Physician Assistant

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SJVC’s Physician Assistant program prepares students to work as health professionals and to practice medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician. Students learn to collect and evaluate medical data and participate in the process of clinical decision–making. Graduates are prepared to provide diagnosis and therapeutic management as it relates to their patients and their position in the health care field.

Train to be a physician assistant at SJVC.

Students Will Learn
Throughout SJVC’s Physician Assistant program, students learn how to:

  • • Conduct physical examinations
  • • Order & interpret laboratory tests
  • • Diagnose patients
  • • Determine treatment plans
  • • Counsel patients

Program Outcomes
Graduates will earn an Associate of Science degree, and can do so in approximately 24 months.

Graduates are eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). PANCE is the initial exam required to become a certified Physician Assistant (PA). A credentialed PA is recognized by the Physician Assistant Board as being academically and clinically prepared to provide health care services with the direction and responsible supervision of a doctor of medicine or osteopathy.

Within the physician-PA relationship, physician assistants make clinical decisions and provide a broad range of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and health maintenance services. The clinical role of PAs includes primary and specialty care in medical and surgical practice settings. PA practice is centered on patient care and may include educational, research and administrative activities.

Physician Assistant practice specialties range from Family Medicine to Neurosurgery. Physician Assistants work in:

  • • Rural ambulatory clinics
  • • Community hospitals
  • • Solo & group practices
  • • Veteran & military facilities
  • • Academic teaching hospitals
  • • Urban emergency rooms

The Physician Assistant program is available in:

Application Process

The San Joaquin Valley College (SJVC) Physician Assistant program start date previously scheduled for August 2014 has been postponed until further notice. College administration expects to determine and announce any future start dates for the Physician Assistant program in the summer of 2014.

SJVC is not currently accepting applications for the Physician Assistant Program. Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the ARC-PA website for a list of accredited Physician Assistant programs which are currently accepting applications.

Individuals who are specifically interested in a potential future start date of the SJVC Physician Assistant program may refer to the admissions requirements and prerequisite courses detailed here. The College is not currently planning any change to these standards for potential future start dates.

Program Details
The Physician Assistant Program is divided into three consecutive phases of instruction over the period of two years, and is accredited by ARC-PA. The program carries an intense workload and it is recommended that students do not work while completing their studies. As students start their clinical coursework, schedules are determined by the clinical site. Students are expected to be on clinical rotations a minimum of 128 hours per month. No special concessions are granted for working students. Upon successful completion of all 96 units of coursework, an A.S. degree is awarded.

View the course listing.

View Admission Requirements and learn more about the Application Process.

Mission of the Physician Assistant Program
The mission of SJVC’s Physician Assistant program is to educate and train students to become primary care physician assistants. The program aims to improve health care for rural, multi-cultural and underserved populations of the California Central Valley.


  • • Provide education and training in primary care medicine to students who are interested in becoming physician assistants
  • • Add to the supply of primary care services in rural communities
  • • Increase careers in the health care professions for members of rural, disadvantaged groups
  • • Contribute knowledge, expertise and service to the community

Information on the Physician Assistant program can be found in the college catalog supplement. For further information, visit the college catalog.

View more information on SJVC’s Physician Assistant program’s accreditation, continuing education, Board Pass Rates and tuition.

Institutional Accreditation
San Joaquin Valley College is regionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

Programmatic Accreditation
At its March 2012 meeting, Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) voted to place the San Joaquin Valley College Physician Assistant program on Probation until its next comprehensive review in March 2014.

Accreditation – Probation is a temporary status of accreditation conferred when a program does not meet the Standards and when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened. Once placed on probation, programs that still fail to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and/or risk having their accreditation withdrawn. Specific questions regarding the Program and its plans should be directed to the Program Director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s).

For more information, please visit the SJVC Physician Assistant Admissions FAQ page.

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Associate of Science Degree

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