Physician Assistant

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 students matriculated in May 1996 and the first class 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.

Once you successfully complete the requirements of our PA program, you are awarded a Master of Science degree. Upon completion of the 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.

CMU, founded in 1892, is a public institution of higher education accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and currently enrolls more than 16,000 students. Our PA program is housed in The Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions.


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. Inculcate in each graduate professionalism 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

  1. Evidenced by 100% of students: (a) earning an overall minimum GPA of 3.0; (b) receiving "credit" grades for all SCPE rotations by passing the PAEA end-of-rotation examinations; (c) passing the PA program's comprehensive written and practical summative assessments, and (d) passing first-time examination of the post-graduation PANCE, with the CMU program meeting or exceeding the national average outcomes.
  2. Evidenced by 100% of students passing the program's comprehensive summative practical assessment.
  3. Evidenced by 100% of students passing this metric: (a) clinical preceptors evaluation of the communication domain and (b) the faculty team during the program's comprehensive summative practical assessment.
  4. Evidenced by 100% of students: (a) earning a grade of B or greater in the PHA 645 critical appraisal of medical literature and evidence-based medicine course; (b) receiving passing grades in the program's summative written and practical assessments. 
  5. Evidenced by 100% of students passing this metric: (a) clinical preceptors during the supervised clinical practical experience (SCPE) rotations and (b) the faculty team during the program's comprehensive summative practical assessment. 
  6. Evidenced by 100% of students: (a) fully participating in the 2-part IPE seminars facilitated by the CHP's PA, PT, AT and SLP academic programs, CMU's CMED and SW programs, and Mid Michigan Community College's Nursing and Ferris State University's PharmD programs; (b) receiving passing scores from the clinical preceptors assessing interdisciplinary teamwork during the SCPE rotations.
  7. Evidenced by: (a) 100% of students earning a grade of B or greater in the PHA 671 preventive medicine course (covering health disparities & community medicine); (b) 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. 

Learning outcomes

  1. Develop ability to perform a complete physical exam and to organize, integrate, interpret and present clinical data in a clear concise manner.
  2. Support effective and sensitive communication with patients.
  3. Apply advanced critical thinking skills to evaluate sources of information.
  4. Exhibit attributes of engaged citizenship, community service, and social justice.
  5. Develop effective communication and teamwork skills with health care teams, working in teams and groups to facilitate conflict resolution.
  6. Provide a comprehensive approach to normal human health and development, both physical and mental.
  7. Provide explanation and demonstration of skills needed to assess core diseases encountered in primary care.
  8. Integrate diagnostic assessment skills with knowledge of patient presentation, pharmacology and health care subspecialties to synthesize appropriate treatment plans.
  9. Promote cross-cultural and socioeconomic sensitivity, confront prejudice, and support development of effective medical practice in a diverse society.
  10. Exhibit competency practicing in clinical settings involving special needs patient populations.
  11. Promote commitment to provide effective, accessible, continuous, comprehensive and personalized health care.
  12. Emphasize fundamental importance of ethical behavior in medical practice.
  13. Promote teaching of patients, community and colleagues.
  14. Participate in generating new and evolving medical knowledge through research and intellectual inquiry.
  15. Apply knowledge of study designs and statistical methods to the appraisal of clinical studies and other information on diagnostic and therapeutic effectiveness and integrate evidence from scientific studies related to patients' health problems.
  16. Develop cutting-edge knowledge of the PA profession with abilities to participate as leaders at the local, regional, state, and national levels, shaping future policy and legislation to promote PA practice and advancement.
  17. Apply knowledge of basic science concepts to facilitate understanding of medical sciences.
  18. Demonstrate basic competency in basic clinical procedures performed by a graduate PA.
  19. Upon graduation, be prepared to enter the workforce as a gainfully employed PA with excellent job search skills and knowledge to obtain and maintain licensure in any state as a practicing PA.
  20. Collaborate effectively as a member of interprofessional health care teams; patients in emergency setting.
  21. Exhibit competency while practicing in community health and population health settings.