10 Accelerated Physician Assistant Programs for High School Students

Choosing your career path in high school can be tough.  But, those students able to develop a clear plan for their future can save significant time and money on their education.  This is true for students aspiring to become physician assistants.

The traditional route to becoming a physician assistant takes years.  First, prospective PAs must get a four year bachelor’s degree.  Then, they must work in a healthcare related field for a few years as most PA programs require, or at least give preference to, students with medical know how.  Finally, these students enter a two year physician assistant program.  Fortunately, for motivated high school students there is a more efficient route to becoming a PA.

Some physician assistant programs offer accelerated paths to the PA career.  These programs confer both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in upon graduation.  Most of these accelerated programs take just five years to complete.  The first three years of the program students work on completing their bachelor’s degree requirements followed by the remaining two years of the program where students complete courses necessary for a master’s degree in order to become a physician assistant.

Here are 10 physician assistant programs offering accelerated options for high school students:

  1. College of Saint Mary– The College of Saint Mary offers a five year program for high school students looking to enter the physician assistant profession.  The first three years students work on attaining their bachelor of science in human biology, the fourth year of the program students transition to working on credits for both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees.  In the final year of the program students complete the final year of their physician assistant degree.
  2. Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochester Institute of Technology admits just 30 to 40 students to its accelerated physician assistant program each year.  Admissions faculty stress that the in-person interview is the most important part of the admissions process.  So, start practicing your interview responses if you plan on applying to this highly competitive program.
  3. Ohio Dominican University– Beginning in fall 2014, Ohio Dominican University will begin accepting highly qualified high school seniors to its new accelerated physician assistant program.  The program allows students to complete a bachelor’s degree in four years followed by a seamless transition into the two year PA program.
  4. Drexel University– Nestled in Philadelphia, PA, Drexel University offers a highly regarded physician assistant program for students entering directly from high school.  Students entering the program from high school must maintain a high level of academic standards in order to continue through the entirety of the program.
  5. King’s College– In just five years, the PA program at King’s College awards students a bachelor of science degree in medical studies, a minor in biology and a master’s level physician assistant degree.  Admission to this accelerated program is competitive so students should use their high school years wisely to demonstrate their academic achievements to admissions faculty.
  6. Wagner CollegeWagner College offers a five year physician assistant program for high school graduates.  Admissions staff advise prospective PAs to apply early as the program is competitive.  Students indicating Early Decision status will be given preferred consideration for some scholarship opportunities.
  7. Saint Francis UniversitySaint Francis University’s accelerated PA program comes with some additional perks.  Unlike most PA programs, students at Saint Frances have opportunities to study abroad including experiences like a course in field biology in the Galapagos.  These extracurricular activities don’t interfere with student’s education.  Students at Saint Francis boast a 96% first time pass rate on the national PA certification exam.
  8. New York Institute of Technology– A bit longer than most other PA programs for high school students, the New York Institute of Technology’s PA program requires six years of study.
  9. Seton Hill UniversitySeton Hill University accepts high school students to their B.S./M.S. physician assistant program preparing them well for their futures.  96% of Seton Hall’s physician assistant program graduates pass the national certification exam on their first attempt.
  10. DeSales UniversityDeSales University in Center Valley, PA offers a five year program for prospective physician assistants.  Students kick off the program with three years as a medical studies major then enter the 24 month PA program.

Are you planning to apply to a physician assistant program directly from high school?  Where will you apply?


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