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Best Physician Assistant Programs in Florida – 2023


Want a healthcare-related occupation in the Sunshine State with a high salary and practically limitless employment opportunities? As a graduate of one of the PA schools in Florida, demand for your services is expected to increase by a whopping 43 percent over the next 10 years, and you’ll earn a salary of $104,810 a year on average. You’ll complete your PA education in 23 to 28 months. After you graduate, you can work in a variety of practice settings, including hospitals, clinics, and outpatient care centers. Alternatively, you can pursue additional training focusing on cardiology, emergency room medicine, pediatrics, or other specialties. Find out more by reading about the 13 best physician assistant schools in Florida for 2023.


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FOLLOWING ARE THE 13 BEST PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT PROGRAMS IN FLORIDA FOR 2023


1) University of Florida – Gainesville


The University of Florida is one of the best physician assistant programs in Florida that over the years has proudly produced more than 2,500 PA graduates who have been committed to high-quality and compassionate patient care. The college not only ranks among the top PA programs in the state but also in the nation according to the U.S. News & World Report. Its PA program which is offered by the College of Medicine offers ample opportunities to collaborate with students and faculty from medicine. This enriching environment within the UF Health Center is a place that bustles with innovative research and excellent healthcare education. Through rigorous training in theoretical concepts and clinicals, its graduates not only excel on the certification exam with an impressive pass rate of almost 100% but also play a significant role in improving the health of Floridians.

Program Details: This physician assistant program in Florida spans 24 months of full-time study. The program is an 80-credit coursework that does not award any transfer credit for your previous education or experience. The first-year entails completing didactic courses in anatomy, medical communications, behavioral & community medicine, human physiology, introduction to medicine, pharmacotherapeutics, and physical diagnosis. You also learn about clinical procedures, EKG, patient evaluation, and evidence-based medicine. The second year of clinicals includes 36 credits in clinical rotations and 4 in a seminar. While the rotations take you through training in all specialties and sub-specialties at various sites across Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando, Pensacola, and Tampa. The college also requires you to complete at least one clinical experience in a rural setting. To graduate, you must complete all the didactic courses with a minimum grade of C. Towards the end of your clinical training, you complete a capstone project which is also the culminating experience of the program.

Admission Requirements: To qualify for admission you must have an undergraduate degree in any field and an overall science GPA of at least 3.0. The college also requires you to have completed pre-requisite courses in human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, general chemistry, statistics & medical terminology. It is also highly recommended that you complete at least 2000 hours of healthcare experience.


2) Nova Southeastern University - Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, and Orlando

Programs Offered: Bachelor’s and Master of PA, MMS in PA, and PA/MPH


Whether you are a high school graduate or someone with a baccalaureate degree, if you are searching for one of the best physician assistant schools in Florida that will help shape your career as a physician assistant, then you must look no further than Nova Southeastern University. Here, you can enroll in any of the three PA programs, based on your academic background and career goals. So, you can enter either into its combined Bachelor’s and Master of PA, or MMS in PA, both of which lead to a master’s degree in Physician Assistant studies, or choose the dual degree of PA/MPH that makes you a physician assistant proficient in the knowledge of public health. Regardless of the program, the limitless learning possibilities that you are offered in this nationally recognized institution will not only make a difference to your career graph but also to the lives of the patients you treat. With an experience of 25 years, the college has built upon a PA curriculum that is relevant and future-ready. A highly accomplished faculty, a conducive learning environment, coursework that includes POCUS, and four campus locations to choose from are some of the reasons that make these three physician assistant programs in Florida a rather popular choice.

Bachelor’s and Master of PA Program Details: The bachelor’s & masters of PA dual admission program offers two degrees of an undergraduate in any major and a Master of Medical Science (M.M.S.), starting with four years of baccalaureate study followed by 2 years and 3 months of master’s level courses in Physician Assistant studies. The advantage of this dual admission program is that post completion of your undergraduate studies you will have a seat reserved for the PA master’s program, provided you fulfill the eligibility criteria. To enter the PA program, you must earn 120 baccalaureate credits in any discipline.

