Best PA schools in California: You’ve decided to become a physician assistant, and your next step is deciding where to get your education.
California has many physician assistant schools located throughout the state, and each has its own unique perks, benefits, and resources to offer to students.
So you’ll have many options to choose from if you plan on staying in the state when you start school!
Whether you want to focus on primary care or work as a specialist, there are PA programs in California that offer great training and excellent job prospects after graduation.
This guide will put you through so you can make a more informed decision.
What does it mean to be a Physician Assistant?
A physician assistant (PA) is a healthcare professional who practices medicine under the direct supervision of a licensed physician.
In most states, physician assistants are educated to the graduate level and can do just about everything a doctor can do.
These skilled professionals serve as invaluable resources for general practitioners, allowing doctors to focus on more complicated patients.
The PAs handle medical issues that do not require an MD’s attention.
Also Read: The 3 Best Osteopathic Medical Schools In California To Get Into
What are the requirements for becoming a Physician Assistant in California?
To become a Physician Assistant in California, you must go through some advanced training and education.
Here are some requirements for becoming a PA in California:
- Earning a bachelor’s degree
- Completing any of the accredited PA programs in California and obtaining a Master’s Degree
- Pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exams (PANCE)
- Obtain a Licensure
Acceptance is competitive as students must fulfill educational and work experience requirements and it takes about 33 months to complete some of the PA programs in California.
Most programs admit students with undergraduate degrees, but some do accept candidates with prior college coursework or relevant healthcare experience.
What are the Best PA schools in California?
There are about 15 Physician Assistant schools in California and you can apply to any of them listed below;
- California Baptist University
- Chapman University
- Charles R. Drew
- Western University of Health Sciences
- Samuel Merritt University
- Dominican University of California
- Loma Linda University
- Marshall B. Ketchum
- Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
- University of California Davis
- Touro University
- Stanford University School of Medicine
- University of the Pacific
- University of La Verne
- Southern California University of Health Sciences
California Baptist University
California Baptist University is one of the top PA universities in California that strives to provide a quality PA education in a faith-based atmosphere.
Here you will find caring teachers who are dedicated to providing the highest quality of education.
The Master’s program here takes just about 2 years to complete.
In medical school, students will receive academic lectures as well as community service and academic engagement.
Graduates of the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program will be ready to supplement the doctor (MD or DO) and take on various patient care duties as part of the health care system.
The program is accredited by the ARC-PA and encourages students to also provide care to underserved populations.
Chapman University is next on our list of top Physician Assistant schools in California.
Chapman University MMS PA Studies Program has a selective admissions process that assigns points to your CASPA application.
Once your application is verified by CASPA and submitted to Chapman University, only your transcript showing completion of any non-science requirements will be processed in the admissions process.
Students who have been dismissed from any PA program cannot be admitted to Chapman University’s MMS PA Studies Program.
Charles R. Drew
Students with an altruistic desire to contribute to the global medical community are welcomed into our program, which provides the necessary skills to become excellent medical providers.
This program offers a wide variety of clinical opportunities, allowing students to explore disease management, prevention, and health promotion.
Throughout the program, social medicine is incorporated, so that students can learn how to better address social determinants of disease.
Students will also learn how to promote social justice within the local and global community on behalf of patients.
Western University of Health Sciences
Western University of Health Sciences has been mentioned by many sources as one of the best PA schools in California.
This institution was founded in 1977 as the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific.
Graduates from the Western University of Health Sciences are prepared with the skills to become competent in medical and clinical science.
Samuel Merritt University
Founded in 1909, Samuel Merritt University is a private, not-for-profit institution of health sciences with three campuses in California:
- Sacramento, and
- San Mateo.
Graduates of the Master Physician Assistant Department at Samuel Merritt University are capable of being independent healthcare providers.
They are also prepared to be a part of the community and medical profession.
In addition, the Samuel Merritt University Physician Assistant program offers students various financial opportunities such as scholarships, work-study, and student loans.
