Sullivan University assistant program receives accreditation boost

The Sullivan University Physician Assistant Program–which was founded just four years ago–has received a major accreditation boost.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Sullivan University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Sullivan University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2028. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

Accreditation-Continued is achieved by successfully building upon the standards set forth by the Accreditation Review Commission on Physician Assistant Education and completing the three stages of Accreditation-Provisional-Initial, Monitoring and Final.

While accreditation is considered a voluntary process, graduation from an ARC-PA accredited PA program is essential for practice as a physician assistant in the United States. Graduation from an accredited program is an eligibility requirement for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physicians Assistants (NCCPA) and for state licensure.

PA, Defined

Physician assistants–commonly referred to as PAs–practice medicine as part of a team with the supervision of physicians. They are formally educated as generalists who examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses and provide treatment. Students prepare for a professional role as clinicians with an emphasis on care in the primary care setting and preventive healthcare, as well as acute and chronic disease management.

PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel onpreventive healthcare, assist in surgery, and can write prescriptions in all states. In working closely with doctors, PAs are authorized and trained to make medical decisions and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services.

Sullivan University launched its Physician Assistant program in 2014. In doing so, Sullivan became the first university in Louisville, and only the third in Kentucky, to offer a Physician Assistant degree program. Graduates of the program receive a Master of Science in Physician Assistant (MSPA).

Physician Assistant graduates have strong career opportunities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 37 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

“Career prospects in the healthcare industry are exciting for Sullivan University Physician Assistant graduates,” Gaskins said. “Every graduate of our first two classes has passed their Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and are eligible for licensure in each of the 50 states.

“Sullivan University PA graduates are working in a large variety of medical specialties where they are increasing access to quality healthcare in the Louisville area, as well as, in several states literally all across the nation,” he said. “New York to California, Washington state to Florida, Texas to Minnesota and points between.”


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