Accredited Physician Assistant PA Schools in Virginia 2020

If you enjoy taking care of the sick but you don’t want to officially pursue a medical career, then a career as a Physician Assistant will suit you. A Physician Assistant is a trained member of a team of healthcare providers whose job is to assist doctors. Find all the information you need about this career here in this article. It is a tailor-made piece for you if you live in Virginia. This article will uncover the best PA schools in Virginia where you can acquire your training.

Becoming a physician assistant usually takes a long, rigorous process but I can tell you It is quite a rewarding career that will broaden your knowledge in the medical field.

Physician Assistants are not nurses but they work side by side medical doctors in the discharge of their duties. So if you think becoming a physician assistant is the same as a being a nurse, the two are not the same. Nurses are also a different component of standard healthcare team.

So in this article you’ll really learn all that you deserve to know concerning this career

Meanwhile, take a look at some of the things you’ll find in this article in the table of contents below.

So let’s delve into the journey.

Who is A Physician Assistant?

A Physician Assistant also known as PA is a trained member of a health care team who works under the supervision of a licensed medical doctor to provide medical care to patients in a health care setting.

Usually, the PA does not need to perform his duties only when the supervising physician is around provided he has been well trained and knows how to discharge his duties appropriately. However, there needs to be a consistent method of contact between the supervising physician and the PA at all times.

What are the duties of A Physician Assistant?

Part of what a Physician Assistant does is the recording of medical histories and physical examinations of patients. This is on a general note. However, duties of a Physician Assistant are described according to what specialty they want to focus on or what specialty their supervising physician is focused on.

For instance, a physician Assistant who has under the supervision of an orthopedic surgeon will definitely have the task of conducting bone surgeries even when the supervising surgeon is not around.

In the same vein, a physician assistant working under a pediatrician will have the responsibility of carrying out what duties the supervising pediatrician does whether he is around or not. These are dependent on the premise that the assistant physician has been properly trained by the mentor.

However, on a general note, Physician Assistants perform the following functions.

  • Physician Assistants order for tests in order to ascertain the nature and extent of illnesses and injuries of patients.
  • They also prescribe medications and help develop therapeutic plans for the remedy medical problems. 
  • Physician Assistants may also take the responsibility of stitching wounds and setting bones. This is if the have this training.
  • Physician Assistants Administer immunizations in healthcare centers.
  • Another important role physician assistants play is following up the patients through the course of their treatment to ensure strict adherence to treatment plans and recommended regimen.

What Requirements do I need for PA School?

To be considered for admission into any of the PA schools in Virginia, it is important that you meet these very important requirements in the following lines.

The first level to becoming a physician assistant is the acquisition of a high school certificate with a strong foundation in sciences like; biology, chemistry, physics, English, etc.

Virtually all schools in the US will require the completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. This degree requirement is one of the prerequisites for gaining admission into an accredited PA school.

After your bachelor’s studies, you will need to acquire a masters degree in a medical related course. It could in any of these courses or any other ; pathology, human anatomy, physiology, clinical medicine and pharmacology.

Some schools require a GRE and GPA before they can admit you into their PA masters program while some do not really consider it.

Furthermore, in your walk to become a physician assistant, you’ll be required to complete a healthcare training and also acquire a license.

After completing a PA program, you’ll need to take the PANCE to earn the certification as a physician assistant, then seek licensure from your state in order to begin practicing.

How long does it take to complete a PA program?

It takes approximately 8 years of training to become a certified physician assistant. The 8 years are spent in learning various skills that are required to fully become a PA.

Firstly, one must earn a bachelor’s degree, which takes roughly four years to complete. This means that you must have also completed your high school education with relatively good grades.

The bachelor’s degree which you must have could be in any course at all provided it is related to the medical profession.

Acquiring a bachelor’s degree alone does not qualify you to become a Physician Assistant. You’ll need to get a health training which will further widen your knowledge in health care. The health care training could be in the area of paramedics or any other medical-related course. Usually, this training takes about three years to complete.

After you have completed the health care training, the next thing will be to acquire a masters degree. The masters program does not take so much time to complete. On average, it will cost you like two years to complete a masters degree program which leads to a career as a Physician Assistant.

One more thing will be left for you to do after your master’s degree. That is sitting for the Accreditation test. Only those who graduate from the ARC-PA program (the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant) can qualify to write this test.

One can attempt this test up to 6 times in a span of 6 years after which he will need to wait for some time before trying again.

In addition, a person who has completed all the rigors and has been licensed to practice as a physician assistant will still need to take council exams periodically to maintain their licensure.

What schools offer Physician Assistant Programs?

There are about 8 notable schools in the whole of Virginia that offers Physician Assistant programs. So, if you live in Virginia and you are looking to enroll in PA school soon, here is a list of PA schools where you can pursue PA programs in Virginia.

Explore here below.

List of Best PA Schools in Virginia

  • Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Emory & Henry College
  • James Madison University
  • Jefferson College of Health Sciences
  • Mary Baldwin University
  • Shenandoah University
  • South University
  • University of Lynchburg

Let us look at the schools more closely.

#1. Eastern Virginia Medical School

Eastern Virginia Medical School is one of the top schools with PA schools in Virginia. The school over the years has provided thorough training for students pursuing careers as Physician Assistants.