MMS in PA Program Details: On the other hand, if you already have a bachelor’s degree in any field, you can directly enter the M.M.S., upon completion of which you will be able to start a career as a certified physician assistant in Florida. This program requires you to complete 144 credits that take almost 27 months of full-time study. You can pursue this program at any of the four campuses of the college. During your first year, you complete didactic courses, after which you complete another 12 months of clinical rotations. In addition to learning concepts in anatomy, physiology, physical diagnosis, biomedical principles, clinical pathophysiology, microbiology, legal & ethical issues, clinical laboratory medicine, and electrocardiography, the program also teaches you the fundamentals of medical imaging. Also, you will be educated on complementary medicine & nutrition, life support procedures, clinical genetics, and health promotion & disease prevention. During the second year, you will complete seven core and three elective rotations in various specialties and sub-specialties.

PA/MPH Program Details: If you aspire to combine the expertise of Physician Assistant studies with that of public health courses, then this PA/MPH dual degree will be rather suitable. By completing this dual degree, you will be able to influence better health care by effectively using evidence-based medical knowledge and collaborating with an interdisciplinary healthcare team. Because you are combining two degrees into one program, you can complete it within three years as against the four years if taken as standalone degrees. Upon graduation, you can pursue various positions such as that of a healthcare manager, community-based researcher, and health care instructor.


3) Barry University – Miami


Do you see yourself as a team player who is ready to embrace the various challenges of direct patient care? Are you a great communicator who also loves to help people? If your answer is yes to both these questions, then you must certainly consider a career as a physician assistant that is not only financially rewarding but also personally fulfilling. To kickstart this in-demand health career the first step should be to enroll in one of the best physician assistant programs in Florida. Barry University’s PA program trains you for this role by preparing you for the various challenges of providing healthcare to the state’s diverse population. Here, you can pursue this degree, either at the Miami campus or at St. Petersburg College’s Pinellas Park campus. Regardless of the location of enrolling, you will graduate with exceptional skills in collaborative medicine, evidence-based practice, and cultural competence to meet the state’s healthcare needs, emphasizing the underserved and vulnerable areas.

Program Details: A program that boasts of producing caring and proficient physician assistants, Barry’s PA program includes a 40-hour Immersion in Medical Spanish so that you can effectively interact with patients who speak very little English. Also, with the college’s strong community and organizational partnerships, here you are provided with clinical experiences in diverse communities, including the underserved and vulnerable populations. To become a physician assistant in Florida, you must complete the 128-credit coursework that takes you through 12 months of didactic courses, followed by 12 months of clinical rotations. The didactic courses make you adept in physiology, clinical microbiology & infectious diseases, anatomy, human genetics, human behaviors & psychiatry, pathophysiology, physical diagnosis, and general radiology. You will also master concepts in research in community health, surgical principles, and emergency medicine. Thereafter you go through eight rotations of six weeks each in various specialties.

Admission Requirements: To be considered for this physician assistant program in Florida, you must have a bachelor’s degree in any major with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Also, you need to have completed pre-requite courses and preferably have prior healthcare experience. Additionally, the college requires you to submit the GRE score and three letters of recommendation.


4) South University, Tampa


If you ever thought of entering healthcare but somehow haven’t been able to do so, now, is the time to make an entry into this field and what better than a physician assistant, considering the demand for PAs is growing by over 30% from 2020 to 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To kickstart a career as a physician assistant you must consider enrolling in one of the best physician assistant programs in Florida, such as South University’s PA program that makes an impact not only on your professional career but also on your personal life. The college accepts a diverse group of students, thereby creating an environment of cultural richness and diversity. Here, through rigorous didactic and clinical training you will develop exceptional professional skills in interpersonal communication, clinical reasoning, problem-solving and evidence-based medicine.

