The Society of Physician Assistants in Otorhinolaryngology / Head & Neck Surgery
(SPAO-HNS)

Physician Assistant Training

The structure of Physician Assistant (PA) education is similar to that for medical students, in the medical model. The average PA Program is about 108 weeks of instruction compared to 153 for medical students.

The didactic, or first year, is heavy in basic sciences, clinical medicine, history and physical examination, general studies, and surgical and technical skills.

During the second year, more than 2,000 hours are dedicated to clinical rotations with an emphasis in:

  • Family Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • OB/GYN
  • Internal Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Geriatrics
  • Emergency Medicine

There are over 200 PA programs in the US. Programs are accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The ARC-PA is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

The typical PA program is 24-32 months long and requires at least four years of college and some health care experience prior to admission. The majority of students have a BA/BS degree and prior health care experience before admission to a PA program.

While all programs recognize the professional component of PA education with a document of completion for the professional credential (PA), 90 percent of the programs also award a master’s degree. By 2020, all programs will award a master's degree.

For a complete list of PA Programs visit ARC-PA.

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