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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 Radford University Carilion?



Our students regularly attend regional and national and international conferences and develop strong professional networks while they are still students.



We provide our students with opportunities to interact and learn beside a broad range of healthcare providers, so they’re prepared to collaborate across specialties from the start of their careers.


Research and Thought Leadership

Evolve with advances in technology, medicine and science with coursework that will teach you to be a lifelong learner throughout your healthcare career.

Program Overview

The PA program prepares students to be exceptional PAs and provide high-quality patient care at a level comparable to that of physicians. A licensed PA works closely with physicians and handles duties ranging from taking medical histories to setting simple fractures. In many cases, patients seeking medical attention are treated solely by physician assistants. To reflect that close working relationship, PAs are educated in the medical model to complement physician training.

While enrolled as a PA student, outside employment is discouraged, but not prohibited, due to the heavy academic load required in the PA curriculum.

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 Student Learning Outcomes.
  • 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 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 will serve as leaders in their professional lives and will participate in the education of future medical providers.

Frequently Asked Questions

The PA includes:

  • A well-prepared class of 42 students typically selected from nearly 1,000 applicants
  • A nationally diverse class with students enrolling from Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Alaska, California, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
  • 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.

Variable Costs

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. 

Tuition Formula:

  • 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

Career Path

Most of the graduates of our program work in family practice, internal medicine, urgent care and other medical areas. Other students go on to do residencies or further their graduate studies.

The job outlook and starting salaries for PAs is excellent. In 2016, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 10-year projected growth rate of over 37% in the profession with a national median salary of over $100,000. Radford University Carilion Graduates have a 100% Job Placement Rate.

Our graduates have careers across all fields of medicine and in many different types of settings and many have attained positions prior to graduation. Some graduates have also chosen to complete fellowships in specialty areas.


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.

Program Outcomes

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 trend toward increasing scores on that exam.

Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination Five Year First Time Taker Summary Report [PDF].