Physician assistants are healthcare professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. Services provided by physician assistants include taking medical histories and performing physical examinations, ordering and interpreting lab tests, prescribing medication, assisting in surgery and counseling patients. Because of their close working relationship with physicians, physician assistants are educated in the medical model designed to complement physician training. Upon graduation, physician assistants take a national certification examination developed by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants in conjunction with the National Board of Medical Examiners. To maintain their national certification, physician assistants must log 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years and sit for the recertification exam every six years. Graduation from an accredited physician assistant program and NCCPA Certification are required for state licensure.
ATSU’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ASHS) offers an entry-level, 26-month program culminating in a Master of Science (M.S.) in Physician Assistant Studies. A Native American Physician Assistant Track is also offered. The program requires full-time attendance and includes supervised clinical rotations. Courses are designed with an emphasis on both a strong academic foundation and clinical practice. Class size allows faculty and staff to work closely with students, helping them develop professional attitudes and clinical problem-solving skills necessary for optimum patient care. Graduation from the physician assistant program requires successful completion of didactic and clinical coursework, as well as a master’s level project.