According to 2013 reports from the Bureau of Labor statics, Georgia is home to over 2,000 physician assistants. In addition to an average salary of $93,660 per year, the expected growth up till 2020 is considered an incentive for Pre- medical students or those from other fields who wish to study this program. If you are in Georgia and would like to build a career in PA, the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants (GAPA) recommends enrolling in one of the following four schools.
#1) Emory University
The Emory School of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Division has a reputation for being one of the best across the U.S. Located in Atlanta on the Health Science campus, the division offers two types of programs: MMSc-PA and MMSc-PA and Master of Public Health.
The first is a 29-month program that focuses on the seven competencies of this profession. On the other hand, the MMSc PA and Master of Public Health is a dual degree program that allows students to train at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. First, students have to enroll in the School of Public health for a year (32 semester hours) before entering the PA program the following fall for an additional 29 months or seven semesters.
#2) Georgia Regents University
Formed in 2013 after consolidating the Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University, Georgia Regents University (GRU) is one of four public comprehensive research institutions in the state. It offers a three-year, seven-semester Master of Physician Assistant program. A bachelor’s degree is not required for this degree, but you will need to complete 90 semester hours of prerequisites from an accredited college or university.
Another interesting initiative by the College of Allied Health Sciences at GRU is the online Master of Physician Assistant (MPA) Bridge Program. Through it, graduates with a Baccalaureate in Physician Assistant Studies can earn their master’s degree without leaving their jobs. As the program is still new, you will have to contact the university for more details.
#3) Mercer University
Located in Atlanta, the College of Health Professions at Mercer’s Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus offers the Physician Assistant Program. It is a seven-semester (28 months) program after which you will be awarded the MMSC. degree. However, this physician assistant school follows its program with a 13-month didactic phase followed by a 15-month clinical and professional one.
In addition, aside from a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited US institution, GRE scores and completion of all prerequisites, applicants should complete 1,000 hours of patient care experience and meet technical standards to be considered for admission.
#4) South University
South University is the oldest school on this list with over a century of experience and excellence in education. Located in Savannah, Georgia, this institute offers both theoretical and practical knowledge for budding PAs through its Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, but you will need to apply for licensure on your own. Luckily, the program will prepare you for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) as well as your career.
If you are interested in checking out what South University has to offer, you can check its website to see if any Open House events are scheduled soon. You will not have to register for this, but try reaching early as seats are limited.
To analyze which of these PA schools in Georgia are the best for you, visit the websites of each and check their fee structure, proximity to your home, admissions criteria, national board pass-fail and other criteria that you may use to make up your mind.