Program Details: This physician assistant program in Florida which leads to a Master of Science in Physician Assistant requires completing a total of 174 credits, including 100 didactic and 74 clinical credits. While the didactic courses span 15 months, the clinical rotations take 12 months to complete. During the didactic phase, you learn about medical interviewing, physical assessment, medical anatomy & physiology, and diagnostic methods. The comprehensive coursework also educates you on epidemiology & biostatistics, clinical procedures, and essentials of care in various medical specialties. When you enter the clinical phase, you will complete rotations in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, surgery, women’s health, and behavioral medicine. Also, the program includes an elective clinical rotation, which you can complete in a sub-specialty based on your area of interest.

Admission Requirements: The college requires you to fulfill certain requirements to be considered for admission. Highly competitive in its admission process, South University expects you to have an accredited bachelor’s degree with an overall GPA of 3.0, in addition to completion of courses in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Also, you must submit your GRE scores and three letters of reference.


5) Florida International University – Miami


As a certified physician assistant in Florida, you will work with other healthcare professionals to improve the health of the state’s diverse patient population. As someone with a keen desire to enter this promising health field, Florida International University grooms you with interdisciplinary knowledge and skills to successfully practice as a PA anywhere in the nation. Counted among the best physician assistant schools in Florida, here, you will rub shoulders with students from other healthcare disciplines, collaborating with them to improve healthcare delivery. In fact, the college sets the stage for fruitful learning by providing an environment of diversity, clinical innovation, and research.

Program Details: As a graduate of one of the sought-after physician assistant programs in Florida, you will be prepared to explore job opportunities in any type of healthcare environment. During the 27 months of your training, you will complete the first 15 months of taking didactic courses, while going through clinical rotations in the final 12 months of the program. During the didactic phase, you will master concepts in anatomy, physiology, medical microbiology & infectious disease, pharmacology, clinical medicine, human behavior, and clinical application of evidence-based practice. Thereafter, you enter the clinical phase where you start with rotations, each being four to five weeks in length. In addition to the core rotations in family, internal & emergency medicine, surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, and psychiatry. This phase also includes one elective rotation and a summative evaluation as the final culminating experience of this Master in Physician Assistant Studies program.

Admission Requirements: To cut through this highly competitive admission process where only 45 students are admitted into each class, you must demonstrate promise and proficiency in several areas including your past education, clinical experience letters of recommendation, and personal goals statement. To put it simply, you must have a baccalaureate degree in any field with a minimum GPA of 3.0, a GRE score, completion of pre-requisite courses, direct patient care & shadowing experience, recommendation letters, and completion of CASper’s online test.


6) Keiser University - Fort Lauderdale


Well, you can be from any discipline, with Keiser University’s intensive clinical training in rural and urban healthcare, you will be able to impact lives across all sections of the population. To become a physician assistant in Florida or anywhere in the nation, in addition to carrying a caring and compassionate demeanor, you must be able to integrate medical knowledge into clinical practice and collaborate with other members of an interprofessional team to promote health & prevent diseases. To help you achieve these learning outcomes, Keiser’s faculty takes you through rigorous didactic lectures, case studies, and state-of-art simulated learning sessions. The PA program, being consistent with the university’s policy of “student first” leaves no stone unturned to ensure your academic and career goals are well supported from the time you enroll.

Program Details: This physician assistant program in Florida that leads to a Master of Science Physician Assistant degree spans 24 months and comprises 12 months each, of didactic and clinical training. The first semester of the first year starts with an introduction to the PA profession, followed by courses in physical diagnosis, physiology, anatomy, healthcare research, microbiology, ethical & legal medicine, and psychosocial issues in healthcare. During the remaining two semesters of the first year of didactic training, you will learn clinical pharmacology, principles of EKG, basics of diagnostic methods, physical diagnosis, and health promotion & disease prevention. During the second year of the program, you will go through seven core and two elective clinical rotations. The rotations provide you with hands-on experiences in medical areas of family medicine, internal medicine, women’s health, surgery, emergency medicine, pediatrics, and psychiatry. Also, graduation requires you to complete a certification exam review and summative evaluation to earn a total of 127.5 credits of the coursework.

Admission Requirements: Keiser enrolls students once a year in January. To qualify, although a baccalaureate degree in any discipline is acceptable, students with a healthcare or science-specific degree will be preferred. Other admission requirements include at least 20 hours of shadowing experience, a minimum 100 hours of healthcare experience, and three letters of recommendation. Also, you must complete all the pre-requisite courses before matriculation.


