If you have always wanted to be a physician assistant, this article will guide you on how to begin this journey. Also, you will have the list of the 13 best physician assistant schools in Chicago in 2023 to obtain a physician assistant degree.
A physician assistant major is one of the necessary majors to go for. It entails integrating ethical and moral behavior into the practice of medicine; creating and establishing problem-solving and decision-making skills; recognize and providing health improvement and disease preventive measures to patients.
If you are compassionate and attentive and have a desire to help people, this course might be for you. Also, Chicago is a very populous city, and studying a significant course like this in such a city is great. This is because jobs will come easily after graduation.
Also, if you have always desired to be in this field and you do not know the schools to choose from, this article will be addressing that. Meanwhile, we will list the 13 best physician assistant schools in Chicago in 2023.
Table of contents
- Who is a Physician Assistant?
- Why You Should Study in the Best Physician Assistant Schools in Chicago
- How Can You Become a Physician Assistant in Chicago?
- How Much Do Physician Assistants in Chicago Earn?
- What Career Opportunities Are Available for Physician Assistants in Chicago?
- Best Physician Assistant PA Schools in Chicago
- Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago
- Dominican University, River Forest, IL
- Rush University, Chicago
- Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
- Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine, North Chicago
- Midwestern University, Downers Grove
- City Colleges of Chicago – Malcolm X College
- College of Health Sciences, Midwestern University – Downers Grove
- University of St. Francis
Who is a Physician Assistant?
Basically, a physician assistant is a healthcare specialist who is licensed to work in practically all areas of medicine which includes family medicine, primary care, surgery, psychiatry, and emergency medicine, but all under the supervision of a licensed doctor (an MD) or osteopathic physician (a DO). A physician assistant is mostly involved with preventing and caring for human injuries and illnesses by providing healthcare services.
However, physician assistant roles and distinct responsibilities solely depend on their specialty or the type of medical practice they are working in. This is the reason it is important to ensure the specialty you are going for is your interest when selecting a program in this field.
Meanwhile, a physician assistant can only practice after obtaining a master’s degree from an accredited program and state licensure to practice. This entails passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). This exam once taken and passed qualifies the physician assistant to use the credential ‘Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C).
Why You Should Study in the Best Physician Assistant Schools in Chicago
You should study physician assistant in Chicago because Chicago is a populous city where the need for professionals in this field is high. As a result, getting a job after graduation comes easy.
Also, the pay is high as these professionals are about the highest earners in the US. Another reason you should consider going for a physician assistant degree in Chicago is that the program duration is usually less than that of physicians. Assistant physician programs in Chicago last for a minimum of 24 months and a maximum of three years.
How Can You Become a Physician Assistant in Chicago?
Basically, the guidelines and general requirements here will be on how to become a physician assistant in Illinois. This is because Chicago is a city in Illinois and has no separate requirements on its own.
Having gotten to this part of the article, we hope you have been able to understand what you have to deal with in becoming a practicing physician assistant. You perform regular checkups and physical exams on patients. Also, you will have to cater to almost 60,000 victims who suffer from these top four causes of mortality in Illinois:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory diseases
Meanwhile, here are the steps on how to become a physician assistant in Chicago:
Choose Accredited Illinois Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure
When searching for great physician assistant programs to apply for, you need to keep both accreditation and admission requirements in mind. The reason for this is that physician assistant programs are at graduate levels and so, you are required to have a bachelor’s degree in any science or psychology subject. However, undergraduate minors or majors in the sciences or psychology can also work as they are part of the general requirements for most physician assistant programs.
Meanwhile, here is the easiest bachelor’s degree to facilitate a faster transfer into a physician assistant graduate program:
- Medical Assistant
Even though admission requirements may vary across different physician assistant programs, the general requirements are a high GRE score and some clinical experience.
Meanwhile, international applicants who have obtained their bachelor’s/master’s degrees outside the US must ensure they have a 30 credit hour of coursework in the US before applying for physician assistant programs along with their TOEFL scores.
In searching for accredited programs, ensure you find the ones authorized by the Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation of the American Medical Association. Also, these programs must be accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).
National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)-Certification
Register for your PANCE about 90 days before graduating from your physician assistant program in Chicago. The exam primarily covers the main organ systems of the human body and their related disorders. You can get exam questions for $35 and $475 to register for this exam.
Basically, successfully taking this exam qualifies you for licensing. Also, you earn the NCCPA certificate known as the Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C) credential.
The process involves sending your exam result directly to the Illinois Division of Professional Regulation as a part of your license application.
Licensure with the Illinois Division of Professional Regulation
You have successfully written and passed the PANCE, now, it is time to register for a license. The application for a license includes a $50 application fee, a certification of graduation from an accredited physician assistant academic program, and a PA-C certificate from the NCCPA.
