The Physician Assistant Life

How Much Does it Cost to go to Physician Assistant (PA) School?

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GO TO PA SCHOOLSo you are considering PA school great, now what?

With the average undergraduate education debt prior to PA school at $36,300 and the average anticipated debt load from PA school at $75,000-$124,000 it's probably time to ask the next logical question:

How much does PA school cost?

Like most college and advanced degree programs in the United States the price of PA school is rising.

Based on current data supplied by the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Physician Assistant Education Association PA Program Directory:

Average Cost Across all PA Schools for the 2015-2016 Application Cycle is as Follows:

  • Cost of resident tuition (in-state) for average 26.4 month physician assistant program in 2015: $65,564
  • Cost of non-resident tuition (out-of-state) for average 26.4 month physician assistant program in 2015: $76,134

Cost of Public vs. Private PA Programs:

Public PA programs represent a significant cost savings. Today, 62.5% of PA programs are private, while only 35.6% are public.

  • The average resident tuition (in-state) for public institutions is: $38,794
  • The average resident tuition (in-state) for private institutions is: $74,426
  • The average non-resident tuition (out-of-state) for public institutions is: $68,311
  • The average non-resident tuition (out-of-state) for private institutions is: $74,523

Average Costs of PA Program Fees Public vs. Private

  • Physician assistant program fees at public institution: $5,937
  • Physician assistant program fees at private institution: $4,672

The good news is that these are averages, so the price of pa school is variable and based on factors such as private vs. public institutions, location, fees, etc. etc. For a detailed comparison of tuition cost by school make sure to check out my 2015 pa school cost comparison table or visit my paschoolfinder pa program directory website.

How much did I pay to go to PA School?

When I was attending the Rutgers University PA program in 2001 the annual tuition was approximately $10,000 per year.  Since this was a 3-year program my total cost, minus fees, was $30,000.

I was one of the lucky few who received a stipend from the National Health Service Corps and had my PA school paid for. I would suggest you look into this program as well.

How much would my same PA program cost in 2015-2016?

Here is the breakdown of my school (Rutgers) and the projected annual cost of tuition and fees for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Since they use a rather confusing credit system (this is common among PA programs) I will provide a breakdown here.

Cost of Rutgers Physician Assistant Program in 2015-2016

  • $640 per credit for residents
  • $969 per credit for non-residents

Classes and Credits:

First Professional Year

Fall Semester

Credits

Spring Semester

Credits

Microbiology 7 Integrated Anatomy & Physiology 5
Integrated Anatomy & Physiology 5 Pathology 5
Cellular & Genetic Mechanisms 4 Human Development/ Health Maintenance 3
Biochemistry 3 Neuroanatomy 2
Professionalism I 1 Electrocardiography 2
Introduction to Scientific Inquiry 1 Clinical Laboratory 3
Medical Ethics 1 Systems Histology 1

Total Credits

22

Total Credits

21

Summer Semester

Credits

Applied Clinical Research

3

Second Professional Year
Fall Semester

Credits

Spring Semester

Credits

Clinical Medicine I 11 Clinical Medicine II 2
Physical Diagnosis 3 Clinical Nutrition 1
Introduction to Radiology I 2 Psychiatry 3
Pharmacology 3 Introduction to Radiology II 1
Medical Interviewing 3 Introduction to Clinical Clerkships 2
Applied Clinical Correlates

1

Physician Assistant Internship I

12

Total Credits

23

Total Credits

21

   
Summer Semester

Credits

 

Physician Assistant Internship II

8

   
Third Professional Year
Fall Semester

Credits

Spring Semester

Credits

Physician Assistant Internship III

12

Physician Assistant Internship IV

12

Professionalism II 1

Total Credits

12

Total Credits

13

Total Credits: 123

Breakdown of in-state tuition cost:

  • First Professional Year
    • 22 + 21 + 3 = 46 credits x $640 per credit = $29,440
  • Second Professional Year
    • 23 + 21 + 8 = 52 credits x $640 per credit = $33,280
  • Third Professional Year
    • 12 + 13 = 25 credits x $640 per credit = $16,000

Total cost of in-state tuition for the 2015-2016 academic year:  $78,720   (cost in 2012: $69,524)

Breakdown of out-of-state tuition cost:

  • First Professional Year
    • 22 + 21 + 3 = 46 credits x $969 per credit = $44,574
  • Second Professional Year
    • 23 + 21 + 8 = 52 credits x $969 per credit = $50,388
  • Third Professional Year
    • 12 + 13 = 25 credits x $969 per credit = $24,225

Total cost of out-of state tuition for the 2015-2016 academic school year: $119,187

How about the Fees?

  • $10.00 Program fee per credit x 123 credits = $1,230
  • $250.00 Technology Fee with a course load of 6 credits or more
  • $50.00 General Service Fee *one-time fee
  • $75.00 Non-Refundable Registration Fee for Non-Matriculated students
  • $50.00 for Late Registration for Matriculated students
  • $100.00 Continuing Program Status Fee
  • $100.00 Maintaining Matriculation Fee
  • $ 85.00 Criminal Background Check Fee
  • The Student Health Services Fee is $350

Total in Fees:  $ 2,290

In a later blog post I will be discussing the cost of books, medical supplies and general living expenses. Unless you attend PA school on a part-time basis it is difficult to maintain a job along with a full time PA school curriculum.

Also, you may have noticed that Rutgers University has a three year PA school curriculum. How does this compare with shorter programs?

Take a look at the 2015 comparison table.

How much did your PA school cost?

Is it worth it?

Feel free to leave share your comments below.

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