7) The University of Tampa – Tampa


If you are shortlisting physician assistant programs in Florida that provide clinical training within the Tampa area, then you may want to learn about the PA program offered by the University of Tampa. Not only do you complete all your rotations within the Tampa Bay Area but with its beautiful location, you will also enjoy sunny beaches and the lively vibe of music, arts, and sports all through the year. Besides, the college boasts of a small student to faculty ratio and personalized attention during clinical training sessions. Here, apart from diverse clinical experiences, the college provides ample practice in its simulation lab that allows honing of skills on high fidelity simulators and standardized patients. Upon graduation, you will become a physician assistant in Florida who is prepared to offer high-quality patient care in various types of healthcare environments across the nation.

Program Details: If you are driven by health equity then through this PA program you will be able to improve health for all sections of the patient population. This is a 27-month program that leads to a Master of Physician Assistant Medicine degree. The coursework comprises 112 credits in didactic and clinical training. Here, your training is guided by principles of critical thinking, experiential learning, collaborative and communication skills. From all the physician assistant programs in Florida, this program stands out for its excellent curriculum that has been designed by a medical faculty, comprising physicians, pharmacologists, health scientists, anatomists, physiologists, and physician assistants. To start with, the program takes you through four semesters of theoretical concepts followed by three semesters of clinical rotations. It focuses on key competencies of a physician assistant including medical knowledge, interpersonal communication skills patient care, systems-based practice, interprofessional collaboration, professionalism, and personal & professional development.

Admission Requirements: To qualify for admission you must fulfill the minimum requirement that is an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Additionally, to earn preferential points the college recommends fulfilling at least any two factors from either, direct patient care, research hours, community service, leadership activities, a graduate degree in any area, being a first-generation student, military personnel, or an alumnus of the university, the more the factors you fulfill, the higher are your chances of admission.


8) Miami-Dade College – Miami


One of the well-known physician assistant programs in Florida, Miami-Dade College offers a unique combination of Physician Assistant Studies with a Masters of Health Science degree through an affiliation with Nova Southeastern University. With two professional credentials, you will not only benefit by staying leaps ahead of your competitors but by applying scientific & systematic understanding to direct patient care you will also play an impactful role in optimizing health outcomes. As a graduate of this program, you will be culturally competent and well prepared to practice in interdisciplinary healthcare environments.

Program Details: This PA and the Masters of Health Science dual degree program is a 27-month long coursework that is a collaborative effort between Miami Dade College and Nova Southeastern University. The program is demanding in terms of time and academic rigor and hence it is required of you to maximize your time management skills. Throughout the program, you will concurrently take online courses from Nova. As such, each term you will take one online course, completing a total of eight online courses from Nova over eight terms. This dual degree requires you to complete a total of 130 credits in didactic and clinical training. Through this coursework, you will be educated on medical documentation, physical diagnosis, anatomy & physiology, behavioral & community medicine, EKG, pharmacology, diagnostic imaging, genetics, pharmacotherapeutics, surgical problems & procedures, and medical documentation in health care. Furthermore, the courses through Nova teach you about epidemiology & biostatistics, research methods, ethical issues in health care, U.S. health care policy, and current trends & cultural issues in healthcare. As there are hardly any physician assistant programs in Florida that offer this unique combination, upon graduating, you will have an edge over others in securing leadership roles, besides landing lucrative jobs in primary care as a certified physician assistant in Florida.

Admission Requirements: To qualify for admission into this dual degree you must fulfill the basic admission requirement of both, MDC and Nova, which is a bachelor’s degree in any discipline with mandatory prior healthcare experience. Additionally, MDC requires you to have at least 50 hours of shadowing experience along with the completion of pre-requisite courses. Furthermore, if you are from the military or a resident of the Miami Dade, MDC provides your application with preferential points.


