Physician Assistant Programs in NC with School Overviews
Research physician assistant programs in North Carolina, which currently has 5 universities 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 North Carolina
North Carolina is home to 5 universities offering physician assistant programs, all of which are offered at the master's level. In order to work as a physician assistant in North Carolina, individuals must acquire licensure from the North Carolina Medical Board. The licensure requirements include having certification from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). To earn this certification, individuals must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). Eligibility for the PANCE requires individuals to first graduate from a physician assistant program that's accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).
The Duke University School of Medicine in Durham has an ARC-PA-accredited master's program for individuals who want to become physician assistants. The program typically admits 84-86 students each year. Applicants must meet admission requirements, which include having a bachelor's degree, GRE scores, completion of prerequisite classes and at least 1,000 hours of hands-on patient care experience.
The program typically takes 2 years of full-time study to complete. The first year consists of coursework that may cover anatomy, surgery, patient evaluations, diagnostic procedures and pharmacology. The second year is dedicated to 10 clinical rotations in various areas of medicine, such as pediatrics, primary care, general surgery and internal medicine. Two of these rotations are electives so students can choose to study the areas of medicine they're most interested in. While completing the program, physician assistant students have all the resources of the Duke University Medical Center.
East Carolina University
ECU's ARC-PA-accredited physician assistant master's degree program in Greenville is located on the university's medical campus near the Pitt County Memorial Hospital. To qualify for admission, individuals must complete specific undergraduate courses, a bachelor's program, the GRE and at least 1,000 hours of clinical experience. The program requires students to complete 15 months of coursework, followed by 1 year of clinical training. The coursework may cover gross anatomy, clinical medicine, the physician assistant's role and diagnostic procedures. In the clinical phase, students receive 1,900 hours of patient contact by completing 8 clinical rotations. Rotations may focus on women's health, mental health, family medicine, emergency medicine and geriatrics.
Fayetteville's Methodist University has a physician assistant master's program. Admittance requires students to have bachelor's degrees in any major as long their undergraduate coursework included specific science, math, statistics and medical vocabulary classes. Additionally, applicants must submit GRE scores and obtain 500 patient contact hours.
Once admitted, students begin in fall and attend classes full-time for 7 semesters. Coursework makes up the first 3.5 semesters; classes may include pharmacology, patient evaluations, emergency medicine, healthcare ethics and healthcare promotion. Clinical training occupies the remaining 3.5 semesters. Students may work in clinical settings to receive training in areas like psychiatry, orthopedics, surgery, women's health, family medicine and internal medicine. A capstone research paper concludes the program.
This physician assistant program at MU is accredited by ARC-PA. All 2012 graduates of this program passed the PANCE, and 97% of 2011 graduates passed the exam.
Wake Forest University
Aspiring physician assistants in Winston Salem can attend this university and enroll in the Master of Medical Science degree program. This ARC-PA-accredited program accepts 64 students annually who begin classes each June. Acceptance into the program requires a bachelor's degree, prerequisite coursework, reference letters, GRE scores and a sufficient amount of clinical experience.
The curriculum encourages students to practice independence through its problem-based learning model. The faculty is there to help guide students and provide educational resources. Students also participate in Clinical Problem Solving groups that simulate real-world problems that the students must assess and solve. During the clinical year of the program, students can expect to attend a master's seminar where they will work on a research project. Additionally, students participate in several clinical rotations in various areas of medicine like surgery, pediatrics, internal medicine and emergency medicine.
This university has campuses in Wingate and Hendersonville, and both campuses offer the ARC-PA-accredited physician assistant program. A bachelor's degree, 9 prerequisite classes, GRE score and at least 500 hours of patient care experience are among the admission requirements for the program. The 2-year program is split into a didactic portion and a clinical portion. Some of the courses in the didactic portion include patient evaluations, pharmacology, diagnostic procedures and pathophysiology. During the clinical portion, students complete several 5-week rotations in areas of emergency medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and mental health. Additionally, students complete capstone projects during their final semester.
School Comparison Table
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Physician Assistant Programs Offered||Graduate Tuition and Fees (2012-2013)|
|Duke University||University; private; nonprofit; midsized city||Master of Health Sciences||$42,805*|
|East Carolina University||University; public; small city||Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies||$6,120 in-state, $17,951 out-of-state*|
|Methodist University||University; private; midsized city||Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies||$30,051*|
|Wake Forest University||University; private; midsized city||Master of Medical Science||$3,504*|
|Wingate University - Wingate Campus||University; private; nonprofit; fringe town||Master of Physician Assistant Studies||$8,190*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator
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