Physician Assistant (PA) Program
112 Semester credit hours
24 Months (6 semesters)

Accreditation

George Fox University has applied for Accreditation-Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the PA (ARC-PA).

Format

In-person, full-time, heavy use of problem-based learning

Location

Newberg, Oregon

Application timeline

April 26 to Oct. 31, 2020 (rolling admissions)

*All stated financial information is subject to change.

Physician Assistant (PA) Program

George Fox University has proposed a new six-semester, 112-credit Physician Assistant (PA) program, which will award a master of medical science (MMSc) degree. The program will begin in January of 2021, pending successful regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and accreditation-provisional by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the PA.

Classes will be held in person at the university’s Newberg campus and affiliated clinic sites and the program will be full-time. The program seeks to develop well-informed, resilient and compassionate PAs who provide patient-centered medical care in diverse environments and aspires to transform healthcare for the benefit of people and their communities.

Education Concept

The George Fox PA program will deliver a problem-based learning (PBL) education concept. PBL curriculum is a learner-centered approach that empowers learners to conduct research, integrate theory and practice, and apply knowledge and skills to develop a viable solution to a defined problem. PBL supports critical thinking and lifelong learning, both key in the practice of medicine. 

  • PBL occurs in small group meetings (6 to 9 students to 1 faculty; 3 times a week) where discussions enable students to create conceptual models, helping explain the problem presented in the case.
  • As the students discover the limits of their knowledge, they identify learning issues (LIs) – essentially questions they cannot answer from their fund of knowledge.
  • Between each group meeting, learners research their learning issues and share results at the next meeting of the group. 

Go to the program's curriculum page for further details.

The PA Profession

PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illnesses, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. With thousands of hours of medical training, PAs are versatile and collaborative, practicing in every work setting and medical specialty.

Demographics

There are more than 131,000 PAs in the U.S., accounting for more than 400 million patient interactions per year. The profession is growing, and there are now more than 200 PA education programs nationwide.

Programs follow an allopathic physician model and average three years of graduate medical education (typically seven semesters; 27 continuous months (THREE ACADEMIC YEARS); 110 to 120 graduate semester hours).

PAs practice in every work setting and medical specialty.

Work Setting

  • Outpatient office or clinic (53.3 percent)
  • Hospitals (36.5 percent)
  • Urgent care centers (5.9 percent)
  • Other (4.3 percent)

Medical Specialty

  • Primary care (20.8 percent)
  • Internal medicine subspecialties (12.2 percent)
  • Pediatric subspecialties (1.4 percent)
  • Surgical subspecialties (27.4 percent)
  • Emergency medicine (9.4 percent)
  • Other (28.8 percent)

Professional Potential

In 2017, the PA profession was recognized by multiple sources as a highly sought-after job.

  • U.S. News and World Report rated the PA profession FIRST in its "Best Healthcare Jobs" list.
  • U.S. News and World Report rated the PA profession THIRD in its "Best 100 Jobs" list.
  • Forbes rated the PA profession as the SEVENTH "Highest Paying Jobs in America" list.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the PA profession is the FIFTH fastest-growing jobs in America.

Public Perception

A 2014 Harris Poll established high patient satisfaction in PA medical providers.

  • PAs are trusted healthcare providers (93 percent)
  • Having a PA makes it easier to get medical appointments (92 percent)
  • PAs improve the quality of healthcare (91 percent)

The Primary Care Shortage 

As of Jan. 1, 2014, the Health Resources and Services Administration designated more than 6,000 primary-care shortage areas where the physician-to-population ratio of 1:3,500 or more existed. HRSA estimates it would take an additional 8,000 primary care physicians to eliminate this current need. The ratio used by HRSA, however, is much higher than the 1:1067 ratio suggested by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which pushes the primary care provider need closer to 24,000.

The present shortage has been predicted for some time. In fact, in 2006, the American College of Physicians stated that primary care was on the verge of collapse and unable to keep up with population growth, people with chronic disease, and long-term care of the aging. A 2012 study by Petterson, et al., estimates that 52,000 additional primary care providers will be needed by 2025.

In addition, the provider shift from rural to urban practice settings has widened the gap between healthcare demand and access to care. For example, in 2016, 1 in 5 Oregon citizens lived in rural areas (AAPA, 2018). Unfortunately, only 16 percent of practicing PAs work in a rural community. Of these, only 39 percent worked in primary care settings (6 percent of practicing PAs). This is hardly enough given the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which generated 725,000 new enrollees and an additional 1.39 million primary care visits per year.

As the paradigm of healthcare shifts, new models of care – like the patient-centered medical home – are ideally suited for the PA provider, who has a generalist education, team-based practice, and strong focus on wellness and prevention (AAPA, 2014).

Questions?