Best 15 PA Schools in California in 2021

March 25, 2021 | Staff Writers

PA Schools in California
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The physician career is one of the most valued professions in the medical care industry. However, physicians cannot handle all the responsibilities alone, and for that reason, they need a physician assistant. Medical physician assistants are generally personnel’s in the health care industry who help surgeons, doctors, and other health care professionals in handling several tasks. Some of the tasks performed by a physician assistant include performing basic examinations, counseling and educating patients, writing prescriptions, giving treatment, and monitoring patients in various medical facilities. The initial step in becoming a physician assistant is earning yourself the appropriate bachelor’s degree from a certified institution. Undergraduate programs that can get you started in the physician assistant profession include health science, medical terminology, statistics, quantitative methods, and healthcare ethics. In the below discussion, we are going to look at some of the best Physician Assistant schools in California, their tuition requirements, accreditation, and total enrollment.

Best 15 PA Schools in California

1. California Baptist University (98 points)

California Baptist University is one of the top-rated private universities in Southern California. The institution was established in 1950 and is recognized as one of the PA schools in the region. The institution offers over 80 majors, 50 minors, 5 doctoral programs, 30 masters, and about 150 major concentrations. In 2018 the university was ranked by the world report and US news as the best university in the region. 

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $12,830
  • Total Enrollment: 11,045
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

2. Southern California University of Health Sciences (94 points)

Southern California University of Health Sciences is an institution in California that offers programs in health science. The university was established in 1911. The college is known as the leader and pioneer of innovative chiropractic education. The college offers an advantage program where students spend long hours in small groups having problem-solving discussions and learning basic concepts in science using clinical-based case studies. All graduates from the university will always have the same learning outcome in the following areas: Integrative health care, critical thinking, communication, professionalism, outcome-focused studies, and professional therapies.

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $37,006
  • Total Enrollment: 1,386 
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

3. Marshall B. Ketchum University (90 points)

Marshall B. Ketchum University is a non-profit private university based in California. The institution is ranked highly as one of the best PA universities in California. The institution was originally founded as a multidisciplinary with an additional college of pharmacy and school of PA studies in the year 2013 and 2011, respectively. The PA program is offered in 27-months leading to the bachelor’s degree, and then a master’s in medical science. Marshall B Ketchum University also offers several non-academic and academic services to students, including financial aid, library, distance learning for graduate programs offered, housing, online courses, administrative services as well as scholarships.

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $40,863                    
  • Total enrollment: 739
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

 4. Western University of Health Sciences (88 points)

Western University of Health Sciences is a privately owned university that was first opened in 1977. The university was originally known as the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific. The institution offers degrees in physician assistant, nursing, optometry, osteopathic, dental medicine, pharmacy, biomedical sciences, veterinary medicine, and physical therapy. Additionally, the university offers different facilities such as dental centers, medical centers, travel health center, pharmacy, and eye care institute. Western University prepares its graduates in Master in Physician Assistant Studies to be the best of the best in clinical science as well as communication skills for effective exchange of information with their patients.

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $23,556                    
  • Total enrollment: 3,792
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

5. Samuel Merritt University (85 points)

Samuel Merritt University is a privately owned university dedicated to offering health sciences. The institution was first opened in 1909 by Dr. Samuel Merritt with the name Samuel Merritt College. Samuel Merritt University is the only provider of occupational therapists, physician assistants, and physical therapists in the greater East Bay region. Master Physician Assistant Department of the university is always aimed at nurturing graduates who are professionals and committed not only to their work but also their community. Medical providers who manifest creative and critical thinking, interdependent experts who possess effective communication skills.

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $47,928
  • Total enrollment: 2,029
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

6. Touro University California (83 points)

Touro University California is a privately owned university that was established in 1997 as an independent Jewish-funded institution. The university offers several degree programs in professions such as nursing, public health, pharmacy, education, osteopathic medicine, and physician assistant studies. The institution offers a dual program of masters- Master of Public Health and Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. Touro University California is passionate about increasing accessibility to quality health care services. The Physician program is aimed at Increasing access to better health care to the underserving population, produce quality physicians in the profession, and recruiting professionals and individuals who are committed to serving society. The learning experience in the university is student-centered with the aim of preparing them for a rewarding career journey.

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $30,140                    
  • Total enrollment: 1,378
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

  7. University of California Davis (79 points)

The University of California Davis is a land-grant and public university based in Davis, California. The was established in1961 as the world’s leading physician assistant institution. The University of California Davis is one of the R1 classified universities meaning it has very high standards of research. The university is focused on nurturing students who are committed and centered on their academic experiences. Additionally, the institution offers several academic funding programs including short-term loans, scholarships, and loan programs for their students. The major medicine programs offered by the institution include a master’s in physician assistant, nursing, and veterinary medicine. Other programs are law, education, and business management.

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $11,442
  • Total enrollment: 38,634              
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

8. Stanford University (75 points)

Also officially known as Leland Stanford Junior University, Stanford University is a privately owned university that was first founded in 1885. The institution is well- known as a place of undergraduate programs that leads to an M.S or Ph.D. degree. The physician assistant program offered by the school is 30 months program that incorporates other courses such as clinical anatomy and simulation lab. In each year the university admits between 25 to 30 students in the physician assistant program and offers them the following support: career support, counseling and health resources, accessibility support, academic support, wellness advising and student life, legal issues and dispute resolution support, housing among others.

