M.S. Physician Assistant  Goals and Outcomes

Cohorts begin early Summer | Program length 27 months | Credits  116 | Format In-person, full time

PA program goals 

  1. Exceptional training
    To prepare students with the knowledge and skills necessary for entry into practice as a physician assistant to serve in all communities with an emphasis on rural and underserved populations.
  2. Faith integration
    To integrate biblical teaching into the medical curriculum so graduates are prepared to serve with integrity and compassion.
  3. Leadership preparation
    To train physician assistants who are collaborative leaders in their field, working with others to provide optimal medical care to patients.
  4. Diverse learning
    To provide an inclusive learning environment that enhances cultural competence and understanding  of others.

Program effectiveness data

Learn more about the program's effectiveness data and success in achieving program goals. 


Program competencies

The NWC PA Program has defined competencies that all graduates must demonstrate prior to graduation. The curriculum is designed to prepare students in each of these competencies so that each graduate is ready for clinical practice.

  1. Demonstrate acquisition of essential medical knowledge to provide individualized care for patients across the lifespan in a variety of clinical settings
  2. Integrate biomedical science knowledge with patient case scenarios to optimize patient outcomes
  1. Gather patient information appropriately through an organized and complete history and physical exam
  2. Perform clinical and technical skills, including procedures required by the program, safely and effectively
  3. Document and deliver oral presentation of patient interactions correctly and in accordance with legal requirements for a variety of clinical settings
  1. Accurately interpret lab and imaging tests, and appropriately apply the results to the patient’s situation
  2. Integrate clinical findings to develop differential diagnoses with appropriate assessments for patients across the lifespan
  3. Synthesize clinical findings to develop individualized preventative care and treatment plans for patients across the lifespan
  4. Critically analyze medical literature and apply findings to specific research questions and patient care scenarios to demonstrate evidence-based decision making
  1. Conduct patient communication, education, and counseling in an effective, empathetic, and culturally humble manner for patient-centered care across the lifespan
  2. Communicate and collaborate with other medical professionals to provide quality, patient-centered care
  1. Formulate a personal approach to medical care, considering how their worldview interacts with the worldviews and individual needs of patients and their families, with cultural humility
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the physician assistant profession, including ethical, legal, financial, and regulatory guidelines for practicing within the larger healthcare system
  3. Conduct self-assessment demonstrating an understanding of their own limitations and biases, leading to appropriate professional development and help-seeking behavior
  4. Demonstrate understanding of population health, including the role of social determinants of health, patient advocacy, and resource identification, including unique characteristics of rural health care

Student attrition

Learn more about the program's student attrition data

NCCPA PANCE first-time pass rate

View Northwestern College's NCCPA Exam Pass Rates for more information on the graduate's PANCE performance. 


The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Northwestern College Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Northwestern College

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 http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-northwestern-college.