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Department of Physician Assistant Studies
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The Physician Assistant program at Radford University Carilion prepares graduates to provide diagnostic and therapeutic medical services under physician supervision. Physician assistants provide high-quality, cost-effective healthcare while maintaining patient satisfaction.
The PA program is a 27-month professional program designed for students with a bachelor’s degree. Students collaborate with other master’s and doctoral students to gain skills necessary for future practice. The curriculum is comprised of 15 months of didactic instruction followed by 12 months of supervised clinical practice. Graduates are eligible to sit for the PA National Certifying Exam, and our students routinely perform above the national average.
Why choose the PA Program at RUC?
Education in evidence-based medicine provides a relevant experience for lifelong professional learning.
We provide our students with opportunities to interact and learn beside a broad range of healthcare providers. They are prepared to collaborate across specialties from the start of their careers.
High Student Satisfaction
Our program is highly selective and our graduates have high pass rates on national board exam and excellent job placement.
Program Mission & Goals
The mission of the Radford University Carilion Physician Assistant Program is to graduate ethical, competent, and compassionate PAs who are well versed in the art and science of medicine and are prepared to effectively function as members and leaders of the interprofessional healthcare team.
- To enroll students who demonstrate academic excellence and a commitment to the healthcare profession.
- To provide a positive learning environment that is conducive to attainment of PA Competencies for New Graduates.
- To provide a strong foundation of medical knowledge, clinical skills, and ethical and professional behaviors that will meet the needs of a practicing PA to provide excellent patient care.
- To instill an appreciation for lifelong learning skills and the need to provide the most current patient-centered care possible.
- To provide the skills necessary to communicate and collaborate effectively within a team environment.
- To graduate physician assistants who are prepared to serve as leaders in their professional lives and participate in the education of future medical providers.
Learn more about the Physician Assistant program's goal achievements.
- A well-prepared class of 42 students typically selected from nearly 1,000 applicants
- A nationally diverse class with students enrolling from Virginia and the surrounding region, as well as the rest of the United States.
- An average age of 26 with a range of 21 to over 40 years of age.
- An enrolling class with a broad range of professional experiences, including, emergency medical technician (EMT), certified nursing assistant (CNA), ED Scribe, medical assistant, physical therapy assistant, military medic, mental health counselor, radiology technician, respiratory therapist and others.
- An active PA Student Society
For complete information on admission to the Physician Assistant Program at Radford University Carilion, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Physician Assistant program sponsored by Radford University Carilion. 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 March 2023. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.
Before graduation, all students must pass a summative evaluation that focuses in the Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession [PDF] (medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, practice-based learning and improvement, patient care, professionalism and systems-based practice). Our graduates rate the program highly for satisfaction and perception of their clinical competence; employers similarly give our graduates high ratings. Our graduating students have an excellent track record on the national certification Board exam, with a 96% 5-year first time taker average pass rate.
ARC-PA Student Attrition
Class of 2020
Class of 2021
Class of 2022
Maximum entering class size (as approved by ARC-PA)
Entering class size
* Attrition rate
*Attrition rate calculation: Number of students who attritted from cohort divided by the entering class size.
**Graduation rate: Number of cohort graduates divided by the entering class size.
Living expenses: These vary according to the student's personal needs and tastes.
Health Insurance: All students are required to have health insurance; this cost varies according to the type of plan.
Conference travel: Optional attendance at the National Conference is estimated to cost $1,500 per year.
Other: Exam fees of approximately $500 for various exams required during the curriculum.
- Semester 1: $14,310
- Semester 2: $15,105
- Semester 3: $ 9,540
- Semester 4: $12,720*
- Semester 5: $12,720*
- Semester 6: $ 7,950*
- Semester 7: $ 7,950*
Estimated total: $80,295
* Based on 2017-2018 tuition rates. This amount is subject to change.
** Students are REQUIRED to join AAPA and VAPA as student members.
See the Radford University Financial Aid page and Tuition and Fees for current information.
If you have completed a FAFSA application you may have already received your award letter. If you have not completed this application, you need to notify the Financial Aid office now so they can process your institutional award.
Please Note: The Didactic Phase (Classroom) starts in August and goes into the second Academic Year and ends in October of the following year. The Clinical Phase (Rotations) begins in November of the second Academic Year and ends in December of the third Academic Year