(Effective Fall 2017)

Physician assistants (PAs) are health professionals authorized by the state to practice medicine with the supervision of a licensed physician. Physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of services. The clinical role of physician assistants includes primary and specialty care in medical and surgical settings in rural and urban areas. Students will learn to work successfully in the health care environment, provide treatment for patients, problem solve, and value their professionalism.

The role of the physician assistant demands intelligence, sound judgment, intellectual honesty, appropriate interpersonal skills and the capacity to react to emergencies in a calm and reasoned manner. An attitude of respect for others, adherence to the concepts of privilege and confidentiality in communicating with patients, an understanding of the inter-professional nature of modern health care and a commitment to the patient's welfare are essential attributes.

Graduates of the combined Bachelor/Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies will be eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). To practice, students must graduate from a program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), pass the National Certifying Examination (PANCE), and obtain state authorization to practice through state licensure, registration, or certification process.

Career Opportunities

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for physician assistants during the time frame of 2014-2024 is projected to increase by 30% (much faster than the average of 7% growth rate for all occupations). Physician assistant was added to the high priority occupations in Pennsylvania and by the Central Workforce Investment Board in 2015. Pennsylvania is listed as one of the states with the highest number of employed physician assistants. Certified physician assistants (PA-C) are employed in a variety of settings nationwide, including (but not limited to): family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, gastroenterology, plastic surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, oncology and hematology, emergency medicine, orthopedic surgery, general surgery, cardiovascular surgery, correctional medicine, urology, and pediatrics.

Recommended High School Subjects

High school students should focus their academic course work on written and oral communication, upper level mathematics (e.g., college algebra and trigonometry), biology, chemistry, and physics courses with labs.

Special Admissions Requirements

First-year (freshman only) Conditional Acceptance Admissions

First year (freshman) students desiring entrance into the Bachelor/Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies must first gain admission to the College, and satisfy tuition deposit and placement test requirements. First-year (freshman) students at Penn College will be offered conditionally reserved seats in the combined degree if they have a minimum ACT score at/or above 23 or SAT scores at/or above 570 in math, and 560 in critical reading. Those who receive conditionally reserved seats as first-year (freshman) students must maintain both a Penn College graduation GPA and math/science GPA of 3.4, without any withdraw ("W"), "D," or "F" grades. Student progress is reviewed at the completion of each semester. Students who fail to meet the GPA conditions will relinquish their seats and be placed into the pre-major and be subject to the Physician Assistant Studies Competitive Admissions Process.

Physician Assistant Studies Competitive Admissions Process

Prior to the start of the BS+MS program's didactic course work each fall, students in the pre-PA curriculum and eligible transfers compete twice a year (first selection – following the fall semester; second selection – following the spring semester) for a seat based on the Physician Assistant Studies Admission Ranking System. Note that required pre-professional math and science course grade calculations must be a 3.0 or higher, and grades in ENL 111, ENL 121, (or ENL 201), CSC 124 and PSY 111 must be at or above a grade of "C."

Transfer students who want to be considered for the first selection must submit their application and all official transcripts to the Penn College Admissions Office by January 10 prior to the fall semester in which they seek admission into the major. To be considered for the second selection, transfer students must submit all transcripts for review by June 10 prior to the fall semester in which they seek admissions into the major.               

Additionally, by January 10 (for the first selection) and June 10 (for the second selection) prior to the fall semester in which they seek admissions into the major, all students MUST document via the electronic logging system, a minimum of 300 hours of health care exposure, including a minimum of 16 hours with a practicing PA-C. Current students can access this system with their Penn College ID and password. Transfer students must first be accepted to Penn College and satisfy the tuition deposit and placement testing requirements to access to the system.

Special Equipment Needs

Students accepted into the didactic year of the combined Bachelor/Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program are required to have a laptop and will incur expenses for medical instruments, uniforms, malpractice insurance, clearances and certifications, etc. See the complete list on the Health Sciences website.

Remediation Strategies

All developmental course remediation must be completed during the pre-PA curriculum to be considered for selection.

Transfer Procedures

Transfer students holding a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution who have completed all of the pre-professional program requirements may be eligible for selection into the two-year combined BS/MS degree for Fall 2020. All official transcripts must be submitted to Penn College along with the Application for Admission and tuition deposit. For transfer students who are selected, their entire bachelor’s degree will be accepted as transfer and the student will receive a combined Bachelor/Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree upon successful completion of the didactic and clinical years.

Transfer applicants without a prior degree may apply and submit official transcripts to Penn College for evaluation to determine if they meet all of the pre-professional course work requirements. If they do, they will be deemed eligible for possible selection into the two-year combined BS/MS degree for Fall 2020. Otherwise, they will be placed into the Pre-Combined Bachelor/Master degree.

Transfer applicants who do not meet all pre-professional requirements will be placed in the pre-major to complete outstanding requirements and will be subject to the Physician Assistant Studies Admission Ranking System upon eligibility. 


Once accepted into the professional phase of the program, students MUST take all courses in the major (PHA coded courses) at Penn College in the sequence as prescribed. No prior physician assistant program course work from another institution will be accepted for transfer to meet any physician assistant didactic or clinical-year requirements.

International health credentials/licensure, science courses, and most math courses will not be accepted to satisfy requirements of this major. Please see additional information for international students applying to Health Sciences majors.

