Physician Assistant Preceptors

Thank you for your contribution in training Northwestern College PA students to become exceptional medical providers. Below you will find information to assist in your role as a clinical preceptor. Program staff are also available to assist you and answer any questions you may have.  

Why precept?

Preceptors play an integral role in the education of PA students. Any physician (MD/DO), PA, NP or psychologist can precept. The clinical instruction and mentoring you provide can encourage students to become valuable members of your provider team following graduation.

Apart from the many perks Northwestern College provides its preceptors, the personal satisfaction of giving back to your profession and involvement in the development of a future healthcare provider can be incredibly rewarding.

I believe the enjoyment of instructing, the intellectual challenge of staying current and helping to train the next generation of providers outweighs any burden it might cause.

Philip Van De Griend, MD, Orange City Area Health System

What do preceptors do?

Preceptors maintain full responsibility for the patient's medical care and treatment but involve students in learning opportunities similar to a third- or fourth-year medical student. By receiving direct supervision while they interact with patients, students can develop the clinical knowledge and skills needed to be an excellent PA on the healthcare team.

Clinical experiences

During clinical rotations, students are required to interact with select diagnoses and perform or observe certain procedures.

Required clinical experiences

Collaborate & mentor

Preceptors are uniquely positioned to mentor students in developing strong leadership, consulting and communication in addition to medical knowledge and skills. Students can be involved in all aspects of medical practice, receiving a well-rounded education.

Northwestern’s PA program will provide support and assistance with all required clinical evaluations, and students are responsible for tracking their own clinical experiences and progress so that preceptors can focus on teaching and mentoring. PA students are advised that preceptors are not allowed to provide care for the student during the rotation experience, pro bono or otherwise.


Northwestern College has applied for Accreditation–Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Northwestern College anticipates matriculating its first class in May 2020, pending achieving Accreditation–Provisional status at the September 2019 ARC-PA meeting. 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. Should Northwestern College not receive Accreditation–Provisional, the program will not be permitted to start in May 2020.