Physician Assistant Program Details

Our Physician Assistant (PA) program is a 27-month program that provides the academic and clinical training that prepares you to be certified and licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision in an ethical, compassionate and professional manner. The first cohort of PA students matriculated in May 1996 and subsequently graduated in July 1998.  We created the program to address the healthcare needs of residents in the northern lower peninsula and the upper peninsula of Michigan, which includes many rural and medically underserved communities.

Upon successful completion of all requirements of the PA program, you will graduate with a Master of Science degree. A few short weeks after officially graduating from the PA program, you are eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE) and may apply for licensure in any of the 50 states, District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. If you are seeking employment in states other than Michigan, you may obtain further information on the submission of a state-specific licensure application from the American Academy of Physician Assistant's website or the respective state.


To produce well-educated and highly trained physician assistants who provide evidence-based medical services within interdisciplinary primary care environments to include medically underserved and diverse populations.


The Central Michigan University Physician Assistant program will:

  1. Provide graduates with the requisite fund of medical knowledge to provide evidence-based medical care in all settings.
  2. Provide the graduate with the clinical skills necessary to provide competent medical care.
  3. Provide the graduate with the skills necessary to demonstrate competence in oral and written communication skills.
  4. Educate students to develop the essential skills of critical thinking and decision-making based on the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and the consideration of patient values, in order to be able to render quality, safe and cost-effective patient-centered medical care.
  5. Foster professionalism in each graduate as demonstrated by respectful, compassionate, and responsive interactions with patients, peers, and supervisors.
  6. Reinforce collaborative learning and working styles necessary to work within the interdisciplinary healthcare environment.
  7. Raise awareness of social determinants of health, in order to promote the development of knowledge and skills necessary for providing quality and equitable health care. 

How we meet our mission and goals

Goal 1

  • Evidenced by 90-100% of students: 
    • Earning an overall minimum GPA of 3.0.
    • Receiving "credit" grades for all SCPE rotations by passing the PAEA end-of-rotation examinations.
    • Passing the PA program's comprehensive written and practical summative assessments.
    • Passing first-time examination of the post-graduation PANCE, with the CMU program meeting or exceeding the national average outcomes.

Goal 2

  • Evidenced by 95-100% of students passing the program's comprehensive summative practical assessment.

Goal 3

  • Evidenced by 95-100% of students passing this metric:
    • Clinical preceptor's evaluation of the communication domain.
    • The faculty team during the program's comprehensive summative practical assessment.

Goal 4

  • Evidenced by 100% of students:
    • Earning a grade of B or greater in the PHA 645 critical appraisal of medical literature and evidence-based medicine course.
    • Receiving passing grades in the program's summative written and practical assessments.

Goal 5

  • Evidenced by 95-100% of students passing this metric:
    • Clinical preceptors during the supervised clinical practical experience (SCPE) rotations.
    • The faculty team during the program's comprehensive summative practical assessment.

Goal 6

  • Evidenced by 100% of students:
    • Fully participating in the two-part interprofessional education seminars facilitated by the CHP PA, physical therapy (PT), athletic training (AT) and speech language pathology (SLP) academic programs, College of Medicine (CMED) and social work (SW) programs, and the Mid Michigan College nursing (NUR) and Ferris State University pharmacy (PharmD) programs.
    • Receiving passing scores from the clinical preceptors assessing interdisciplinary teamwork during the SCPE rotations.

Goal 7

  • Evidenced by:
    • 100% of students earning a grade of B or greater in the PHA 671 preventive medicine course (covering health disparities and community medicine).
    • At least 90% of the students having had a supervised clinical mentorship or SCPE rotation in one community designated as a medically underserved and/or health provider shortage area.

Program competencies

The Central Michigan University Physician Assistant program has developed program learning outcomes within the PA program required competency domains required for PA practice.  These domains are as follows: 

  • Medical knowledge (MK). 
  • Clinical and technical skills (CTS).
  • Clinical reasoning and problem solving (CRPS).
  • Interpersonal skills (IS).
  • Professional behaviors (PB).

Program learning outcomes

Students in the Physician Assistant program will:

  1. Apply core knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences to patient care. (MK)
  2. Elicit a detailed medical history on a patient and perform a physical exam appropriate for the patient's reason for visit, demographic, and current condition. (CTS)
  3. Formulate a differential diagnosis relevant to findings in the history, physical exam, and pertinent diagnostic testing. (CRPS)
  4. Create an evidence-based, cost-aware treatment, and management plan for medical and behavioral conditions across the lifespan. (MK, CRPS)
  5. Perform clinical procedures with appropriate techniques and skills. (CTS)
  6. Utilize their interpersonal and communication skills to collaborate with patients, their families, and other health professionals. (IS, PB)
  7. Work effectively with physicians and other health care professionals as members of inter-professional, patient-centered teams. (IS, PB)
  8. Properly document care, coding, and billing of all patient encounter types. (CTS)
  9. Demonstrate ethical behavior consistent with professional standards, current laws, health policy, and regulation that governs the delivery of healthcare. (PB)
  10. Demonstrate professionalism through respectful, compassionate, and responsive interactions with patients, peers, and supervisors. (IS, PB)
  11. Demonstrate knowledge of different beliefs, needs of underserved populations, and respect all people without regard to race, color, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, age, or disability. (MK, IS, PB)
  12. Exhibit attributes of engaged citizenship and social justice through active community service and service learning opportunities. (IS)
  13. Search, interpret, and evaluate medical literature to assure lifelong learning and excellence in healthcare. (MK, CTS)
  14. Apply concepts of personal wellness and recognize the importance of avoiding provider burnout. (PB)