Why This Matters


    O*NET data shows that most employers want applicants to have post-baccalaureate education. Half require a master’s degree, and 15% require a professional degree.

  • 12,000 WORKERS NEEDED BY 2029

    With the increasing need to improve critical care and access to critical care, physician assistants are seeing a job growth rate of 31%.


    While growing at a rate that’s more than seven times the national average, PAs make as much as $150,000 depending on the specialty and location.

Our Research

Becoming a physician assistant requires a master’s degree. They are medically trained professionals, like doctors, but can complete their education and get to work in a shorter period of time.

While there are many programs out there that claim to be the best, not all of them are properly accredited. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) standards ensure that physician assistants are properly educated and trained. Offices and hospitals will generally only consider those from an ARC-PA program, so it’s important to verify the school’s credentials.

  • 55 hours to write this article
  • 24 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 35 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Physician Assistant Master’s Programs

Best Online Physician Assistant Master’s Programs Badge
Intelligent Pick
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Best in the South
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Most Affordable
School of Health Sciences of Touro College
Best in the Northeast
Yale University
Best in the Midwest
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Best for Degree Completion
Pace University

What You Should Know About This Degree

The curriculum for a PA program is similar to that of a physician. One of the major differences is that they can work in different areas because they aren’t tied to one focus. The PA degree is often compared to the nursing master’s program, MSN. But unlike MSNs, PAs can write prescriptions and are more autonomous in providing a level of care similar to that of a physician.

Those who achieve the masters must also pass the PANCE licensing exam to become practicing physician assistants.

PAs help doctors improve the quality of their care. They can also help doctors transition to a more managerial role, as doctors won’t need to interact with patients as frequently when a PA is handling those responsibilities.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online physician assistant master’s programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Physician assistants need a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and at least one year of experience through eligible work or volunteering. Once they’ve fulfilled this requirement, they can apply to a master’s program.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Most accredited online PA programs require a minimum of 12 months to complete and can take up to five years part-time. On average, programs take between two to three years to complete. PA students are also required to complete clinical rotations that prepare them for the profession.

Each program is different, so when looking at a PA master’s program, ensure that it is ARC-PA accredited. You should also submit a FAFSA application and apply for any available scholarships and grants.