(Effective Fall 2020)

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 medicine as a PA, students must graduate from a program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), pass the PANCE, and obtain state-specific authorization to practice through state licensure, registration, or certification processes.

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

Because of the strong emphasis on science and math in this major, applicants are encouraged to complete and have a strong academic performance in three high school math courses and three high school science courses, which include at least one biology

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 program website.

Remediation Strategies

All incoming students must meet placement requirements in English, math, and reading. All developmental course remediation must be completed during the pre-PA curriculum to be considered for selection.

Program Goals

A graduate of this major should be able to:
  • use the skills necessary to become a certified physician assistant;
  • work as a 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; and
  • demonstrate critical thinking, analysis, scientific inquiry and problem-solving abilities.

Performance Standards

The grading scale in this program for all PHA courses 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 Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
FYE101 First Year Experience 1 .50 1.50 S REQ
BIO108 Principles of Biology I 4 3 3 M REQ
CHM111 General Chemistry I 4 3 3 M REQ
ENL111 English Composition I 3 3 S REQ
PSY111 General Psychology 3 3 S REQ
TOTAL CREDITS 15
Second Semester Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
BIO109 Principles of Biology II 4 3 3 M REQ
CHM121 General Chemistry II 4 3 3 M REQ
MTD Math Elective (MTH180 or Higher) 3   M MTD
MTR104 Basics of Medical Terminology 3 3 M REQ
TOTAL CREDITS 14
Third Semester Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
BIO115 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4 3 3 M REQ
ENL121 English Composition II 3 3 S REQ
or
ENL201 Technical and Professional Communication 3 3 S REQ
CHM210 Organic Chemistry I 3 3 M REQ
CHM211 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory 1 3 M REQ
SOC111 Introduction to Sociology 3 3 S REQ
TOTAL CREDITS 14
Fourth Semester Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
PHS115 College Physics I 4 3 3 M REQ
BIO125 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4 3 3 M REQ
MTH159 Statistics for Health & Behavioral Sciences 3 3 M REQ
ARP Core Arts Perspective 3   S ARP
TOTAL CREDITS 14
Fifth Semester Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
BIO201 Microbiology 4 3 3 M REQ
SPC Speech Elective 3   S SPC
CHM370 Biochemistry 3 3 M REQ
OEA Open Elective 3   S OEA
TOTAL CREDITS 13
Sixth Semester Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
BIO310 Genetics 3 3 M REQ
CSC124 Information, Technology, and Society 3 3 S REQ
OEA Open Elective 3   S OEA
FIT Fitness and Lifetime Sports Elective 2   S FIT
HIP Core Historical Perspective 3   S HIP
TOTAL CREDITS 14
Seventh Semester Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
PHA425 Pathophysiology I 4 4 M REQ
PHA430 Pharmacology I 3 3 M REQ
PHA475 Human Cadaver Anatomy 4 3 3 M REQ
PHA450 Clinical Medicine I 5 5 M REQ
PHA465 Diagnostic and Procedural Practices I 2 1 3 M REQ
PHA442 Patient History & Physical Assessment I 2 1.50 1.50 M REQ
TOTAL CREDITS 20
Eighth Semester Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
PHA466 Diagnostic and Procedural Practices II 3 2 3 M REQ
PHA426 Pathophysiology II 2 2 M REQ
PHA431 Pharmacology II 3 3 M REQ
PHA443 Patient History & Physical Assessment II 2 1 3 M REQ
PHA451 Clinical Medicine II 4 3 3 M REQ
PHA460 Professional and Ethics in Physician Assistant Practice 3 3 M REQ
PHA428 Laboratory Medicine 2 2 M REQ
PHA429 Cardiology 2 2 M REQ
TOTAL CREDITS 21
Summer Session Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
PHA467 Diagnostic and Procedural Practices III 2 1 3 M REQ
PHA432 Pharmacology III 3 3 M REQ
PHA444 Patient History & Physical Assessment III 2 1 3 M REQ
PHA452 Clinical Medicine III 4 3 3 M REQ
PHA471 Medical Decision Making 1 3 M REQ
PHA473 Women and Children's Health 2 1.50 1.50 M REQ
PHA474 Principles of Emergency Medicine and General Surgery 2 1.50 1.50 M REQ
TOTAL CREDITS 16
Ninth Semester Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
PHA609 Physician Assistant Internship Seminar I 1 1 M REQ
PHA631 Internal Medicine Internship 4 1 M REQ
PHA635 Elective Internship 4 1 M REQ
PHA637 Pediatrics Internship 4 1 M REQ
TOTAL CREDITS 13
Tenth Semester Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
PHA632 Emergency Medicine Internship 4 1 M REQ
PHA633 Behavioral and Mental Health Care Internship 4 1 M REQ
PHA636 Women's Health Internship 4 1 M REQ
PHA622 Physician Assistant Internship Seminar II 1 1 M REQ
TOTAL CREDITS 13
Summer Session Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
PHA630 Family Medicine Internship 4 1 M REQ
PHA634 Surgery Internship 4 1 M REQ
PHA672 Concepts in Physician Assistant Practice 3 3 M REQ
PHA696 Senior Capstone 3 Writing Enriched Requirement 3 M REQ
TOTAL CREDITS 14

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.