Since many individuals now have access to insurance through the Affordable Care Act,
there is a need for more licensed health care providers to treat them. Physician assistants
are one of the fastest-growing professions in this country, and Towson University/CCBC-Essex
offers one of the nation’s most established programs.
Physician assistants are highly skilled health care providers. This program is designed
for students with completed bachelor’s or master’s degrees. Full-time, continuous
enrollment is required throughout the 98-credit, 26-month program.
"Towson University fosters intellectual inquiry and critical thinking preparing graduates
who will serve as effective, ethical leaders and engaged citizens. Through a foundation
in the liberal arts, an emphasis on rigorous academic standards, and the creation
of small learning environments, we are committed to providing a collaborative, interdisciplinary
and inter-professional atmosphere, excellence in teaching, leadership development,
civic engagement, and applied and sponsored research opportunities at the undergraduate
and graduate levels. Our graduates leave Towson University with the vision, creativity
and adaptability to craft solutions that enrich the culture, society, economy, and
environment of Maryland, the region, and beyond."
PA Program Mission, Vision, Values and Goals
The Physician Assistant Studies Program revised its Mission, Vision and Goals for
2021-2022 as of November 4th, 2021. Outcomes from the prior 2019-2020 goals included
integrating interprofessional educational experiences into the PA curriculum. PA
students participated in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Towson University
Open School Chapter learning events where they applied principles related to quality
improvement, leadership and team building to improve patient safety and health outcomes.
For additional information on our achievements, please see the updated Mission, Vision, and Goals (PDF).
Our PA Program educates and empowers resilient graduates to practice collaborative,
evidence-based medicine in the ever-changing and diverse health care environment.
Our PA Program is renowned for excellence in PA education, leadership, and innovative
approaches to interprofessional practice.
Our PA Program values are:
Goal 1: For each student cohort, the program will provide the highest level of PA
education, medical competencies, and professionalism. Benchmarked by results on the
5 program learning outcomes.
Goal 2: The program will maintain a PANCE pass rate at or above 95% with each graduating
Goal 3: With each admissions cycle, the program will continue to enhance and strengthen
the admission process to create a diverse student population that is reflective of
the communities we serve. Benchmarked by current census data.
Goal 4: The program will provide each student with opportunities for interprofessional
collaborative experiences (IPE) and a foundation for leadership, clinical oriented
research, and continued life-long learning. Benchmarked by participation in at least
2 IPE educational activities per year.
Competencies for the PA Profession
knowledge for practice
interpersonal and communication skills
professionalism and ethics
practice based learning and quality improvement
society and population health
These core competencies for the PA profession were developed through collaborative efforts between Physician
Assistant Education Association (PAEA), the National Commission on Certification of
Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and the Accreditation Review Commission on Education
for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).
Core Competencies for New PA Graduates
patient-centered practice knowledge
society and population health
health literacy and communication
interprofessional collaborative practice and leadership
professional and legal aspects of health care
health care finance and systems
These core competencies for the new PA graduates were developed by Physician Assistant Education Association
Medical Knowledge: demonstrate core knowledge about biomedical and clinical sciences and the application
of this knowledge to patient care.
Interpersonal and Communication Skills: demonstrate verbal, nonverbal and written communication skills that result in effective
information exchange with patients and all other persons regarding the health care
Patient Care: demonstrate care that is effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable
for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of wellness.
Professionalism: demonstrate a high level of responsibility, ethical practice, sensitivity to a diverse
patient population and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements.
Systems-Based Practice: demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger system of health care
to provide patient care that is of optimal value. Also incorporated within this goal
is that students will use technologies to identify, retrieve, and apply relevant information.
NOTE: A new prerequisite for the upcoming admissions cycle (summer 2023) isHLTH 207 Health Care in the United States or its equivalent at another college or university. This course must be at least 3
credits and, as with all of the prerequisites, you must earn an A or B in the course. The application for summer 2023 opens April 2022.
Additionally, for international students, there is a change to the TOEFL minimum score requirements.
A minimum TOEFL score of 25 is required on the Speaking section. A minimum score
of 20 is required for all other sections (Listening, Reading, and Writing). Students
should have a total score of an 85.
Student Attrition Information
In compliance with the ARC-PA Accreditation Standards (5th Edition), the program will
provide the most current annual attrition information.
At its September 2021 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant,
Inc. (ARC-PA) placed the Towson University CCBC Essex Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Towson University on Accreditation-Probation status until its next review in September 2023.
Probation accreditation is a temporary accreditation status initially of not less
than two years. However, that period may be extended by the ARC-PA for up to an additional
two years if the ARC-PA finds that the program is making substantial progress toward
meeting all applicable standards but requires additional time to come into full compliance.
Probation accreditation status is granted, at the sole discretion of the ARC-PA, when
a program holding an accreditation status of Accreditation - Provisional or Accreditation
- Continued does not, in the judgment of the ARC-PA, meet the Standards or when the
capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its
students is threatened. Once placed on probation, a program that fails to comply with
accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be
scheduled for a focused site visit and is subject to having its accreditation withdrawn.
Specific questions regarding the Program and its plans should be directed to the Program
Director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s).
Individuals who successfully complete the program are eligible for certification by
the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Graduates
of the Towson University/CCBC-Essex PA program have consistently scored well on the
Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE), and have achieved a 100%
first time pass rate for the class of 2020, surpassing the national exam pass rate
Join a strong network of successful alumni around the country. More than 1,000 program
graduates are employed in a wide variety of medical settings in regional, national
and international locations.
A History of Success
The oldest and most established program in Maryland, the CCBC-Essex physician assistant
program began in 1972 as a cooperative effort with the Johns Hopkins University and
Franklin Square Hospital. Now a collaborative effort of CCBC-Essex and Towson University,
the program has undergone a dynamic evolution in its 40-year history.
A Vital Role
Make a direct impact on patients and their families. Working as part of the medical
team, physician assistants practice medicine by performing patient histories and physical
examination, ordering or performing laboratory tests, and analyzing medical data to
formulate diagnoses and develop care management plans.