University of the Pacific will open its doors to the first class of Master of Physician Assistant Studies students on Jan. 4.

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University of the Pacific’s Physician Assistant Studies Program earns accreditation

Sacramento graduate program will help increase patient access to health care
Oct 6, 2016

University of the Pacific announced today that its new Master of Physician Assistant Studies program has earned national provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, an important milestone as the Sacramento-based program prepares to welcome its inaugural class of 45 students in January 2017.

PAs are nationally certified, state-licensed medical professionals who practice as members of health care teams with physicians and other providers. Within the physician-PA relationship, PAs make clinical decisions and provide a broad range of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and health maintenance services.

The review commission, a national organization charged with ensuring the highest standards for PA education, awarded "accreditation-provisional" status to Pacific's new program.

"University of the Pacific's new PA program will prepare students for meaningful careers that will contribute to the health of our region," said Mark Christiansen, the program's founding director.  "It will be a great addition to the already well known and respected graduate and professional health programs that are offered by University of the Pacific across its three campuses in Stockton, San Francisco and Sacramento."

Pacific's 27-month PA program will prepare students for what U.S. News & World Report ranks as the No. 5 best job in America. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 30 percent growth in demand for the profession through 2024.

Pacific received more than 2,000 applications for the 45 seats in the first class, yielding a pool of exceptional students. Classes will begin on Jan. 5, 2017, at Pacific's Sacramento campus at 3200 Fifth Ave. in the city's Oak Park neighborhood. The first students will graduate in April 2019, becoming eligible to sit for the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants board exam, which allows successful candidates to practice as a PA in any state and some foreign countries.

The new PA program becomes one of just five accredited graduate programs for physician assistant studies in Northern California and one of 12 statewide.

University of the Pacific has long been committed to offering health care education programs that serve California's needs. These include Pacific's acclaimed Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco and Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Stockton.

In 2014, the university launched Northern California's first audiology doctoral program and the Bay Area's only music therapy program, both based at Pacific's San Francisco campus. Pacific also educates speech-language pathologists, physical therapists, and dental hygienists.

The PA program will be one of 11 new graduate programs offered at University of the Pacific's Sacramento Campus.

About accreditation-provisional status

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the University of the Pacific Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program's ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

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