Physician Assistant Studies

 The Physician Assistant Studies Program is committed to the development of highly qualified physician assistants who will serve as tomorrow’s leaders in the delivery of health care, patient education and professional service.  The intent of healthcare reform is to provide care for all Americans while reducing healthcare costs through preventive care. PAs help extend physician care and can easily adapt to any care model. There are over 90,000 nationally certified PAs practicing in the 50 states and the US territories.  Pennsylvania ranks 4th in the nation for number of licensed PAs numbering 5997, behind New York, California and Texas.

Recognizing that PA education values the original purpose of the profession, our Program consequently focuses on the educational process of preparing clinicians by offering our students a sound educational foundation in primary care medicine.  The University of Pittsburgh Physician Assistant Studies Curriculum prepares its graduates to work collaboratively with other health care providers, provide medical, surgical and preventive services, patient education and coordinate patient care.  Because of the PA student’s education in general medicine, our graduates have the unique flexibility to practice in a variety of medical, surgical and clinical settings. 

Physician Assistant Program is in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, housed within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.  The average class is made up of 40 students with a prerequisite science GPA mean of 3.54.  Patient care hours average 4100 and 52 hours of PA shadowing.  Students are admitted into the program upon successful completion of an undergraduate or graduate degree at an accredited institution in addition to meeting all program prerequisites.

The PA Program at the University of Pittsburgh, as with all of the programs in Health Sciences, has a unique relationship with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).  The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is one of the most renowned academic medical centers in the United States.  UPMC has created a genuinely integrated health care delivery system and recruited superb physicians and researchers to develop internationally renowned centers in transplantation, cancer, neurosurgery, psychiatry, rehabilitation, geriatrics, and women’s health, among others. UPMC also has invested significantly in information technology to link and integrate electronic medical records across hospitals and health care settings.

University of Pittsburgh Physician Assistant Studies admitted its first class in January, 2010.  In December of 2011, 18 students graduated and passed their national certification exam moving on to secure clinical positions in a variety of specialties as noted in the graph below along with the Class of 2012.   In March of 2012, following a site visit in September of 2011 by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA), the program has been awarded continuing accreditation through March of 2018.  

The graduate performance on the Certification Exam - PANCE report - can be found here.

Class of 2011
PA Pie Chart Class of 2011

Class of 2012
PA Pie Chart Class of 2012

PA students practicing local anesthesia

PA students practicing casting

PA students practicing casting 2

PA students practicing local anesthesia 3

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