Welcome

Start a career in a rewarding, high-demand sector of health care: join the Northern Arizona University Physician Assistant (PA) program, Arizona’s only public university PA program. You will study in the state-of-the-art Phoenix Biomedical Campus, a 30-acre medical and bioscience campus in downtown Phoenix. The program operates in collaboration with the University of Arizona - Phoenix College of Medicine.

Our program offers:

Upon completion of the program, you will graduate with a master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).


We offer real-world experience

The program’s location in Phoenix will offer you real-world education in well-established hospitals and clinics, and in cooperation with other public university colleges of medicine, nursing, public health, and pharmacy.

Compassion, diversity, and quality—our mission shapes your education

The mission of the Northern Arizona University Physician Assistant Program is to recruit individuals of the highest possible quality from diverse backgrounds and life experiences to the profession.

We will equip you with clinical and professional knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide high-quality, compassionate medical care for the people of Arizona.

In addition, the Physician Assistant Program strives to meet the following goals:

  • provide a broad, interdisciplinary medical education that will allow you to adapt to the changing healthcare environment, with a focus on evidence-based practice
  • prepare graduates to practice in diverse settings throughout Arizona, with special emphasis on rural communities and other underserved communities utilize technology and innovative strategies to effectively and efficiently equip you with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to be a competent healthcare provider and life-long learner
  • develop a tradition of excellence in preparing you to successfully complete the national certification examination and to perform among the top programs in the country
  • develop faculty and staff members with a commitment to excellence in teaching, service, and scholarship

Advocates for military veterans

Military corpsmen have played a key role in the creation of the physician assistant profession and this program honors that role in its support of veteran applicants and enrollees. The program provides military veterans a cost-effective transition from military service into a new service career as physician assistants. NAU’s Office of Military and Veteran Affairs and Financial Aid Office offer assistance with military education benefits, loans, and scholarships.

Accreditation

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation -Continued status to the Northern Arizona University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Northern Arizona University. 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 2025. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

Our success in meeting our goals

Of our first graduating class of 2014 (N=24), 96% took their first job in Arizona, 65% took their first job in primary care, and 52% took their first job in a medically underserved or rural community.  In our second graduating class of 2015 (N=24), 88% took their first job in Arizona, 54% took their first job in primary care, and 46% took their first job in a medically underserved or rural community. In the most recent academic year, 55% of the students’ clinical rotations were completed in a rural or medically underserved practice in Arizona.  Combining data from the first two classes of graduates (N=48), 92% took their first job in Arizona, 58% took their first job in primary care, and 48% took their first job in a medically underserved or rural community.  Almost 70% of our current first and second year classes consist of individuals who are economically or  educationally disadvantaged, first generation college attendees, military veterans, or are in an under-represented minority.  The 24 graduates of the Class of 2014 attained a 96% first time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).  The 24 graduates of the Class of 2015 also attained a 96% first time pass rate on the PANCE, and all 48 NAU PA program graduates have passed the PANCE and are practicing as PAs.  Both graduating cohorts’ first time PANCE results equaled or exceed the national average.  The NAU PA Program had an attrition rate of 4% (1 student) in each of the first two graduating cohorts, less than half of the national average deceleration/withdrawal/dismissal rate of 9.2%.

Graduate performance on certification exam (PANCE)

The NAU PA Program graduated its first cohort in August 2014. The 24 graduates of the Class of 2014 attained a 96% first time pass rate on the PANCE, and the 24 graduates of the Class of 2015 also attained a 96% first time pass rate. All graduates of both the Class of 2014 and 2015 have subsequently passed the PANCE and are practicing as PAs. The Class of 2016 attained a 100% first time pass rate on the PANCE. The Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination Five Year First Time Taker Summary Report for the Norther Arizona University PA Program can be found here.