9) Florida State University – Tallahassee


Florida State University’s PA program offered through its College of Medicine has been synonymous with training patient-centric physician assistants. Program graduates have actively met the needs of the community by offering compassionate care to patients, especially focusing on the rural, underserved, and geriatric populations. If you are keen on entering one of the best physician assistant programs in Florida that integrates the art and science of medicine into its PA curriculum then here, you can expect to receive a well-rounded education that is grounded in service and innovation. Moreover, the college’s supportive environment takes you through this challenging coursework that is centered on biomedical sciences, simulation learning, and procedural skills.

Program Details: This physician assistant program in Florida offers a 27-month Master of Science in Physician Assistant Practice degree that requires completing a total of 111 credits. The program is divided into two phases a didactic and clinical. The didactic phase which goes on until the fall semester of the second year takes you through evidence-based practice, essentials of PA practice, pharmacology, foundations of clinical nutrition, clinical medicine, patient assessment, and radiographic anatomy. You also master behavioral & mental health, health promotion & disease prevention, general surgery, emergency medicine, pediatric medicine, and women’s health. The clinical phase which forms the second portion of the program, includes clinical clerkships in several specialties, in addition to professional development courses and an evidence-based capstone.

Admission Requirements: To apply to this program you must have a verified CASPA application along with submitting the university’s supplemental application. To qualify for admission, you must have an accredited bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, a GRE score, and all official transcripts of your previous education. Also, it is preferable that you have at least 500 hours of healthcare experience and submit three professional letters of recommendation to earn some brownies points for your application.


10) Gannon University-Ruskin - Ruskin


Are you looking out for physician assistant programs in Florida that offer some of the didactic coursework online? If so, your search may end with Gannon University-Ruskin’s PA program that provides you the convenience of online instructions along with traditional in-person classes. The college has played a significant role in meeting the growing healthcare needs of the state by producing several high-quality service-oriented physician assistants who are equipped to provide care for both, Florida’s elderly and young school-age children. The Ruskin campus where the program is offered, partners with several placement sites within the Ruskin community, including the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg where you can actively engage in service-learning.

Program Details: Like most other physician assistant schools in Florida, Gannon too takes you through didactic and clinical training, focusing mainly on clinicals during the final year of the program. The coursework comprises 91 credits and spans six semesters. The program starts in fall with an introductory course in physician assistant and progresses to theoretical concepts in anatomy & physical diagnosis, pharmacotherapeutics, behavioral medicine, pathophysiology, problem-based medicine, EKG, and current issues in the practice of a physician assistant. After taking didactic courses in various specialties, you enter the clinical phase where you complete rotations at various sites across the state. At the clinical sites, which include various healthcare institutions, you will practice professional skills under the supervision of an adjunct regional medical faculty. Towards the end of the program, you complete an elective clinical rotation and a clinical & professional capstone.

Admission Requirements: To be considered for admission you must have a baccalaureate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Also, you must complete all the pre-requisites with a GPA of 3.0 or above. Additionally, the college requires you to submit three professional references and complete an online CASPer test. Furthermore, you must also fulfill the requirement of having medical experience or shadowing hours of at least 30 hours.


11) Florida Gulf Coast University - Fort Myers


The healthcare field is rapidly growing and the demand for physician assistants is poised to increase, much more than most other occupations. If you are keen on entering this lucrative field, then the best way forward is to complete your education from one of the best accredited physician assistant programs in Florida that not only meets the high standards set by the accrediting agency but also make you eligible to take the national PA certification exam. Florida Gulf Coast University’s PA program is one such program that can kickstart your career as a certified & licensed physician assistant in Florida. The college’s graduates, equipped with evidence-based knowledge are committed to improving health by providing safe and quality patient care.

Program Details: This program starts with 15 months of didactic training, followed by 12 weeks of clinical rotations. After completing a total of 90 credits of the coursework, you will be conferred upon the Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree. The program starts in fall and takes you through four semesters of didactic courses that comprise 53 credits. During this phase, you will master concepts in physical diagnosis, medical communications, clinical medicine, human physiology, anatomy, pharmacology, legal & ethical issues, integrated clinical sciences, behavioral medicine, public health, and evidence-based medicine. The remaining 12 months of the program comprise clinical rotations and completion of a summative exam & capstone project. Each rotation is four weeks long, and apart from the core rotations in internal medicine, behavioral health, surgery, pediatrics, primary care, women’s health, and emergency medicine, you can complete three elective rotations in an area of your interest.

