A physician assistant student in a white coat uses a stethoscope to listen to the heart of a patient in a black shirt. A physician assistant student in a white coat uses a stethoscope to listen to the heart of a patient in a black shirt. Physician assistant examining a patient.

Physician Assistant

Physician assistant at CMU

Aspiring to make a difference in healthcare and emphasize quality patient care? Consider becoming a physician assistant. Wondering, "How long is PA school?" Our 27-month program not only equips you with an in-depth curriculum and extensive clinical training but also places a strong emphasis on mentorship and teamwork. Here, you'll learn from seasoned professionals in a highly supportive environment, setting the stage for a gratifying and rewarding career as a physician assistant. Your pivotal role in patient care will not only fulfill your passion for healthcare but also address the growing demand for skilled healthcare professionals in the field of medicine.

The physician assistant program is a graduate program. Pre-physician assistant is not an undergraduate major so undergraduates would need to select a major and complete all of the prerequisite courses needed for PA school. Common pre-physician assistant majors include exercise science, athletic training, health administration, public health, dietetics, child development, biology, biomedical science, and psychology.

Program Snapshot

Program Type: Full-Time
Location: On Campus
Program Length: 27 months
Credit Hours: 130

How long is PA school?

Our 27-month program prepares you to become a certified and licensed physician assistant, ready to practice medicine under physician supervision, featuring:

  • 15 months of instructive education.
  • Clinical mentorship program during the summer semester of the didactic year.
  • Final 12 months of clinical clerkship rotations in primary care, behavioral health, surgery, and emergency medicine.

Your educational journey to becoming a physician assistant will take place in the state-of-the-art Health Professions Building, providing advanced learning environments and resources. This includes access to simulated outpatient clinic and hospital rooms, with high tech models to learn on as well the ability to practice simulated patient encounters in the Interprofessional Education and Practice Center to accommodate all learning styles.

Upon successful program completion, you'll be eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE). This achievement grants you the opportunity to apply for licensure in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories."

What will you learn while becoming a physician assistant?

In our physician assistant program, you'll participate in:

  • A top-ranked program — CMU students regularly score in the top 5-15 percent of the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam PANCE.
  • A program that prepares you; our five-year first-time PANCE pass rate is 96 percent.
  • A program designed to help meet the needs of rural and underserved patient populations; the program was created to address the healthcare needs of residents in the northern lower peninsula and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
  • You'll have hands-on clinical clerkship experiences, including emergency medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, women's health, behavior and mental health, general surgery, internal medicine, and an elective option.

logo for ARC-PA

At its March 2024 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) placed the Central Michigan University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Central Michigan University on Accreditation-Probation status until its next review in March 2026.
Probation accreditation is a temporary accreditation status initially of not less than two years. However, that period may be extended by the ARC-PA for up to an additional two years if the ARC-PA finds that the program is making substantial progress toward meeting all applicable standards but requires additional time to come into full compliance. Probation accreditation status is granted, at the sole discretion of the ARC-PA, when a program holding an accreditation status of Accreditation-Provisional or Accreditation-Continued does not, in the judgment of the ARC-PA, meet the Standards or when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened.
Once placed on probation, a program that fails to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and is subject to having its accreditation withdrawn.  Specific questions regarding the program and its plans should be directed to the program director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s).  The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at https://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-central-michigan-university/.

Career as a physician assistant

A physician assistant is a specialized career, yet there are several healthcare setting choices you'll have. You can opt for the fast-paced emergency room environment, a general practitioner practice or a specialized healthcare organization.

Career Projected Salary
Physician Assistant $126,010

Why study to be a PA at CMU? 

Students choose CMU's physician assistant program for its immersive learning environment and hands-on clinical training. With access to state-of-the-art facilities and diverse clinical rotations, our program prepares students for successful careers in healthcare. Emphasizing mentorship and interdisciplinary collaboration, we cultivate a supportive community focused on excellence and compassion.

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