Online Physician Assistant Degrees and Certificates

While you might be interested in advancing your education through distance learning, online options for physician assistant training are generally only available at the master's degree level. To learn more about the availability of online programs in physician assisting, keep reading. See what kind of classes are offered, and get the career outlook for this job. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Degrees Are Available Online for Physicians Assistants?

If you're currently a physician's assistant looking to advance your career, you can find online master's degrees for physicians assistants in a number of formats, including Master of Science - Physician Assistant (MSPA), Master of Health Services - Physician Assistant, Master of Medical Science (MMSc) - Physician Assistant and a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. Some programs also offer specializations in different areas, such as clinical medicine, education or leadership.

Undergraduate physician's assistant programs aren't available online, due to the hands-on clinical training required. If you're planning on applying to an online master's degree program, you'll typically need a bachelor's degree and proof of certification from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

Degree TypesM.S.P.A., M.H.S Physician Assistant, M.M.Sc. Physician Assistant, M.S. Physician Assistant Studies; undergraduate PA programs are not available online
Common CoursesClinical research, epidemiology, evidence-based practice, health practice, ethics in medicine
Job Outlook (2016-2026)*37% (for physician assistants)
Technology RequirementsPersonal computer, updated operating system, various softwares, possible other hardware like speakers or a microphone

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Classes Will I Take?

Courses in an online master's degree program for physicians' assistants cover topics ranging from patient assessment and disease management to the non-clinical roles of physicians' assistants and the financial aspects of healthcare. In addition to coursework, you'll also need to complete clinical hours and a capstone project. Some of the course subjects you can expect to explore in this type of degree include:

  • Healthcare delivery systems
  • Clinical research
  • Ethics in medicine
  • Epidemiology
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Health policy

What Can I Do With My Degree?

As healthcare industries expand and look for cost-effective ways to keep expenses down, more facilities are adding physicians' assistants to their healthcare teams to help provide primary care and assistance with various procedures and surgeries, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS also points out that job growth in this field was expected to grow quickly, at a rate of 37% between 2016-2026. As of 2018, the expected median salary for a physician's assistant was $108,610, according to the BLS.

What Can I Expect From an Online Program?

As a student in an online physician's assistant program, you'll be able to continue working, while having the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree. Programs generally involve Web-based instruction and reading and writing assignments, along with participation in discussions with instructors and other students using discussion boards and e-mail. In addition to coursework, you'll also need to complete a certain number of clinical hours, which can typically be completed at your place of employment.

Online students typically also need to meet the technical requirements of their school to ensure that they'll be able to access and complete coursework. Most schools set minimum standards for your computer's operating system, in addition to requiring updated browsers and software, such as MS Office. Some programs also require extras that can include speakers, a webcam, microphone and printer.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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