Admission Requirements: To start with, you must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Also, you are required to complete pre-requisite courses in biology, general chemistry & medical terminology with a minimum grade of C. Additionally, at least 250 hours of patient care is required. Also, 20 hours of shadowing experience along with the submission of three letters of recommendation is highly preferred to increase your odds of admission.


12) University of South Florida – Tampa


Listed among the best physician assistant schools in Florida, the PA program offered by the University of South Florida prepares you for evidence-based patient-care through intensive didactic lectures, simulation technology, and experiential learning. Here, through innovation and excellence, you will enhance interprofessional collaborative and critical thinking skills. Moreover, the college’s student population that comes from varied backgrounds creates an environment of diversity and cultural richness. Whether your goal is to achieve personal development & leadership or attain high standards of interprofessional physician practice, through this well-rounded curriculum you will be able to reach your goals and embark on a successful patient-care career.

Program Details: With this PA program you require competing 90 credits to earn a Master’s degree. Similar to most other physician assistant programs in Florida, the program includes one year of didactic training, followed by 12 months of clinical rotations. The program starts in the summer and takes you through courses in anatomy, pathophysiological basis of disease, clinical medicine, pharmacology, physical diagnosis, clinical diagnostic, biostatistics & epidemiology, cultural issues in healthcare, evidence-based medicine, and basic medical genetics. The second year of clinicals takes you through rotations in internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, family medicine, women’s health, emergency medicine, and behavioral & mental health. Also, you are required to complete an elective rotation and a capstone project before you finally graduate.

Admission Requirements: Whether you apply for this or any of the other physician assistant programs in Florida, the minimum requirement to apply is a baccalaureate degree in any discipline. Nonetheless here, besides, you also require a minimum GPA of 3.0, a GRE score, completion of pre-requisite courses, experience in direct patient care, and three letters of recommendation.


13) AdventHealth University – Orlando


As an aspiring physician assistant, enrolling in one of the well-known physician assistant programs in Florida will not only equip you with the required professional tools to enhance patient care but also keep you ahead of the competition as employers usually seek graduates with market-ready skills that can be immediately applied to any type of work environment. Well, AdventHealth University’s PA program can be on your shortlist as the college prepares graduates who are caring leaders with enhanced critical thinking skills, ready to offer the highest quality of patient care. The rigorous theoretical and practical training that you go through braces you up for the many challenges you face in handling real-world patient care scenarios. Here, to provide you with ample hands-on learning, the college’s 990 square feet PA lab serves as a perfect learning ground for you to master various clinical procedures in a non-threatening environment.

Program Details: At AdventHealth as a graduate of one of the best physician assistant programs in Florida, your education goes beyond the textbooks. The faculty who come with decades of experience ensure learning inside the classroom is well complemented with experiences outside the class. This holistic training leads to well-prepared, competent physician assistants who are committed to compassionate care and service. The program extends 27 months and comprising 63 credits in didactic training & 44 in clinical education. Some of the topics you learn include physical exam skills, pharmacology, gross anatomy, patient assessment, clinical medicine, pathophysiology, healthcare disparities, emergency medicine, medical procedures, and clinical research methods. The clinical rotations which start in the second year of the program take you through hands-on experiences in various specialties and also include an elective rotation to enable you to complete a practice experience in your area of interest.

Admission Requirements: Whether you have a baccalaureate degree or are currently pursuing one, to qualify for this program you must complete your undergraduate education with a minimum GPA of 3.0 before enrollment into the program. All official transcripts must be directly submitted through CASPA. Additionally, the college requires completion of pre-requisite courses, submission of a professional essay, and completion of the online CASPer test. Also, it is strongly recommended that you have healthcare experience or PA shadowing hours and letters of recommendation to enhance your chances of admission.

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Physician Assistant Schools in other States

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