Dominican University of California
The Dominican University of California offers one of the best PA programs in California.
Students graduate with a well-rounded set of skills including cultural competence and a strong focus on lifelong learning.
They are already capable of contributing significantly to the various communities they serve, and they will advance the PA profession in the process.
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda University is one of the top schools in California for PA students.
The Master of Physician Assistant Program was established in 2000.
The school offers diverse programs to prepare students to serve others through medical practices with excellence and compassion.
The ultimate goal is for the students to become knowledgeable and charitable about other cultures.
And devoted to the well-being of those around them, and well-suited to serve their communities.
Marshall B. Ketchum
Marshall B. Ketchum University is a non-profit, private institution, and it is considered one of the best in the state of California.
Consequently, the school of Physician Assistant Studies was founded in 2012 and offers a 27-month, post-baccalaureate program leading to the completion of the degree program.
As one of the best PA schools in California, the student-teacher ratio is 8:1 and this helps the students relax and communicate better with their instructor.
The college also offers students financial assistance in order to help meet the educational expenses necessary to accomplish their goal of becoming outstanding Physician Assistants (PAs).
Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
The Keko School of Medicine of the University of Southern California has one of the best PA programs in the country.
The curriculum focuses on primary care and is situated in various clinical settings. The program lasts for about three and a half years.
Students from this school have on many occasions aced the PANCE exams.
In striving to offer an excellent educational experience, the school has promoted diversity, equity, and inclusion.
University of California Davis
Founded in 1961, the University of California Davis offers top PA programs in California and is renowned as one of the top party schools in California.
Of the best physician assistant schools in California, UC Davis School of Medicine is committed to student-centered education.
For example, this school offers scholarships, student loans, and short-term loans.
Located on Mare Island in Vallejo, California, Touro University California is a private graduate health science school.
The dual Master’s Program in the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies and the Master of Public Health has the goal of expanding access to quality healthcare.
The dual degree program awards financial assistance from the Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA) through its Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students program.
Their program mission includes:
- Educating quality Physician Assistants to work with underserved populations.
- Recruiting candidates with a demonstrated interest in serving these communities.
- Increase access to care for underserved populations.
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford University was founded in 1891 and offers one of the best Physician Assistant programs in California.
The program at Standford University takes about 30 months to complete.
The school admits between 25 and 30 students into the program every year and provides them with some of the following services.
- Children and Families Support
- Dispute Resolution and Legal Issues Support
- Financial Assistance
- Health and Counseling Resources
University of the Pacific
The Pacific University of California is one of the best PA universities in California, both private and statewide.
They have three campuses in Sacramento, San Francisco, and Stockton.
The University of the Pacific trains PA students to have the skills to complete medical histories, conduct physical examinations, demonstrate clinical skills and procedures, provide treatment, and counsel patients.
University of La Verne
The University of La Verne is one of the top schools in California that offers a variety of PA programs in California.
The program is not just for students enrolled in graduate programs, but also for traditional-age students and adults as well.
The mission of the program is to educate and empower diverse, ethical, collaborative, and holistic health providers who will work to eliminate health disparities.
Southern California University of Health Sciences
Standard University is well known as one of the best PA schools in California and was founded in 1911 as a health science school.
SCU is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
The school offers education-related financial assistance opportunities (direct loans and scholarships) to students in order to cover their educational expenses.
PA programs in California have several requirements you must meet. The application process is lengthy and can be expensive.
Make sure to get your application materials ready, gather your letters of recommendation, and understand all of your options before you begin.
PA programs are competitive, so start preparing now!
Where can a Physician Assistant Work?
The job market is on fire right now too, with opportunities in almost every corner of America. PAs can work at hospitals, schools, clinics, Spas, and other healthcare environments.
Does UCLA have a PA program?
Yes, UCLA offers personal assistance and programs on the graduate and professional school application process.
Which UC is best for Physician Assistant?
The University of Southern California is the best school for Physician Assistant programs in California.