Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies
For nearly a century, health care reformers have had a persistent goal: to serve more patients at less cost. The explosive growth in the number of physician assistants (PAs) over the last decade has put that goal within reach.
Physician assistants work to treat and prevent illness and injury under the supervision of medical doctors. The PAs order tests, prescribe medications, conduct exams, provide counsel on preventive care, and even assist in surgery. Today, more than 93,000 physician assistants are practicing medicine in the U.S. The number is projected to grow to 120,000 within a decade. It is the third fastest-growing occupation in the nation.
A Special Academic Program
Dominican’s Physician Assistant Studies Program aims to educate caring and skillful practitioners who seek to contribute to the public good by serving patients with wholehearted compassion and dedication. In the classroom and in clinical settings, you will prepare to play a vital role in positively transforming the way our nation provides health care. Our distinctive, relationship-centered approach to graduate education means you will gain not only professional skills but also a greater understanding of team dynamics, ethical issues and the unique needs of the individuals in your care.
Our program is designed to give you maximum professional flexibility—preparing you to thrive in fields as diverse as research, emergency medicine, women’s health, and surgery and its subspecialties. The program will provide you with the capacity to respond effectively to both current and emerging health care needs.
A Flourishing Profession
Today, physician assistants are key players in our society’s efforts to deliver high-quality health care to every person who needs it. Physician assistants work wherever doctors are found—and many places where they are not found, including underserved rural areas and urban neighborhoods.
Where will your training as a physician assistant take you? The options may surprise you. Physician assistants work in just about every medical setting. They are key contributors to the most advanced and distinguished health-care systems in the country, such as the Mayo Clinic. They work not only in general medicine but also in a wide array of specialties. Whatever your interests in the world of health care, your education as a physician assistant will prepare you to use your skills to benefit patients.
The Dominican Difference
Our Physician Assistant Studies Program reflects the university’s long-standing commitment to social justice, grounded in our Dominican Catholic tradition. You will be prepared to navigate the social, legal and ethical complexities of health care. You will gain a depth of understanding that goes far beyond the technical. You will become part of a welcoming community that is committed to educating a wide range of students including military veterans and members of groups traditionally underrepresented in health care.
Our approach to graduate education is based on the power of interpersonal relationships. We prize conversation, connections and listening. This approach provides a great way to prepare for the interpersonal subtleties of today’s health care. You will learn to communicate effectively with patients and to work collaboratively with today’s multidisciplinary health care teams.
A Comprehensive Curriculum
First-year students study anatomy, pharmacology, physiology, diagnostic methods, evidence-based medicine and other topics. Second-year students complete hospital and clinical rotations in surgery, pediatrics, internal medicine, emergency medicine and other specialty disciplines. Dominican students have access to the latest learning technologies, such as virtual dissection tables. They learn to apply medical informatics as a tool for improving patient outcomes.
Points to Consider
- Physician assistants begin practice after two years of professional school. The profession does not require a residency or an entrance test, such as the MCAT.
- Physician assistants carry out many duties once handled only by doctors. In today’s society, it is among the most rewarding, respected and necessary professions.
- The average starting salary of a physician assistant is $90,000 per year.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of physician assistant positions will grow by 31% by 2030.
- Dominican’s Physician Assistant Studies Program addresses not only an urgent social need but also conspicuous student demand.
- Dominican’s program is the only PA program in Illinois at a Catholic university, and one of only four in the nation at a Hispanic- Serving Institution. It offers students a new, distinctly humanistic approach to preparation for a rising profession.
- Each day as a physician assistant, you will be able to deliver high-quality health care that makes life better for others.
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Dominican University Physician Assistant Studies Program sponsored by Dominican 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 2030. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.
The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website.