WCU Launches Physician Assistant Program in California

Physician assistant treating child patient

We are excited to announce that West Coast University, which has been educating the next generation of healthcare professionals for more than 100 years, will be expanding access to its Physician Assistant program. WCU is launching a new MPA degree program in California to add to the one it already offers at the WCU-Texas campus.

The new program, which received its provisional accreditation from the ARC-PA in June of 2022, is accepting applications now and will enroll its first cohort of students in January 2023. (See the last section of this post for more information about our ARC-PA provisional accreditation.)

“At its core, our Physician Assistant program has been designed to produce clinically and culturally competent medical providers prepared to deliver compassionate and person-centric care to all communities served.”

Elizabeth Bunting, Program Director, WCU MPA of California Program

What to Expect in the MPA Degree Program in California

Once an MPA student has begun their classes, the path to commencement will take two years to complete with students splitting their time evenly between a year of (mostly online) class-based training and a year of fully on-site clinical training.

In the first year, students can expect synchronous and asynchronous classes combined with one week of on-site intensives (or in-person, immersive learning experiences) each trimester in the first year, and one at the end of the program. These on-site intensives will be held at WCU’s Center for Graduate Studies in Los Angeles.

In the second year, students will complete nine 5-week clinical rotations comprised of seven core rotations (emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, and women’s health) and two elective rotations (in any of the available core areas or a specialty practice).

Admission Requirements

Students who are interested in joining this first cohort must have completed their bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college – and all required prerequisite courses (applicants will be allowed to have one class pending in the fall) – by Sept. 1, 2022. Additionally, they must complete all steps in the application process by Dec. 1, 2022.

The steps in the application process include the following:

  • Completing a CASPA Application (Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants) with official transcripts for all previous higher education institutions attended
  • Submitting three letters of recommendation
  • Completing the supplemental admissions application
  • Participating in an admissions interview

Learn more about the California MPA degree program and its admissions requirements, or reach out to MPA Admissions at CGSGradAdmssions@westcoastuniversity.edu with any questions you have about enrollment.

ARC-PA Provisional Accreditation Disclosure

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the West Coast University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by West Coast University.

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation (if fully implemented as planned) of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards, or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-west-coast-university/.

To become a certified PA (PA-C), one must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). In addition, students must obtain state medical board registration/licensure. The licensure requirements will vary from state to state.

A PA may not begin working as a Physician Assistant in most states until he/she has successfully passed the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) AND has been licensed/registered by the state in which they practice. There may be exceptions for certain state licensures or for federal employment, such as the military and Veterans Administration. Failure to complete all necessary steps may constitute practicing medicine without a medical license. Upon graduation, students are responsible for ensuring they obtain all required licenses and certifications. West Coast University is not responsible for registration or licensing; the student is solely responsible for all such requirements and verifying proper authorizations to practice medicine have been obtained.

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.