Best Physician Assistant (PA) Schools In Boston 2022

Are you looking for the best Physician Assistant schools in Boston? Search no more. The World Scholarship Forum has put together a list of the best PA schools in Boston based on certain ranking factors. Stay with me as I walk you through!

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 58% of PAs are working in doctor offices, 23% in hospitals, 7% at outpatient care centers, 4% in government, and 3% in private practice.

Furthermore, an estimated 38% growth rate is predicted from 2012 to 2022 as stated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nevertheless, a physician assistant is one of the most important careers in the medical industry.

While we often talk about doctors and nurses, a physician assistant plays a vital role in diagnosing and treating patients.

So, in this article, we’ll look into who a Physician Assistant is, the admission requirements, the best PA schools in Boston, job outlook, and a whole lot more.

See the table of contents below.

Who Is A Physician Assistant?

For most hospitals and clinical services, Physician Assistants (PA) are essential members of the healthcare team.

A Physician Assistant is a healthcare practitioner authorized to practice medicine under the guardianship of a Physician.

PAs provide basic care services, including performing exams, ordering tests, and prescribing medicines.

In other words, Physician Assistants are that healthcare personnel that assists the Physician.

How Do I Become A Physician Assistant In Boston?

To become a Physician Assistant in Boston, you need to fulfill the following…

  • Discover Accredited Massachusetts Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
  • Become Nationally Certified
  • Apply for a License with the State
  • Stay Current on the License

Discover Accredited Boston Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure

What this entails is that you have to look out for accredited PA schools in Boston. In other words, the first important thing to look for when searching for a Physician Assistant school in Boston is its accreditation status.

Secondly, look out for admission requirements. Generally, Physician Assistant schools in Boston will require previous clinical experience and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Bachelor’s degree, prerequisite courses in particular areas.

Become Nationally Certified

This is more of a general requirement, the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) is administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) to students commencing three months before graduation from their PA degree program.

The exam incorporates the diseases and disorders associated with the body’s major organ systems, and the NCCPA offers practice exams for $35.

At the end of the exam, students will gain the PA-C or Physician Assistant-Certified credential.

Apply for a State License

You need to obtain a full Application Packet for Licensure as a PA in Massachusetts is 13 pages long and should be submitted to the Board of Registration of Physician Assistant in Boston. In addition to the application itself, a complete package will comprise:

  • Official signed and sealed transcripts from a student’s PA degree program
  • Proof of a bachelor’s degree
  • Authorization for the NCCPA to release to the Board official PANCE scores
  • Criminal Record form
  • $225 application fee

Renew the Massachusetts PA License

After acquiring the license, the duty is yours to renew the license in order to stay in practice.

PA Licenses in Massachusetts can be renewed online and it costs $150. They are good for two years and should be renewed by March 1st to avoid late fees.

Also, PAs must also have completed 100 credits of continuing medical education (CME) by the time of their renewal.

Can I Study Physician Assistant in Boston?

Due to the rising demand for Physician Assistants, much focus is now placed on clinically-based training and the need to groom students who will be a perfect fit for the profession.

Therefore, medical schools are ideally suited to train Physician Assistants. This opens up doors for interaction with medical students and faculty, creating a unique experience.

To attend a PA school in Boston, there are certain requirements you have to fulfill. For instance, there are certain prerequisite courses and practical patient care experiences expected of you.

Entrance requirements for PA programs vary, but ideally, you need at least two years of college coursework, including classes in chemistry, anatomy, and biology.

Many PA programs also expect you to have a notable amount of hands-on patient care experience.

You can obtain this experience in many ways, including working as an EMT or paramedic, medical assistant, phlebotomist, nurse, medical technician, or as certified nursing assistant.

Furthermore, when you’ve been accepted into a PA program, you must complete coursework in Pathology, Diagnosis, and Medical Ethics. Also, you’ll take part in supervised clinical training.

Lastly, to become a certified PA, you’ll need to acquire a master’s degree from a PA training program that has received accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

Admission Requirements Needed To Study Physician Assistant In Boston

Admission requirements vary depending on the specific program. However, you need two to four years of undergraduate coursework with a specific focus on related science courses.

