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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.
The mission of the Radford University 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 of the interprofessional healthcare team.
- Recruit and enroll students from diverse backgrounds who demonstrate academic excellence and a commitment to the healthcare profession.
- Provide a positive, inclusive, and equitable learning environment that fosters the retention and success of a diverse student population.
- Provide a strong foundation of medical knowledge, clinical skills, and ethical and professional behaviors that will meet the needs of a practicing PA.
- Prepare students to provide patient centered, evidence-based medical care.
- 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.
At its 2023 March meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) placed the Radford University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Radford University on Accreditation-Probation status until its next review in 2025 March.
Probation accreditation is a temporary accreditation status initially of not less than two years. However, that period may be extended by the ARC-PA for up to an additional two years if the ARC-PA finds that the program is making substantial progress toward meeting all applicable standards but requires additional time to come into full compliance. Probation accreditation status is granted, at the sole discretion of the ARC-PA, when a program holding an accreditation status of Accreditation - Provisional or Accreditation - Continued does not, in the judgment of the ARC-PA, meet the Standards or when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened.
Once placed on probation, a program that fails to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and is subject to having its accreditation withdrawn.
Specific questions regarding the Program and its plans should be directed to the Program Director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s).
The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at https://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-radford-university/
- What is the ARC-PA?
ARC-PA is the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. It is the accrediting body for all PA programs in the United States that defines the standards with which PA programs must be compliant to become and remain accredited.
- What does Accreditation-Probation mean?
A PA program with the designation of Accreditation-Probation is still fully accredited. This designation is a temporary accreditation status initially of not less than two years.
- Will the PA program curriculum or clinical experiences change?
No. The curricular content and clinical experience requirements will not significantly change except in areas which the faculty are able to improve or expand the curricular offerings that lend to student success.
- Will the PA program still accept applications for enrollment in future classes?
Yes. The PA program will continue to accept applications for enrollment while designated with the Accreditation-Probation status.
- Will I be qualified to take the PANCE?
Yes. The PA program is fully accredited. You will be qualified to take the PANCE upon successful completion of the program.
- Will the Accreditation-Probation status affect my ability to become licensed for practice upon graduation and successful completion of the PANCE?
No. Licensure typically requires graduation from an accredited PA Program and certification by the NCCPA. The program is fully accredited, therefore, there should be no negative effects on your ability to be licensed.
- What are the citations that led to the Radford PA program designation as Accreditation-Probation status?
The program’s accreditation history can be accessed at https://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-radford-university/. The specific citations will also be available at this link.
- What are you doing to address the citations?
A1.01: All programmatic affiliation agreements have been updated to specify affiliation with the Radford University PA Program specifically, or the agreements have been terminated.
A1.07 and A2.03: Radford University has approved additional hiring of a full-time faculty member and adjuncts to support the curricular and administrative needs of the faculty, staff, and students.
A1.11: The goals of the program have been revised to include a goal specific to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The program faculty are working with the institution to incorporate recruitment and retention strategies, such as the development of a departmental DEI committee composed of a faculty member, staff member, alumnus, and two students. A DEI tab has been added to the program’s web page. This tab includes information about the current students, the DEI committee, and resources and events available to students at the university and locally to meet their needs and foster an inclusive community.
A2.16 and B3.06: The PA program has adjusted its procedures for verification and documentation of valid, active licensure and board certification for practice in a specified clinical setting.
A3.12: The PA program faculty have reviewed and revised the programmatic goals to include the measures and benchmarks to assess goal achievement. This new information is current and available on the PA program website under Mission and Goals.
B1.03, B3.03, B4.01: The PA program faculty are in the process of updating all clinical rotation course syllabi to ensure all learning outcomes and instructional objectives are clear and measurable. The preceptor evaluation tool is also being revised to clearly align with the assessment of the achievement of learning outcomes and instructional objectives. The anticipated completion date for revisions is August 2023. The updates, revisions, and alignments will allow the faculty members to more easily identify and address student deficiencies in a timely manner.
C1.02: The PA program is utilizing a new form for data review and analysis. This form provides an outline to ensure full analysis of all data to clearly determine programmatic strengths, modification requirements, and areas in need of improvement.
C2.01: The forms used to document clinical rotation sites have been updated to clearly identify the physical facilities of the site and patient populations served in order to ensure the learning outcomes and instructional objectives for a clinical rotation can be met at each site.
- Is there concern that the PA program will not be able to satisfy the cited standards in the future?
The Radford University PA program and the University is fully committed to providing the required support to ensure we satisfy the standards that require further attention. The PA program and University administration feel confident that the measures already taken and our continued efforts for improvement will meet and/or exceed the requirements expected by the ARC-PA.
- What is the timeframe for re-evaluation of the Radford University PA program?
The RU PA program is required to submit reports in October 2023 and May 2024. Our program will be reassessed by site visitors prior to the March 2025 ARC-PA Commission meeting. A decision on the Accreditation status of the program will be made at this March 2025 meeting. The program will likely not have results of the meeting until April 2025.
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.
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