Program Goals

A graduate of this major should be able to:
  • use the skills necessary to become certified physician assistant.
  • work as compassionate, ethical, and culturally competent health care provider.
  • communicate professionally with patients, families and other members of the health care team.
  • demonstrate the technical skills for patient-centered care, including aspects of evidenced-based medicine, patient education resources, accessibility, and cost effectiveness.
  • demonstrate critical thinking, analysis, scientific inquiry and problem-solving abilities.

Performance Standards

The grading scale in this program will be as follows:
A = 90-100
B = 80-89.99
C = 75-79.99
F = 74.99 and below – student has not met minimal requirements to pass
Grades are not rounded. Students must maintain a minimum graduation GPA of 2.0.

Curriculum

First Semester Credits
FYE101 First Year Experience 1  
BIO108 Principles of Biology I 4  
CHM111 General Chemistry I 4  
ENL111 English Composition I 3  
CSC124 Information, Technology, and Society 3  
TOTAL CREDITS 15
Second Semester Credits
BIO109 Principles of Biology II 4  
CHM121 General Chemistry II 4  
MTH160 Elementary Statistics with Computer Applications 4  
ENL121 English Composition II 3  
or
ENL201 Technical and Professional Communication 3  
TOTAL CREDITS 15
Third Semester Credits
BIO115 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4  
MTD Math Elective (MTH180 or Higher) 3  
CHM210 Organic Chemistry I 3  
CHM211 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory 1  
HUM Humanities Elective 3  
TOTAL CREDITS 14
Fourth Semester Credits
PHS115 College Physics I 4  
BIO125 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4  
ART Art Elective 3  
HUM Humanities Elective 3  
or
SSE Social Science Elective 3  
or
ART Art Elective 3  
or
FOR Foreign Language Elective 3  
or
AAE Applied Arts Elective 3  
or
IFE International Field Experience Elective 3  
FIT Fitness and Lifetime Sports Elective 2  
TOTAL CREDITS 16
Fifth Semester Credits
BIO201 Microbiology 4  
PSY111 General Psychology 3  
SPC Speech Elective 3  
CHM370 Biochemistry 3  
TOTAL CREDITS 13
Sixth Semester Credits
BIO310 Genetics 3  
MTR104 Basics of Medical Terminology 3  
OEA Open Elective 3  
HUM Humanities Elective 3  
or
SSE Social Science Elective 3  
or
ART Art Elective 3  
or
FOR Foreign Language Elective 3  
or
AAE Applied Arts Elective 3  
or
IFE International Field Experience Elective 3  
TOTAL CREDITS 12
Seventh Semester Credits
PHA516 Pathophysiology I 3  
PHA522 Pharmacology I 3  
PHA575 Human Cadaver Anatomy 4  
PHA547 Principles of Clinical Medicine I 4  
PHA505 Diagnostic and Procedural Methods I 3  
PHA539 History and Physical Assessment I 3  
PHA583 Principles of Dermatology 1  
TOTAL CREDITS 21
Eighth Semester Credits
PHA506 Diagnostic and Procedural Methods II 3  Science, Technology and Society Requirement
PHA517 Pathophysiology II 3  
PHA523 Pharmacology II 3  
PHA540 History and Physical Assessment II 3  
PHA548 Principles of Clinical Medicine II 3  
PHA576 Human Cadaver Anatomy II 3  
PHA580 Principles of Emergency Medicine 1  
PHA584 Psychopathology 1  
TOTAL CREDITS 20
Summer Session Credits
PHA507 Diagnostic and Procedural Methods III 3  
PHA524 Pharmacology III 3  
PHA541 History and Physical Assessment III 3  
PHA549 Principles of Clinical Medicine III 3  
PHA558 Pediatrics 1  
PHA560 Professionalism and Ethics in Physician Assistant Practice 3  Cultural Diversity Requirement
PHA581 Principles of Surgery 1  
PHA582 Principles of Obstetrics and Gynecology 1  
TOTAL CREDITS 18
Ninth Semester Credits
PHA609 Physician Assistant Internship Seminar I 1  
PHA612 Internal Medicine Internship 4  
PHA618 Elective Internship I 4  
PHA621 Pediatrics Internship 4  
TOTAL CREDITS 13
Tenth Semester Credits
PHA615 Emergency Medicine Internship 4  
PHA616 Psychiatry Internship 4  
PHA619 Obstetrics & Gynecology Internship 4  
PHA622 Physician Internship Seminar II 1  
TOTAL CREDITS 13
Summer Session Credits
PHA611 Family Practice Internship 4  
PHA617 Surgery Internship 4  
PHA623 Elective Internship II 4  
PHA696 Senior Capstone 3  Writing Enriched Requirement
TOTAL CREDITS 15

Notice of Conviction

Child-abuse clearance, criminal background checks, and drug screens are required. Students desiring entrance into the Physician Assistant major should be aware that clinical institutions could bar them from their sites if a criminal record exists or if a positive drug test is noted. (By virtue of contract for Penn College students to be at clinical sites, agencies have the right to ask for drug testing and background checks.)

Inability to gain clinical education experience results in inability to meet program objectives and outcomes. The presence of a criminal record can result in agencies refusing to issue credentials necessary for employment.

Accreditation

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Pennsylvania College of Technology Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Pennsylvania College of Technology. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be September 2027. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.