Now, one requirement applied to only Illinois is establishing a partnership with a physician before you can begin to practice. How this is done is, the physician notifies the Division of Professional Regulation by registering a Notification of Employment in addition to notice if any prescription the physician assistant is enacted to write
Maintain the Illinois physician assistant License
Now, maintaining your license is the next thing to do. Your first license is only valid for three years, thereafter, it expires on March 31st of even-numbered years. That is every two years.
However, there’s a renewal option and the process is to post relevant forms about three months before your license expires, to the Division of Professional Regulation’s website. The renewal fee costs $40 per year as of the moment of writing this.
Meanwhile, as you practice and grow in the field, you may want to join some professional organizations in the following fields:
- Association of Family Practice Physician Assistants
- American Academy of Physician Assistants
- Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants
How Much Do Physician Assistants in Chicago Earn?
As mentioned earlier, physician assistants are one of the highest-earning professionals in the US. Also, they are one of the highest earners in the medical industry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 83,600 practicing physician assistants in Chicago earned an average of $86,410 in 2010. And according to physicianassistantedu.org, the average annual Chicago salary is approximately $84,440.
However, while the average annual salary for a physician assistant is quite high, a specialist’s medical specialty, experience, and location tend to increase the salary.
What Career Opportunities Are Available for Physician Assistants in Chicago?
Below are the career opportunities available for students looking to go for the physician assistant degree in the best physician assistant schools in Chicago:
- Physician Solo or Group Office
- Industrial Work Sites
- Community Health Center
- Surgical Center
- Indian Health Service
- Nursing Home
- Public Health
- Long-Term Care Facility
- Federal Government
- Home Health Agency
- Medical Staffing Agency
- International Medicine
- Health Care Management
- Clinical Research
- Medical Education
- Medical Sales
Best Physician Assistant PA Schools in Chicago
There are many physician assistant schools in Chicago you can study and be guaranteed of getting a license after passing PANCE. Here’s our list of the 13 best physician assistant schools in Chicago.
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago
Offered and sponsored by the Feinberg School of Medicine, the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is one of the best physician assistant schools in Chicago. It was re-accredited in March 2013. The program was primarily focused on preparing physician assistants to provide compassionate, high-quality, and patient-centered care.
This program runs its programs for a period of 25 months with the clinical unit of the program consisting of seven, five-week rotations.
Also, the tuition for this physician assistant program is $49,629 per year. Meanwhile, this fee does not include other expenses for this program. The school has a 100% pass rate for first-time PANCE exam takes and their next evaluation begins by March 2023.
Dominican University, River Forest, IL
The Dominican University is also one of the best physician assistant schools in Chicago primarily aimed at educating skillful and compassionate practitioners seeking to positively impact the public by serving and caring for patients with full dedication.
For this program, the first-year students are required to study anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, evidence-based medicine, and some other topics required for the physician assistant course. Meanwhile, the second-year students focus on completing hospital and clinical rotations in internal medicine, surgery, emergency medicine, pediatrics, and some other specialty disciplines.
This program runs for 24 months and the tuition fee costs $99,890. Also, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted this program Accreditation-Provisional status.
Rush University, Chicago
Rush University is one of the best physician assistant schools in Chicago. According to the US News and World Report, its physician assistant program is ranked as one of the best in the nation. Also, it offers a 30-month curriculum to offer exceptional training experiences to the students.
Out of the 30 months, the first 12 involve lectures, small group discussions, and case-based training to prepare the students for clinical rotations. Likewise, the clinical training provides students with opportunities in various clinical practice areas and also, in your focus area.
The cost of pursuing the physician assistant degree in this school is $12,606 per term.
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
In 1997, the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Physician Assistant program was established. The school has since its inception focused on using Problem-Based Learning (BPL), simulated patients, creative evaluation methods, and clinical mentoring programs to deliver its medical curriculum. Also, the program is a part of the SIU School of Medicine.
This physician assistant program runs for 16 months for students with bachelor’s in health-related courses. Also, there’s a one-year Masters Completion Program (MCP) for intending physician assistants who already obtained a Physician Assistant Bachelors Degree and are already practicing.
The physician assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Tuition here costs $30,491 is the tuition for citizens/residents and $58,892.00 for non-residents. Meanwhile, other fees and expenses are not included.
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine, North Chicago
The Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine was established in 1991 in north, Chicago and since then, over 1,300 students have completed their physician assistant programs from the school.
This school focuses on educating students through creative, interactive, and innovative class activities, quality clinical rotation experiences, team-based learning, and state-of-the-art simulation.
