How To Become A Physician Assistant In Florida in 2023

physician assistant programs in florida

How To Become A Physician Assistant In Florida: One of the requirements to become a PA in the sunshine state is to attend any of the schools accredited to offer PA programs and select a program of your choice.

Becoming a PA in Florida at this time is a good decision due to the rising number of aging demographics.

Currently, physician assistants in Florida expect a 43% increase in job opportunities and a hike in salary. 

As a certified physician assistant in Florida, you will work with other healthcare professionals to improve the health of the state’s diverse patient population.

Physician assistants are trained to assist the doctors to perform some tasks thereby improving the work speed and smooth running of the clinic.

However, before you live out that possibility, you have to train to become a physician assistant.

Here in this guide, we have come up with details on all you need to know to become a physician assistant in Florida. 

We have also made provision for the list of PA schools that are accredited by The Committee on Allied Health, Education, and Accreditation (CAHEA) and Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) that you can choose from to be trained as a PA.

Also, we listed the pa schools in Florida requirements and programs you can enroll to become a physician assistant. 

Welcome Aboard Scholar!!!

What Is The Job Outlook Of Physician Assistants In Florida?

The occupational outlook for physician assistants is projected to grow across the country in the coming future. 

According to a recent report, Florida Physician Assistants have an increasing job outlook of 43% in the next 10 years.

This is so because about 18.2% of Florida’s population is over the age of 65 and will require more medical care. 

ALSO READ: How To Become A Physician Assistant In Texas in 2023

What Are The Requirements To Enroll Into Any Of The PA Schools In Florida?

The requirements to enroll in any of the PA schools in Florida is school specific. Physician assistant schools have varying requirements for fresh students depending on the program and degree that they are applying for.

However, some of the general requirements of most PA schools in Florida include;

  • Having previous clinical experience involving interaction with patients.
  • Must have written the GRE (Graduate Records Examinations) before admission.
  • Must have a solid foundation in the required prerequisite courses such as psychology, biology, and chemistry
  • Graduate.PA programs in most physician assistant schools in Florida require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in either of yeh following science majors: biology, chemistry, nursing, public health, behavior sciences, especially psychology, and medical assistant.

How Do I Become a Physician Assistant in Florida?

Just like any other profession, physician assistants take an educational path to become professional PA recognized in Florida and other parts of the USA. 

Citizens who are interested in becoming a physician assistant in Florida, need to follow this guide step-by-step to earn their educational qualification, and license, and begin practice.

Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming a physician assistant (PA) in Florida: the sunshine state; 

  • Make a choice of any of the Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure in Florida.
  • Ensure to pass the Physician Assistant  National Certifying Exam (PANCE)
  • Apply for a Florida Physician Assistant License
  • Keep the License Current

#1. Choose Any Of The Physician Assistant Programs for Licensure in Florida.

The first step to becoming a physician assistant in Florida is to enroll in a PA program in any of the accredited PA schools within the state. Ensure that the Physician Assistant Program you choose is available for licensure.

When selecting a PA program, consider the admission requirements and accreditation of the schools. This gives you a glimpse of what it will take to get admitted.  Keep in mind that most pa schools’ admission requirements vary from program to program in Florida.

#2. Pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)

Once you have graduated from any of PA accredited schools in Florida, apply to write the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam is a CBT exam about the PA profession. It consists of 300 multiple-choice questions which last for 5 hours. Registration requires a fee of $475 and you can take the test at any location within the state. 

#3. Apply for Licensure with the Florida Board of Medicine

All PAs require a license to practice in the state as well as any of the other states of the USA. To get your license you need to have and submit the following requirements;

  • Application Packet for Licensure
  • Physician Supervision Data Form
  • $100 application fee and $205 license fee
  • Proof of PA-C certification from the NCCPA
  • Proof of graduation from an accredited PA degree program

#4. Keep the License Current

All PAs must renew their licenses every 2 years. To renew your PA license in Florida, you must 

  • Have 100 hours of continuing medical education (CME).
  • Submit a License Renewal Application.
  • Make a renewal payment of $280. 

How Long Does It Take To Complete A PA Program In Florida?

Typically, it takes 23 to 28 months to complete a master’s PA program in Florida.  A bachelor’s program will take about 4 years to complete.

This includes both learning the required courses and clinical practices.

