Part-Time PA Programs: Your Guide

January 22, 2024


Reviewed by:

Luke Hartstein

Former Admissions Committee Member, NYU Grossman School of Medicine

Reviewed: 10/16/23

Are you planning on becoming a physician assistant but can’t handle a full course load? This guide covers part-time PA programs designed for students who can’t handle a full course load. 

Physician assistants play a very critical role in the medical field. They assist physicians in many medical settings and can perform many of the tasks doctors can do. 

First established in 1968 in North Carolina, the American Association of Physician Assistants was created to regulate PAs. The profession was first created to ease the burden on the healthcare system.

Although PA programs are not very long, taking around two years to complete, the program is pervasive and includes long hours of lectures and clinical rotations. 

A program like this may be challenging for someone with other obligations, such as taking care of children or another family member. However, there are options available to a person to pursue their career goal of becoming a physician assistant.

Part-time options are available to those who wish to pursue a PA program. This flexibility will give you a chance to both pursue your educational goals and be able to perform your other obligations. 

This guide looks at schools offering part-time PA programs, their tuition costs, and what the program entails. Some schools may not require specific application requirements, such as the GRE

However, these programs may require personal statements, letters of recommendation, or interviews. So when applying to these schools, make sure you read their application requirements thoroughly.

image of dots background

List of Part-Time PA Programs

Here is a list of schools that offer exceptional part-time physician assistant programs that offer excellent technical and hands-on learning:

Rutgers University

Ranking#7 in Best PA School 

Location: Newark, New Jersey

GPA: 3.2

GRE score: N/A

In-state part-time tuition: $803/credit

The PA program at Rutgers University awards students with a Master of Science in Physician Assistant. The curriculum delivers lectures, simulations, and international rotation options. Students work in underserved communities, where they work with faculty and medical professionals. 

The PA program prepares students as physician assistants for their futures in the medical field. The program provides both coursework and clinical rotations to prepare students for their careers in the medical field.

Drexel University

Ranking#27 in Best PA School 

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

GPA: 3.0

GRE score: N/A

Hours of experience in healthcare: 500

In-state tuition: $1,382/credit hour

The Physician Assistant program at Drexel University focuses on educating students on teamwork, diversity, and serving their communities. Their goal is to have their graduates be competent, empathetic, and knowledgeable when serving their communities. 

Students are taught hands-on and technical skills required to become successful physician assistants. To achieve that, the PA program offers students lectures and clinical rotations to hone their skills. 

The University of Detroit Mercy

Ranking#65 in Best PA School 

Location: Detroit, Michigan

GPA: 3.0/4.0

GRE score: 900

Hours of experience in healthcare: 1,000

In-state part-time tuition: $32,300

The University of Detroit Mercy offers a Master of Science degree in the physician assistant field. This is a two-year program, and it prepares students to assist primary care physicians with both medical and patient responsibilities. 

The curriculum focuses on natural and behavioral sciences, emphasizing health promotion and disease prevention.

The program's first year consists of didactic coursework in the medical sciences. In the second year, students participate in clinical rotations where they apply the knowledge that they learned.

Typically this PA master's program is completed within two years. However, the University of Detroit Mercy offers students the option of completing it in three years. 

This program track was designed for those with other obligations, such as work or childcare. This part-time option will allow students to complete their didactic coursework over two years rather than one. 

Is a Part-Time PA Program Worth It?

Part-time physician assistant programs are an excellent way for aspiring physician assistants who are busy with other responsibilities to further their education and achieve their career goals. It's worth it if you need more flexibility as a full-time student. 

Although it'll take you longer to complete the PA program, it's important to note that everyone works at their own pace. Below are some of the benefits of enrolling in part-time studies:

Flexible schedule: students with less coursework have more flexibility for other responsibilities. Whether that be work, caring for a child, or a family member.

Gain valuable work experience: as mentioned before, being a part-time student gives you much time flexibility. With this time flexibility, you can participate in valuable work experience that can help you in your future profession as PA. 

Affordability: being a part-time student costs less per semester because of the lessened course load you'll take. Although you'll pay the regular tuition overall when you've finished your PA program, you will only pay significantly less each semester. 

Networking: although you'll be taking a partial course load compared to your full-time peers, you'll still have the opportunity to network with professionals in your field. And with a flexible schedule, you'll be able to network more freely because of the extra time you'll have.

Part-Time PA Programs: FAQs

If you still have questions after reading this guide, check out these frequently asked questions. 

1. Are All PA Programs Two Years?

Traditionally PA programs take about two years to complete (27 months, to be exact). Students participate in classroom lectures and clinical rotations during those 26.5 months of studies. After completion of the PA program, students are awarded a master's degree. 

Although PA programs take around two to three years to complete, some PA programs can be completed in less time. These dual-degree programs allow students to begin their PA coursework after the third year of their undergraduate program. Below is a list of schools offering accelerated/dual degree PA programs

  • Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
  • Arcadia University
  • Drexel University
  • King’s College
  • Marywood University
  • New York Institute of Technology
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology

Dual-degree PA programs are an excellent way for aspiring PAs to get a head start in the field during their undergraduate studies. 

2. How Long is the Average Physician Assistant Program?

On average, it takes around 26.5 months to complete a physician assistant program. However, PA programs may take a longer or shorter time to complete. For instance, dual-degree PA programs take a shorter time to complete.

Final Thoughts

It can be hectic juggling both school and work. If you're pursuing a career as a physician assistant and find it challenging to juggle multiple responsibilities, consider looking into part-time PA programs. These part-time programs will ensure you get the education you need while going at the pace you need.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Schedule A Free Consultation

Plan Smart. Execute Strong. Get Into Your Dream School.
Get Free Consultation
image of dots background

You May Also Like