Physician Assistant Programs in Florida with Course Information
Research physician assistant programs in Florida, which currently has 5 schools offering programs. Read an overview of degree programs, tuition info and program options for these schools, and decide which program is right for you.
Physician Assistant Programs in Florida
Before a physician assistant can obtain employment, he or she must obtain licensure. The Florida Council on Physician Assistants (FCPA) regulates licensure for physician assistants practicing in the state. Among the eligibility requirements for licensure are completing a physician assistant degree program and passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), which is administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.
To sit for the exam, individuals must first complete a physician assistant program or surgeon assistant program that is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). In Florida, aspiring physician assistants can choose from 5 schools offering physician assistant degree programs. All of these programs are ARC-PA accredited.
Miami-based students can apply to the physician assistant program at this university in order to earn a master's degree and certificate. Some of the admission requirements include having a bachelor's degree, completing prerequisite coursework and taking the GRE. Admitted students can expect to spend 2 years and 1 semester completing the curriculum.
From the start of the program, students are required to have laptops in order to keep up with the program's technical standards. The first year consists mainly of classes like gross anatomy, patient evaluations, pharmacology, pathophysiology, surgical guidelines, public health research and genetics. The second year is made up of 8 rotations that last 6 weeks each. Through these rotations, students work in medical specialties that include emergency care, family care, internal medicine and geriatrics, women's health, pediatrics, mental health and surgery. Students also complete 1 elective rotation that allows them to choose a medical specialty they're most interested in.
In the final semester, students may complete a research paper and take classes covering medical ethics, physician assistant duties, the study of death and clinical healing methods. Graduates may be eligible to take the PANCE. In 2011, 91% of graduates passed the exam on their first try.
Keiser University - Ft. Lauderdale
In Ft. Lauderdale, students can enroll at this school to earn a Master of Science in Physician Assistant degree. The program admits 40 students each year. To be considered for admission, applicants must earn bachelor's degrees, achieve minimum GPAs, complete prerequisite classes and take the GRE. Additionally, candidates should have healthcare experience that includes volunteering and job shadowing of a physician assistant.
The 2-year program starts out with a year of lecture- and lab-based classes where students may study medical journals and specific medical cases. Courses may cover microbiology, physiology, patient diagnosis, healthcare promotion, genetics, pharmacology and surgical principles. The remaining year is spent performing clinical rotations in urban and rural settings. While conducting their rotations, students may work in medical areas like family medicine, emergency care, surgery, pediatrics and mental health. A research project is also required. Students must maintain and graduate with at least a 3.0 GPA.
Miami Dade College
Individuals who want to earn an associate's degree in the physician assisting field can find one at this 4-year college in Miami. However, admission to this program is competitive; more than 600 people apply each year, and 45-50 applicants are accepted. To be considered, applicants must first complete all general education classes and science-based classes with a sufficient GPA and submit 3 reference letters. Additionally, having recent healthcare experience is encouraged, and preference is given to Florida residents.
Due to the intense, full-time commitment required, students are dissuaded from maintaining employment during the 2 years it takes to complete this program. The curriculum is divided into a year of coursework and a year of clinical work. First-year students take classes covering pharmacology, human disease, surgical procedures, sonography and patient evaluation. During the second year, students participate in 8 clerkships that focus on a different area of medicine, such as mental health, elderly care, pediatrics, women's health and surgery.
Nova Southeastern University
In addition to its Ft. Lauderdale location, Nova Southeastern University also offers its physician assistant program at 3 other Florida locations: Ft. Myers, Orlando and Jacksonville. While the physician assistant program at each location is ARC-PA-accredited, some variations among the programs may exist. To apply to the Ft. Lauderdale program, applicants must earn bachelor's degrees, complete prerequisite classes satisfactorily, take the GRE and submit recommendation letters. The program may also give priority to applicants with direct patient care experience.
Students accepted to the Ft. Lauderdale program must commit 27 months to completing the program. The first 15 months are spent completing courses like microbiology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, surgical procedures, biomedical fundamentals, diagnostic imaging and medical ethics. The clinical portion takes 1 year to complete; students may work in various healthcare facilities to learn about medical specialties like gynecology and obstetrics, surgery, emergency care, internal medicine, family care and pediatrics. After each rotation, students may participate in coursework, seminars and testing relating to the medical specialty.
University of Florida
For those who wish to attend a school that isn't located in the southern region of Florida, Gainesville's UF offers a master's program in physician assistant studies. Graduates also receive a Certificate of Completion and should be prepared to sit for the PANCE.
Admission into the program requires that applicants first earn bachelor's degrees and take prerequisite classes, including general chemistry, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, statistics and medical vocabulary. Applicants can give themselves a competitive edge by completing additional science based classes and obtaining at least 1 year of hands-on patient care experience.
It takes a full 2 years to complete the program. The first year is dubbed the didactic phase and requires students to participate in lectures and laboratory classes. Coursework may cover topics such as clinical applications, patient diagnosis, gross anatomy, public healthcare, physiology and medical problem-solving. The second year consists of 12 rotations that last 1 month each. The rotations are performed at UF's teaching hospitals and healthcare facilities, which may be located in cities throughout Florida like Jacksonville, Pensacola, Orlando and Tampa. Students complete 2 rotations in primary care, and at least 1 of them must be conducted in a rural area. The other rotations may focus on medical specialties like pediatrics, mental health, surgery, intensive care and women's health. Two of the rotations are in elective fields.
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Physician Assistant Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2012-2013)|
|Barry University||University; private; nonprofit; large suburb|| Master of Medical Science, |
Physician Assistant Certificate
|Keiser University - Ft. Lauderdale||University; primarily associate's; private; nonprofit; midsized city||Master of Science in Physician Assistant||$15,664*|
|Miami Dade College||4-year; primarily associate's; public; large city||Associate in Science in Physician Assistant||$3,366 in-state, $11,895 out-of-state*|
|Nova Southeastern University||University; private; nonprofit; large suburb||Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant||$24,414*|
|University of Florida||University; public; midsized city|| Master of Physician Assistant Studies, |
Certificate of Completion
|$6,143 in-state, $28,420 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator
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