The physician assistant program in this school lasts for a duration of 24 months and the second year provides independent study courses, seminars, and clinical rotations. For this school, the tuition costs $48,901 per year and this consists of all the expenses in your physician assistant program for one year.
Meanwhile, the school is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).
Midwestern University, Downers Grove
The Midwestern University, Downers Grove is a Master of Medical Science (M.M.S.) in physician assistant studies. Its curriculum is designed to offer students the opportunity to obtain graduate degrees and meet all the eligibility requirements for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE).
This program runs for a minimum of 27 months and a maximum of 40.5 months. The first and second-year tuition for this program costs $51,638 and on the other hand, the tuition fee for the third year is $12,910. Meanwhile, these are only tuition fees as additional fees and expenses are not included.
Also, the school has accreditation continued status by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).
City Colleges of Chicago – Malcolm X College
The City Colleges of Chicago is another one of the best physician assistant schools in Chicago. It offers students the opportunities to pursue and complete their physician assistant degrees and become practicing experts. However, the accreditation of this program is on probation until its next review.
One of the major requirements for getting accepted into this program is a 50-credit completion of the courses required for the physician assistant program. Likewise, students who have attained at least, 1,000 hours of recognized expert experience will be qualified and admitted to this program.
For this program, the admitted students will be required to complete 78 credits in two years. That is, their first year will involve classes in pharmacology, gross anatomy, and pathophysiology. Meanwhile, the students begin to gain supervised clinical training in different medical specialties in their second year. These specialties include surgery and pediatric, internal medicine, and emergency medicine.
The tuition fee for this program in this physician assistant school costs $1,752, in-district, $4,608, in-state, and $5,772, out-of-state.
College of Health Sciences, Midwestern University – Downers Grove
The University of Downers Grove is also one of the best physician assistant schools. It offers students graduate programs in ARC-PA, accredited Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies.
For this program, the admission requirements include completion of all the courses required for this field and a bachelor’s degree. Also, students are expected to meet the minimum GPA requirements and as well submit GRE results. More importantly, applying students are expected to already have healthcare experiences.
This program runs for 27 months full-time with the first 12 focused on courses in physiology, immunology, anatomy, genetics, neurosciences, and biochemistry. Likewise, the remaining 15 months are focused on clinical settings students complete ten rotations from surgery and geriatrics to internal medicine and women’s health.
The tuition fee for this program in this school costs $43,883.
University of St. Francis
The University of St. Francis is also one of the best physician assistant schools. It is a private congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate University and it has its main campus in Joliet, Illinois. The school is a private university in a large suburb and it offers students two physician assistant degree programs.
This University 2015 graduated 31 physician assistant students who completed their physician assistant studies with 31 master’s degrees. It costs $32,320 for this program.
Meanwhile, you can find more information on the school’s website.
In this article, we have extensively discussed physician assistant programs and what becoming one entails. Also, we have listed the best physician assistant schools in Chicago and the ones near the populous city. However, our list is incomplete and will edit it when we get more information on the accredited physician schools in the city.
It’s important to read through these schools and their requirements to know which best suits your interests as they all have distinguishing features. We wish you luck!
A physician assistant is a healthcare specialist who is licensed to work in practically all areas of medicine which includes family medicine, primary care, surgery, psychiatry, and emergency medicine, but all under the supervision of a licensed doctor (an MD) or osteopathic physician (a DO). A physician assistant is mostly involved with preventing and caring for human injuries and illnesses by providing healthcare services.
The guidelines and general requirements here will be on how to become a physician assistant in Illinois as Chicago is a city in Illinois and has no separate requirements on its own. Read more to find out how you can become one
Naturally, physician assistants work under the supervision of licensed physicians, however, researches show they can work independently in some states and can only consult physicians when there are rare cases.
Meanwhile, physician assistants examine patients, prescribe medicine, and order diagnostic tests.
Usually, the length of time it takes you to complete your physician assistant program in Chicago depends on your previous qualifications. Naturally, the physician assistant schools in Chicago take an average of 24-27 months even though this will vary across schools.
If you have already obtained a bachelor’s degree in the field, you will have to enroll in a one-year master’s completion program.
Physician assistants are one of the highest earners in the medical industry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 83,600 practicing physician assistants in Chicago earned an average of $86,410 in 2010. And according to physicianassistantedu.org, the average annual Chicago salary is about $84,440.
Qualify for Accredited Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure in Chicago
Take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)
Apply for licensure to the Chicago Medical Board.
Maintain the Chicago Physician Assistant License.
- illinoispa.org – Illinois PA Schools
- chamberlain.edu – PA School in Chicago, Illinois
- thepaplatform.com – Physician Assistant Schools in Illinois