 14 calendar days prior to the first day of class. For programs with payment per credit or course, the tuition covers the payment for the coming quarter. For programs that have payment per program, payment in full is due prior to the start of the program or per their admissions agreement on a quarterly payment schedule. The Controller’s Office will receive tuition payments and make refunds as necessary. Delinquent tuition penalties accrue at 1 1/2% per month, which is 18% per year.
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Policy
The Department of Education is encouraging and, at times, requiring educational institutions to become paperless. Therefore, funds received through federal and private loans will normally be transferred electronically to a student’s account at ATSU. Students will receive a receipt itemizing the type of loan and amount credited to their account at the institution. Funds electronically transferred above what is owed for tuition and fees will promptly be refunded to the student by check or deposited directly to the student’s bank account. (Students that have lenders that do not wire money to ATSU will receive their financial aid through a co-payable check.) Generally, funds are available when tuition is due.
Many banks in states outside of Missouri make students wait 10 business days to tap their loan funds when deposited by check. Therefore, we require all students to use direct deposit where ATSU wires money to the student’s bank account. This way, the money is available on the day it is wired to the bank.
The ATSU Family and Culture
Advanced Physician Assistant Curriculum Overview
Courses offered in the Clinical Medicine concentration of the Advanced Physician Assistant degree program are designed to broaden the clinical knowledge and skill level of practicing physician assistants. In addition to the didactic course work, which may be completed 100 percent online, the Clinical Medicine concentration requires 400 hours of direct patient care. The physician assistant degree student may complete this at their place of employment.
Classes are concentrated, with students dedicating 10-15 hours of work per week, and the physician assistant degree program begins every quarter. This concentrated focus challenges students to meet the rigors of the comprehensive curriculum.
The Education/Leadership concentration of the physician assistant degree is designed for the physician assistant who wishes to gain advanced training in the theory and practice of educating healthcare professionals.
Clinical Medicine Concentration+
Elective Course Course Name (student select four) Credit Hours APA 501 Healthcare Delivery Systems 4.0 APA 503 Ethical Issues in PA Practice 4.0 APA 505 PA Professional Practice Issues 4.0 APA 506 Evidence-Based Medicine & Clinical Research Design 4.0 APA 507 Medical Writing 4.0
Required Clinical Courses+
Elective Course Course Name Credit Hours APA 620 Clinical Medicine I 4.0 APA 621 Clinical Medicine II 4.0 APA 622 Clinical Medicine III 4.0 APA 623 Clinical Medicine IV 4.0 APA 660 Clinical Practice I 2.0 APA 661 Clinical Practice II 2.0 APA 662 Clinical Practice III 2.0 APA 663 Clinical Practice IV 2.0
Elective Course Course Name Credit Hours APA 506A Evidence-Based Medicine for Educators 5.0 APA 507A Medical Writing for Educators 5.0 APA 630 Curriculum Development & Implementation 5.0 APA 631 Leadership and Administrative Issues in Higher Education 5.0 APA 632 Educational Concepts 5.0 APA 633 Assessment & Evaluation 5.0 APA 634 Current Topics in Education 5.0 APA 637 Technology in Education 5.0
APA 501: Health Care Delivery Systems+
This course will survey the U.S. healthcare delivery system and review the financial issues that face our system. Particular focus will be on those issues that directly affect the practicing Physician Assistant. The student will undertake an in depth review of managed care, reimbursement, and other economic/financial issues.
APA 503: Ethical Issues in PA Practice+
In this advanced, intensive course, the student will review, analyze, and study the theories and themes of medical/bioethics. Emphasis will be given to the role of the practicing Physician Assistant in the integration of ethical practice with use of case study discussions.
APA 505: PA Professional Practice Issues+
This course is a review, discussion, and analysis of the issues that face the practicing Physician Assistant. The student will learn about the future of the PA profession, including economic trends, reimbursement, nonclinical roles, and legal issues.
APA 506: Evidence-Based Medicine and Clinical Research Design+
This course introduces students to the concepts of evidence-based medicine and medical research design, while stressing the examination of the best available evidence as a basis for clinical decision-making. The student learns to construct well-built clinical questions and to perform medical literature searches that yield evidence-based results. Methods for critically appraising the medical literature are emphasized throughout the course, as well as strategies for maintaining medical knowledge.