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Furthermore, the Physician Assistant school application process usually requires a personal statement, transcripts, hours of healthcare experience verification, and letters of recommendation.

Additionally, people who intend to apply to a Physician Assistant may need to take an acceptance test.

The examination requirement of Physician Assistant schools vary. Many schools, for example, require Graduate Record Examination (GRE), which is needed for various forms of master’s degree programs. On the flip side, some other schools demand Medical School Admissions Exam (MCAT).

Additionally, some PA programs require the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). In some cases, none of the above entrance exams are required.

Is Bachelor’s Degree Necessary For Physician Assistant Program?

Physician Assistants, also known as PA’s, practice under a team of Physicians and Surgeons. They have been through extensive training and are well equipped to examine, diagnose, and treat patients.

To be a Physician Assistant, you need a Bachelor of Science degree in a science major.

Do Physician Assistant Schools In Boston Require GRE Or MCAT?

According to the PAEA report, over half of PA schools require the GRE. A handful of schools offer you the choice of the GRE or the MCAT, but none specifically require the MCAT.

Considering you’ll want to give yourself as many options as possible, it would be in your best interest to take the GRE test—and do well.

As one of your PA school requirements, the GRE is a more lenient aspect of your application than others.

You can take the GRE up to five times within twelve months, and you only need to wait twenty-one days in between test trials. 

Don’t worry about PA schools seeing you took the GRE multiple times. ETS allows you to only send the scores you want to possible schools.

So re-taking the GRE to improve your score is in your best interest.

Many PA schools won’t set a specific minimum GRE score. The programs that do usually set the minimum score around 295—but again, some will be costlier and some will be lower.

The average GRE score of students on the PAEA report was 306—an addition of verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning. The average analytical writing score was 4.1. 

Plan to take the GRE well ahead of the PA school application deadlines, so you can fit in a few re-takes to try to get your score above the average. And of course, consider investing in GRE prep resources to maximize your highest score.

Can I Acquire A Physician Assistant Degree Online?

While the majority of physician assistant program credits involve hands-on training and clinical work, some courses can often be completed online.

An online Physician Assistant master’s program offers flexibility for students who are also working professionals.

Web-based programs typically follow the same rigorous curricula as brick-and-mortar options, leading to similar advancement opportunities for graduates.

Online Master’s degree programs for Physician Assistants can include courses such as Physiology, Pharmacology, epidemiology, and research.

Courses can also discuss delivery mechanisms for healthcare in the U.S., as well as the principles and policies that govern these processes.

How Long Does It Take To Complete A Physician Assistant Program?

Most PA programs are over 26 months in length. What this entails is that the master’s program lasts for approximately 3-4 years.

The academic portion of the program (typically 12-15 months in length) includes classroom study in behavioral/social and clinical preparatory sciences including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, medical ethics, clinical laboratory science, microbiology, pathophysiology, public health, and clinical medicine.

The clinical portion of a PA program incorporates over 2,000 hours of full-time clinical rotations in family medicine, emergency medicine, internal medicine, women’s health, pediatrics, behavioral/mental health, and general surgery, as well as electives chosen by the student.

What Do Physician Assistants Do?

As the name suggests, a physician assistant aids doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals with a wide variation of tasks. They serve multiple functions that help the hospital move forward efficiently. To help the doctor perform their work, a physician assistant will assess patients’ medical information, conduct basic examinations, give treatment, and instruct patients according to their needs.

Although Physicians typically conduct the diagnosis and develop a treatment plan, Physician Assistants may be needed to perform certain tasks depending on the particular job. A Physician Assistant can be the primary healthcare provider in a rural area and only consult with a physician when necessary.

Also, they work in all areas of medicine, from primary care to emergency service and psychiatry.

Where Do Physician Assistants Work?

After graduation from PA schools in Boston, Physician Assistants have opportunities in a wide variety of specializations. A PA specialist can work in the following subdivisions…

  • Internal Medicine
  • Primary Care
  • Family Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Transplant
  • Neurosurgery
  • Critical Care Medicine
  • Women’s Health
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Residency Support
  • Hospitalist
  • Rapid Response Teams

How Much Does Physician Assistants in Boston Earn?