The missionof the EVMS Physician Assistant program is to prepare students to provide healthcare in a broad range of medical settings by training them in the medical arts and sciences in an inclusive, multicultural environment dedicated to the delivery of patient-centered care.

The program seeks to foster a strong commitment to clinical and community partnerships. The University provides one of the most rigorous PA schools in Virginia for students and the program usually lasts between 2 to 3 years.

The overall goal of the PA program is to raise and prepare graduates to provide quality healthcare and to nurture their service as capable leaders in clinical, research, and community service environments.

Eastern Virginia Medical School Physician Assistant program is accredited by ARC-PA.

#2. Emory & Henry College

E and H College provides one of the best PA schools in Virginia.

The E&H MPAS Program is a fully-accredited program. Graduates are eligible to sit for their national boards, known as the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE) and, upon passing, are eligible for state licensure and credentialing.

The program also places emphasis on wellness promotion and disease prevention for the individual patient and the community.

The Physician Assistant Program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Take a quick flight to the school.

#3. James Madison University

This is another accredited PA school in Virginia where you should consider taking your PA training.

Among all the schools offering PA training, the PA Program at JMU is outstanding. The reason is that it accepts no more than 32 students every year.  This relatively small size allows students a great deal of access to faculty and provides the faculty with ample opportunity to work directly with students.

The school has the aim to provide educational opportunities for students to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to function as primary care physician assistants, serving the medical needs of the Commonwealth of Virginia and society at large.

The Physician Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be September 2026.  

Take a quick flight to the school.

#4. Jefferson College of Health Sciences

Jefferson College of Health Sciences is one of the best PA programs in Virginia.

The Jefferson College of Health Science’s Physician Assistant Department is bent on training and raising top-notch Physician Assistants who will merge professionalism with empathy to better the health of the VA community.

The Physician Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

Take a quick flight to the school.

#5. Mary Baldwin University

Mary Baldwin University is another school on the list of best PA schools in Virginia.

The mission of the MSPA Program at Mary Baldwin University is to academically and clinically prepare students for PA practice as compassionate, effective, qualified clinicians able to serve in a variety of medical specialty areas and settings in collaboration with licensed physicians.

The Physician Assistant Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

Take a quick flight to the school.

#6. Shenandoah University

Shenandoah University is one of the best PA schools that provides one of the best PA programs in Virginia.

Shenandoah’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies is a comprehensive graduate entry-level professional program that prepares you for primary care practice. The program emphasizes service to medically underserved populations and a team approach to the delivery of health care.

U.S. News & World Report ranks the Shenandoah University PA Program in the top 25 in the nation. The school is the youngest program in this category and the only Virginia program at this level.

The Physician Assistant Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

Take a quick flight to the school.

#7. South University

South University provides one of the best PA programs in Virginia.

The MS in Physician Assistant program at South University’s Richmond campus is designed to provide students with effective learning opportunities that will prepare them to perform their expected competencies in an ethical, legal, safe, and effective manner upon graduation.

The program also places emphasis on wellness promotion and disease prevention for the individual patient and the community.

The Physician Assistant Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

Take a quick flight to the school.

#8. University of Lynchburg

The University of Lynchburg PA Medicine program is a 27-month curriculum conferring the Master of PA Medicine (MPAM) degree.

Students at University of Lynchburg will be mentored in leadership to provide opportunities for professional growth within their careers and foster the advancement of the profession

The Physician Assistant Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

Take a quick flight to the school.

PA schools in Virginia without GRE

GRE has been the nightmare of most students desiring to pursue a career as Physician Assistants. This is because of how rigorous the exam is.

If you want to become a physician assistant but you don’t want to write the GRE, there are only two schools in the whole of Virginia that does not require you to write or present GRE.

If you do not want to write a GRE before getting into the PA school, Shenandoah University and Eastern Virginia Medical School are apparently the only PA schools in Virginia that do not require a GRE.

PA programs in Virginia with low GPA

If you are looking to enroll in a PA school in Virginia but you are looking for a school with a low GPA requirement, it’s sad, the truth is that all the PA programs in Virginia require GPA above average.

The minimum GPA required to be admitted into Virginia PA schools is 3.0. This is quite above average. So you there is actually no PA program in Virginia that accepts a low GPA.

Frequently Asked Questions on Best PA programs in Virginia

How much does a PA make in Virginia?

The average salary for a Physician Assistant in Virginia is  $104,509. 

What is the job outlook of Physician Assistants in Virginia?

According to a report by the BLS, the employment of physician assistants is expected to grow by 31 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the demand for healthcare services grows, physician assistants will be needed more to provide care to patients.

How much does a Virginia medical license cost?

The Virginia Medical Commission charges a non-refundable application processing fee of $116 plus the renewal fee of $379.

What is the average GPA for PA school applicants?

The lowest GPA to be considered for into pa schools in Virginia is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.


Pursuing a career as a physician assistant is a very demanding but lucrative one. You’ll get to spend so much time in school completing your training. It takes about 6 years without healthcare training while it takes 9 years plus with a healthcare training.

But is it really worth all the stress? I think it is worth all the stress and even more! An average salary of $104,509 isn’t just huge but promising that more will come. Additionally, you’ll get to work with the specialists in your chosen specialty.



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