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $52,479                    
  • Total enrollment: 17,249
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

9. Loma Linda University (71 points)

Loma Linda University is an Adventist university found in Loma Linda, California. The university was founded as a health science institution in 1966. There are over 100 certificate and degree programs. The school is considered one of the bests PA institutions in California and is passionate about coming up with well-trained students with the highest level of skills in the healthcare profession. Graduates from Loma Linda University are all-rounded students in all aspects (cultural, ethnic, and religious background).                                                            

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $31,680
  • Total enrollment: 4,462
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

10. University of the Pacific (70 points)

The University of the Pacific is Methodist-associated private university that is found in Stockton and San Francisco, California. The institution was first chartered in 1851 under California Wesleyan College as its official name. The university is a home environments pioneers such as John Muir and offers the following programs, school of healthcare sciences, law, liberal arts, education, international studies, dentistry, engineering, pharmacy, and music. The University of the Pacific is among the list of the PA schools in California. Students from the University of the Pacific are trained in skills such as patient counseling, performance, and physical examination, completing medical histories, provision of treatment, performing clinical procedures and skills. The institution has a graduation and school acceptance rate of 72% and 66%, respectively.

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $48,904
  • Total enrollment: 6,447
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

11. Chapman University (66 points)

Chapman University is a private university that first started its academic classes in1861. The institution offers academic programs in areas like art and design, computer technology, education and liberal arts, business, human and social science, legal and law, and healthcare. The institution uses the 4-1-4 type of academic calendar. In the 2021 list of university ranking, the institution was ranked number 124 of the top national universities. The institution is passionate about offering a distinct type of education that leads to acquiring productive and ethical lives in all the citizens.

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $54,924                                   
  • Total enrollment: 9,850
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

12. Dominican University of California (62 points)

Founded in 1890, Dominican University of California is an independent institution offering more than 60 majors, minors, and concentrations. Over their130 years of preparing students for fulfilling professional and personal lives, they’ve earned a reputation for excellence in academics, research, outreach and community involvement. Dominican University of California is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, in beautiful Marin County, California. Dominican’s graduate programs include advanced degrees in business, education, and the arts, as well as several highly competitive programs in the health sciences, including physician assistant studies, occupational therapy, counseling psychology, biological sciences, and art therapy. Attend Dominican’s MSPAS program and learn the practice of medicine from expert medical providers, while building your network in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $37,450 (for the PA program)
  • Total enrollment: 1,837
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission, The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Dominican University of California Physician Assistant Program

13. Charles R. Drew University (59 points)

Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) is a non-profit, private institution that was first established in 1966. The institution offers a master’s degree, bachelor’s degree, associate degree, and Postbaccalaureate certificates. The CDU PA Program, established in 1971, was the first PA program in the state of California.  The current PA Program has been granted accreditation – continued status by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).  Twenty-six (26) students are selected yearly, who show evidence of alignment with the University’s mission of providing excellent medical care with compassion, addressing health disparities, seeking social justice, and improving the health of medically underserved communities.  The small cohort size of the PA Program ensures individualized attention and adequate resources for each student.  Heavy involvement in the surrounding urban community is also a signature feature of the CDU PA Program, as students are trained to apply principles of community engagement, cultural sensitivity, health equity, and are prepared to practice in medically underserved shortage areas.

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $22,176                                     
  • Total enrollment: 748
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

14. Keck University School of Medicine (57 points)

Keck University School of Medicine was founded in 1885. The institution focuses on the training of biomedicals, physicians, physician assistants, among other healthcare professionals. The faculty to student ratio in the institution is 2.6:1. In terms of ranking, the schools have previously been ranked number 31 of the best medical schools in research and number 47 of the medical schools in primary care.

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $46,272                                     
  • Total enrollment: 48,321
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

15. University of La Verne (51 points)

The University of La Verne is a top-rated private university situated in La Verne, California. The school was established in 1891. It wards both graduate and undergraduate degrees. The school has modern structures which include the cafeteria, classrooms, and libraries. The school supports all the students across the globe. The University of La Verne offers Physician Assistant Program Mission with a mission of educating diverse, holistic, collaborative, and ethical medical professionals who are committed to elevating the healthcare system to all the citizens across the world.  

  • Tuition Fee per Year: $14,256                                     
  • Total enrollment: 7,396
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

Ranking Methodology

This ranking was based on the analysis of best software data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the respective university websites. The schools were ranked based on tuition amounts per year, total enrollment, and Accreditation. All the factors were accorded equal points, and each school was assigned points based on how it compared with others on tuition amounts, total enrollment, and Accreditation. The points earned for both ranking factors were then added together to get each school’s total score. The school with the most points ranked first in the list, and the points were accorded down the list accordingly.

We strive to provide current and accurate information to our readers. If you’re associated with one of the schools we’ve ranked above, and you realize an error in the information provided, please feel free to contact us and let us know so we can make any necessary corrections.

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