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New Physician Assistant Studies Program Granted Provisional Accreditation

October 13, 2008

The Mount Union College Physician Assistant Program – the institution’s first master’s level program in nearly a century – was granted provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA), following its September 2008 meeting. 

The ARC-PA defines provisional accreditation as “the status of accreditation granted for a limited, defined period of time to a new program that, at the time of the site visit, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the Standards.”

According to Sharon Luke, director of physician assistant studies, follow-up provisional visits are conducted to programs that have successfully achieved provisional accreditation. Follow-up visits must occur no sooner than four months after students have entered the clinical phase of the program and no later than six months after graduation of the first class, and the ARC-PA retains the right to require an earlier follow-up provisional visit.

“We were thrilled to receive such recognition from the ARC-PA,” said Luke.  “We have worked very hard over the past few months to develop a program that will result in the development of competent, compassionate healthcare providers.   Our program offers a curriculum rich in biomedical and clinical preparatory sciences and develops the medical decision-making and problem-solving skills that may be applied to patient situations encountered in clinical practice.”

Mount Union’s Physician Assistant Program will enroll 25-30 students each year, who will earn a master of science degree upon completion of 27 months of coursework and clinicals.  The clinical phase of the program is designed to provide instruction in the in-patient and out-patient setting so that students are prepared for clinical practice. 

The first class of students for the program will be welcomed in May of 2009.  Applications are currently being accepted and can be obtained by visiting www.mountunion.edu.  The application deadline is November 1.

“The current job opportunities for physician assistants are vast, with most state departments of labor indicating a 40.5 percent increase in job availability between the years 2004 and 2014,” said Luke.  “I can’t imagine a more exciting time to explore the wide range of opportunities that exist for physician assistants in the realm of medicine.”

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