ALSO READ: How to Become a Physician Assistant in 7 Easy Steps

15 Best Physician Assistant (PA) Schools And Programs in Florida

On your journey to become a PA in Florida, here is a list of schools that are accredited and have the best programs and curriculum to train you to become a professional physician assistant within and outside the sunshine state;

#1. University of Florida 

  • Location: Gainesville
  • GPA Requirement: 3.0
  • Course Credit Load: 80 Credits 
  • Duration of Program: 24 Months 
  • Degree Program Offered: Masters 

The University of Florida pa program is one of the best rated in Florida due to its regularity in producing high-quality and compassionate PAs. The school has a track record of producing over 2,500 PA graduates since its inception.  

Beyond being one of the best PA schools with an outstanding program curriculum, the University of Florida is also rated among the top PA programs in the state.

The master’s program requires full-time study for 2 years. The first year focuses on the completion of theoretical courses and the second year on clinical in all specialties and subspecialties at various sites across Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando, Pensacola, and Tampa. 

#2. Nova Southeastern University 

  • Location: Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, and Orlando
  • GPA Requirement: 3.0
  • Course Credit Load: Varies 
  • Duration of Program: Varies 
  • Degree Program Offered: Bachelor’s and Master of PA, MMS in PA, and PA/MPH 

One of the best physician assistant programs in Florida is that offered by Nova Southeastern University. 

Nova Southeastern University Florida offers a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree PA program making it an easy option for students who want to earn a dual degree in a short time. Also, there is an option of earning a PA/MPH degree that makes you a PA proficient in the knowledge of public health. 

The Bachelor’s and Master of PA Program starts with 4 years of baccalaureate study and then 2 years and 3 months of master’s studies. On the other hand, the MMS in PA Program takes 27 months of full-time study. The PA/MPH takes 3 years to complete.

#3. Barry University 

  • Location: Miami
  • GPA Requirement: 3.0
  • Course Credit Load: 128 Credits 
  • Duration of Program: 24 Months 
  • Degree Program Offered: Masters 

If you’re considering starting a career as a physician assistant, you should consider enrolling at Barry University in Florida to train to become one.

Barry University is one of the schools with a PA program that prepares you for all that is required to be a physician assistant in Florida. Students who enroll in this program study at the Miami campus or at St. Petersburg College’s Pinellas Park campus. 

In 24 months you will complete 128-credit coursework and clinical rotations. Admission is easier if you have completed prerequisite courses and preferably have prior healthcare experience.

#4. South University

  • Location: Tampa
  • GPA Requirement: 3.0
  • Course Credit Load: 174 Credits 
  • Duration of Program: 27 Months 
  • Degree Program Offered: Masters 

South University is one of the PA schools in Florida that will train you to become a professional physician assistant. The school is committed to training students in both theory and clinical training to develop exceptional professional skills in interpersonal communication, clinical reasoning, problem-solving and evidence-based medicine.

The master’s PA program at South University awards you a Master of Science in Physician Assistant upon graduation. Before that, 15 months are committed to theory and expositions and the last 12 months are for clinical rotations. 

Admission into  South University is very competitive. The school expects you to have an accredited bachelor’s degree with an overall GPA of 3.0 before you apply.

#5. Florida International University 

  • Location: Miami
  • GPA Requirement: 3.0
  • Course Credit Load: Not Specified 
  • Duration of Program: 27 Months 
  • Degree Program Offered: Masters 

Florida International University is one of the PA schools that grooms you to successfully practice as a Physician Assistant anywhere in the world. 

FIU offers Masters’s programs to students who want to become physician assistants (PA) in Florida. Upon graduation, you are ready to explore job opportunities in any type of healthcare environment.

Florida International University requires 27 months of active learning split into 15 months of taking didactic courses in a class of 45 students and 12 months for clinical rotations. 

To enroll at Florida International University you must demonstrate promise and proficiency in several areas including your past education and clinical experience.

pa schools in florida
pa schools in florida

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#6. Keiser University 

  • Location: Fort Lauderdale
  • GPA Requirement: 3.0
  • Course Credit Load: 127.5 Credits 
  • Duration of Program: 24 Months 
  • Degree Program Offered: Masters 

Keiser University pa program in Florida trains you wholly on how to become a professional physician assistant. The Keiser University pa program in Florida ensures you are groomed in lectures and case studies in a state-of-art simulated learning environment. 