According to PhysicianAssistantEDU.org, last year the average physician assistant salary in Massachusetts was $86,440- a number that is anticipated to rise along with the statewide demand for qualified applicants to fill a growing number of positions

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After earning a master’s degree from a PA school in Boston, you can expect a strong income rate and a stable job.

According to information from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, Physician Assistants earn an average of over $98,000 annually, and more.

The renowned Physician Assistants earn almost $140,000 yearly while the low starters earn about $62,000 a year, which is well above the $36,200 national average for all jobs.

The expected job growth makes PA even more attractive. The BLS says that physician assistant jobs will grow by a huge 30% between 2014 and 2024.

To put this in perspective, jobs that deal with diagnosing and managing health issues will grow by 17%, while the total across-the-board job growth will be about 7%.

So not only can you expect a wonderful income, you will have an increased chance at the arrival and keeping a job for your whole working career.

It is also important to note that every area of the country needs physician assistants.

However, some areas offer better chances. States, like New York, California, and Texas, obviously have many opportunities for physician assistants, but Maine actually has the highest concentration for this career.

According to BLS, Maine holds 1.59 physician assistant jobs for every 1,000 workers. Maine also has a high yearly mean wage, sitting at $102,550.

Best PA Schools in Boston

The best PA schools in Boston are not just the existing Physician Assistant schools in Boston, they are schools that met the following ranking factor;

  • Accreditation – The accreditation status of a school shows that the school is dully authorized by a regulatory body.
  • Graduation Rate – The graduation rate of a school shows the most significant output rate of an institution which is its ability to produce graduates.
  • The student to faculty ratio – This shows the number of students who attend a faculty divided by the number of teachers in the faculty.
  • Employability index – This statistics shows how the students are performing in the employment market.

Here’s a list of the best PA schools in Boston;

  • MCPHS University
  • Tufts University
  • Northeastern University
  • Springfield College
  • Bay Path University

Massachusetts College Of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

This three-year graduate program will help you build on your bachelor’s degree as you study the medical and behavioral sciences, learn through interprofessional education, and gain practical clinical exposures.

The program consists of 4 semesters of didactic classwork, followed by three semesters of supervised clinical rotations during a sort of setting.

These clinical rotations allow you to explore multiple interest areas and gain experience during a range of specialties that include women’s health, general medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, medicine, and surgery.

To enlist to the program, you need to meet the following requirements;

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  • Baccalaureate degree.
  • Minimum overall 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  • Minimum overall science GPA 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Minimum prerequisite GPA 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • 250 hours of patient care experience.
  • Successful completion of faculty interview (by invitation only)

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation – Continued to the MCPHS University–Boston Physician Assistant Program sponsored by MCPHS University.

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Tufts University

The PA program at the Tufts University School of Medicine prepares you to practice as a PA in a wide variety of clinical settings. Tufts PA program promotes human health by providing high-quality education to future physician assistants so that they are equipped to become integral members of the health care team.

The Program meets the educational requirements for professional licensure as a Physician Assistant in all 50 States.

It is expected that job growth for physician assistants will increase by almost 40% over the next 10years, making the profession an enticing, exciting choice for students who are passionate about making a difference by pursuing a career in clinical medicine.

Applications must meet CASPA and Tufts requirements to be fit for admission;

a.) CASPA requirements for verification

  • Application e-submitted in CASPA with application fee paid
  • Resume/CV is uploaded
  • Patient Care Document found in CASPA is completed
  • All official transcripts received by CASPA
  • Minimum of two letters of recommendation received by CASPA

b.) Tufts requirements

  • 3rd letter of recommendation (References from shadowing experiences will not be accepted as one of the three required recommendations)
  • Official GRE/MCAT Scores
  • TOEFL Scores (if required)

TUFTS Physician Assistant Program is an accredited program through the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA).

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Northeastern University

Since 1971, Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences has been training exceptional physician assistants.