APA 506A: Evidence-Based Medicine for Educators+
This course introduces students to concepts of teaching evidence-based medicine and medical research design, while stressing the examination of the best available evidence as a basis for clinical decision-making. The student learns to construct well-built clinical questions and to perform medical literature searches that yield evidence-based results. Methods for critically appraising the medical literature are emphasized throughout the course, as well strategies for maintaining medical knowledge. This course also introduces students to concepts and techniques of teaching evidence-based medicine to students within the health professions.
APA 507: Medical Writing+
This course is designed to provide the practicing healthcare provider with knowledge and skills in medical writing such as articles for biomedical journals, case reports, reports of clinical studies, review articles, editorials, and book reviews. Topics include: the writing process, writing technique, common writing problems, choosing the right journal, and working with journal editors and reviewers. Students also investigate their chosen research topic through the development of a research proposal.
APA 507A: Medical Writing for Educators+
This course is designed to help students capitalize on knowledge gained in APA 507 by continuing to investigate their chosen research topic through the development a research proposal.
APA 620,621,622,623 Clinical Medicine+
These are advanced clinical courses designed to augment and update the existing clinical skills and knowledge of the Physician Assistant. Upon completion of these courses, students will understand and be able to clinically apply advanced principles of evaluation, diagnosis, and management of disease consistent with the physician assistant scope of practice in these critical areas. Evaluation of advanced case studies and dicussions highlight this area of concentration.
APA 630: Curriculum Development and Implementation+
Students explore such topics as Course Goals and Learning Objectives, Developing a Syllabus, Instructional Design Models, Instructional Delivery Methods and Evaluation Tools. Other topics covered are; Developing a Course Rationale, Refining Intended Learning Outcomes, Forming and Organizing Units of a Course, Developing General Teaching Strategies, and Planning Course Evaluations.
APA 631: Leadership and Administrative Issues in Higher Education+
This course is designed to provide the student with an introduction to the organization and management of health professions programs and to assist the student with developing skills necessary to contribute to the successful administration of a program. Also, Students will explore a variety of current topics in higher education, specifically PA or other health professions education. Some topics covered: Academic Law, Understanding Organizational Structure in Higher Education, Faculty – Administration, Contracts, Academic Rank & Tenure, and Budgets. Students will also consider and analyze case studies covering the following topics: Academic Dishonesty, Remediation, The Problem Student, and Instructor/Student Relationships.
APA 632: Educational Concepts+
This course is designed as an introduction to educational concepts. Students will gain an iunderstanding of educational philosophy, major learning style theories and their application within educational practice. Students will identify their predominant learning and teaching styles and explore how to incorporate various strategies to improve teaching effectiveness. This course examines the use of instructional design models to create instructional materials that focus on the needs of learners in the health professions. Some topics covered are: Adult Learning Theories, Pedagogy versus Androgogy, Cooperative Learning, Assessment and Evaluation.
APA 633: Assessment & Evaluation+
Student assessment and program evaluation are central to curriculum design. Student assessment seeks to determine how effectively students have learned content and skills. Program evaluation provides evidence of whether the instructional unit, program, or course has been effective. This course will address these two topics. Students learn about educational assessment models and explore issues and trends in assessment and evaluation that may shape curriculum design. Other topics include Testing & Student Assessment, Program Evaluation, and Issues & Trends in Educational Assessment and Evaluation.
APA 634: Current Topics in Education+
This course is intended to present a broad exploration of contemporary issues influencing higher education with an emphasis on medical education. Expertise will be fostered by exploring selected issues and trends in medical education and education as a whole. The student, whether new to academia or a veteran health professions educator, will expand his or her knowledge of critical issues confronting health educators through the course content.
APA 637: Technology in Education+
This course is designed to provide the student with an introduction to using educational technology in the traditional and online education classroom. This course will also assist with developing skills in use and application of various educational technologies to meet instructional needs. Some topics covered include: Using Technology in the Classroom, Investigation of Educational Administrative Software, and Online Education.
APA 660,661,662,663 Clinical Practice+
Students must document 400 hours of patient and hours logs for the entire program. Students are responsible for arranging clinical locations. In many instances, this will be in the PA’s current practice setting.
Community Health Center
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