The physician assistant program at Keiser University Florida leads to a Master of Science Physician Assistant degree. The first 12 months of study are focused on learning and the second 12 months are focused on clinical training. 

One of the Keiser University PA school’s requirements for enrollment in Florida is that you must enroll in January. Also, you must have at least 20 hours of shadowing experience and 100 hours of healthcare experience.

#7. The University of Tampa 

  • Location: Tampa
  • GPA Requirement: 3.0
  • Course Credit Load: 112 Credits 
  • Duration of Program: 27 Months 
  • Degree Program Offered: Masters 

One of the PA schools in Florida with outstanding programs and curriculum is the University of Tampa. The University of Tampa provides PA students ample practice in its simulation lab that allows them to hone their skills and expertise.

The pa program at the University of Tampa, Florida takes 27 months to complete which will earn you a Master of Physician Assistant Medicine degree. 

The good news about the University of Tampa pa program is that its curriculum was designed by a medical faculty, comprising physicians, pharmacologists, health scientists, anatomists, physiologists, and physician assistants. 

To apply, you must have at least a GPA of 3.0. 

#9. Miami-Dade College 

  • Location: Miami
  • GPA Requirement: 3.0
  • Course Credit Load: 130 Credits 
  • Duration of Program: 27 Months 
  • Degree Program Offered: Masters 

Miami-Dade College is one of the PA schools in Florida that trains you to become a professional physician assistant anywhere in the world. Its PA program is combined with a Master of Health Science degree and it runs this in affiliation with Nova Southeastern University. 

The dual degree program is quite demanding unlike other pa programs in Florida. When not in class, you will be taking online courses from Nova.

To qualify for admission into the PA program in Florida,  you must fulfill the basic admission requirements of both schools: Miami-Dade College and Nova Southeastern University.

Also, you must have at least 50 hours of shadowing experience and foundational knowledge of the prerequisite courses.

#9. Florida State University 

  • Location: Tallahassee
  • GPA Requirement: 3.0
  • Course Credit Load: 111 Credits 
  • Duration of Program: 27 Months 
  • Degree Program Offered: Masters  

Florida State University’s PA program is one of the best physician assistant programs in the state. Through its College of Medicine, the school produces PAs who are committed to active participation after graduation.

In 27 months, students who enroll in the Florida State University physician assistant program graduate after completing a total of 111 credits. 

To apply, you must have a verified CASPA application along with submitting the university’s supplemental application. 

#10. Gannon University-Ruskin 

  • Location: Ruskin
  • GPA Requirement: 3.0
  • Course Credit Load: 91 Credits 
  • Duration of Program: 24 Months 
  • Degree Program Offered: Masters 

Gannon University-Ruskin offers One of the best physician assistant programs in Florida. The school PA program is taken online. 

Gannon University-Ruskin is committed both in theory and clinical practices. The last year of your program is mainly focused on clinical. 

To be eligible to apply, you must have a baccalaureate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Also, you must complete an online CASPer test and fulfill other of the school’s pa requirements in Florida.

Other PA Schools In Florida include;

  • AdventHealth University – Orlando
  • University of South Florida – Tampa
  • Florida Gulf Coast University – Fort Myers

ALSO READ: Top Medical Schools in Alberta Canada 2023

Must PA Schools In Florida Be Accredited?

One of the requirements placed on PA schools in Florida is to possess the accreditation. Graduating from a school that is not accredited will mean you are getting your license to practice in the state or anywhere. 

PA degree programs in Florida must be accredited by either of the two agencies for students to be eligible to later obtain a Physician Assistant License:

  • The Committee on Allied Health, Education, and Accreditation (CAHEA)
  • Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA)

Where Can A PA Work In Florida?

After your graduation, Physician Assistants can work in a variety of practice settings such as hospitals, clinics, and outpatient care centers. 

Also, Physician assistants can pursue additional training focusing on cardiology, emergency room medicine, pediatrics, or other specialties.

How Much Do Physician Assistants Earn In Florida?

In 2020 there were about 3,870 PAs practicing in the Sunshine State with an average annual salary of $95,650.

The top 10% earn a salary of $104,810 a year on average.

Conclusion

A PA program by design is meant to train you to become a professional and thankfully most schools in Florida are fashioned with top-notch curricula and programs that will train you in that education path.

Do well to visit the school’s website for additional requirements when applying for any PA program in Florida schools.

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Good luck Scholar!!!

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