The Northeastern University Physician Assistant Program grants a Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies.  In extension to the traditional program, there are 2 dual master’s degree pathways available: PA/MPH and PA/Health Informatics (HI).

Graduates of the PA Program are fit to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) administered by the National Commission for the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) after graduation.

Admission requirements

Both academic work and hands-on patient care practice are necessary requirements for application.  However, there are other standard requirements;

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  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Overall GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale as calculated on the CASPA application. 
  • Masters or doctoral degree-associated overall GPA.
  • Post-baccalaureate-associated (at least 10 courses or 30 credit hours) overall GPA.
  • Science GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale as calculated on the CASPA application.  This GPA covers all college science courses taken at regionally accredited institutions.
  • For international, applicants, you need to meet the specified TOEFL score within the previous two years.
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 Since its inception, Northeastern’s PA Program has been accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). 

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Springfield College

The Springfield College physician assistant (PA) program is famous for its unique blend of academic rigor and hands-on experience in this field. The program trains primary care physician assistants eligible for employment in a wide variety of medical settings and specialties.

Through the six-year track (pre-professional phase), you’ll enter Springfield College as a first-year student, and in six years, you’ll earn a Bachelor of Science in health science/pre-PA and complete the master’s-level physician assistant program.

Admission requirements

To gain entry into the program, you need to meet the following requirements;

  • The average grade point average (GPA) of students admitted to the physician assistant program is a 3.5.
  • The average SAT score of students admitted to the physician assistant program is 1250 (evidence-based reading/writing and math). The average ACT score of admitted students is a 27 (composite score).
  • Documented job shadowing hours (minimum 15-20) with a physician assistant.
  • Letter of recommendation from the physician assistant shadowed or health-care professional.
  • Letter of recommendation from a science teacher.
  • Complete physician assistant supplemental essays within the Common Application.
  • Four years of high school college preparatory mathematics (junior/senior year: pre-calculus, calculus, etc.) and grades of B+ or better.
  • Four years of high school college preparatory science (junior/senior year: physics, AP biology, etc.) and grades of B+ or better.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has conferred Accreditation-Continued status to the Springfield College Physician Assistant Program.

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Bay Path University

Bay Path University’s MS in Physician Assistant Program is a rigorous, accelerated degree program that incorporates on-campus classroom and laboratory training with off-site clinical experience.

Through the course of the program, students gain the knowledge and skills needed for evaluating, monitoring, diagnosing, treating, and counseling patients across their lifespan. Furthermore, the MS in PA will prepare you to work in primary care, surgery, emergency medicine, and medical and surgical sub-specialties.

Admission requirements

The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at Bay Path expects all aspirants to meet the following admission requirements:

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  • Not more than two outstanding prerequisite courses remaining at the time of application (October 1st).
  • A baccalaureate or graduate degree from an accredited U.S. or Canadian institution with a minimum total overall GPA of 3.0 (per CASPA).
  • A minimum of 500 patient contact hours is required. Examples of patient contact hours can include but are not limited to EMT, Paramedic, CNA, Nurses Aid, Respiratory Therapist, Medical Assistant, Phlebotomist, or clinical experiences with direct patient contact, paid or unpaid. 
  • A minimum of 24 hours of documented Physician Assistant shadowing is needed.
  • A personal statement.
  • Three letters of recommendation are required.
  • No GMAT or GRE required.
  • The PA Program will not allow advanced standing for any professional courses or clinical experiences.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has awarded Accreditation-Continued status to the Bay Path University Physician Assistant Program.

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Conclusion

In summary, this article talks about the best PA schools in Boston and also highlights noteworthy reasons why you enroll. Good luck!

How long does it take to become a physician assistant?

Most PA programs are approximately 26 months in length.

What's the difference between a physician assistant and a medical assistant?

Medical assistants usually hold two-year degrees and conduct entry-level healthcare tasks. Physician assistants hold master’s degrees and diagnose and treat patients under a doctor’s supervision.

What do physician assistants do?

A physician assistant supports doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals with a wide variation of tasks.

Can I acquire a physician assistant degree online?

There are many top-notch online programs that can equip you for this rewarding career, and most are built to fit busy schedules.

References

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