The Best Physician Assistant Degree Programs Online

Pursuing a career as a Physician Assistant promises and exciting and fulfilling future! Physician's Assistants are becoming more in demand since the Affordable Care Act went into effect. This position requires graduating with a Master's degree and then taking a licensing test. Once completed, the graduate can assist in a variety of healthcare areas including private doctor's offices and hospitals. This is a program that takes dedication and doing it online requires the individual to be self-disciplined in order to get the necessary work completed. The top three physician assistant degree programs online include Southern New Hampshire University, Purdue University, and Walden University. Here are some things it is important to ask when looking for a Physician's Assistant degree program online.

What are the required courses necessary for preparing for the certifying exam?

Physician's Assistants are more generalized in education and need to be trained in all aspects of the human body. In addition to Biology and Anatomy classes, it may be required that you take Chemistry and classes that cover general medical disorders. The classes will lean heavily toward the sciences but some programs focus more on the actual diseases while others focus on the chemical aspect of diseases.

What accreditation does the program have?

In order to be eligible to take the licensing test, an individual has to graduate from a program that is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. Without their approval of the program, a graduate can't take the required certifying test.

Where do students get the required hours of on-hand experience?

Graduating with a Physician's Assistant Master's degree requires a student to perform a certain number of practice areas in a medical setting. It is important to know in advance whether the student has to find a place that will allow this or if the school partners with local hospitals or physicians to help students fulfill the requirement. This question also pertains to lab work.

Do you help prepare students for the licensing exam?

Many programs leave it up to the student to study for and take the exam after graduating. Others will help by providing preparation classes, study groups, and practice tests. Schools that provide this extra help are often more serious about the success of their students than the ones who do not provide the help.

What is the program's success rate?

This can be shown in two ways. First, take a look at what percentage of incoming students actually graduate and compare it to other programs offered by this and competing schools. Secondly, find out where graduates of the program end up finding positions. This helps to determine how well-respected the received education is in the medical community as a whole.

Are classes offered for continued education?

A Physician's Assistant must complete additional classroom hours every two years. Having the same school that you earned your degree from offer these continuing education classes will be more helpful. It also shows how much the school cares about student success.

What background do instructors have?

Instructors that have medical degrees or strong science backgrounds are going to be able to go more in-depth into the subjects you are studying. The more they have actually interacted with patients in a clinical setting, the more likely they will be to understand the nuances of the profession that strictly research scientists or those with only teaching degrees can.

How flexible is the program?

In many cases, online students have a whole life outside their studies. A typical program for a Physician's Assistant will take three years. Finding out how much time you can take off or how strict the lecture attendance is will help decide if the program will logically fit into your current schedule or if your current schedule can easily be adapted for the program.

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