Career Pathways



Career Pathways

Collaborate in care

Are you looking for a healthcare career that combines your academic abilities with rewarding, one-on-one patient relationships, in the context of team-based care?

St. Catherine University's Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) program prepares you for a career practicing medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician. Physician assistants are increasingly common in all general practice settings, as well as in specialty areas, and are well-respected members of healthcare teams.

Physician assistants (PAs) are licensed health professionals who work in hospitals, clinics and other settings and perform medical services traditionally performed by physicians, including:

  • Taking medical histories
  • Performing physical exams
  • Ordering laboratory tests
  • Diagnosing illnesses
  • Treating illnesses
  • Counseling patients
  • Assisting in surgery
  • Writing prescriptions

PAs work under the supervision of licensed physicians and work in healthcare settings such as hospitals and clinics.

St. Kate's prepares you for career success by educating you to think like a clinician from the start, through lectures, labs and problem-based learning strategies, and 2,000 hours in clinical clerkships. You'll have frequent interaction with program faculty and staff who collaborate with you as you hone your professional skills.

Training and certification

PA programs are accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission for Physician Assistant programs. The average PA curriculum runs 26 months.  PAs must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination, administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

Students are eligible to take the exam after completing an accredited Physician Assistant program. Graduate-level preparation is considered the standard of education for PAs.

Career outlook

According to the 2008 Minnesota Department of Employment Labor Market Information Office, the projected employment growth for the PA profession from 2009-2019 is 43.5 percent, with anticipated growth strongest in rural and inner-city facilities.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections through 2018, physician assistants are among the top 10 fastest growing occupations.

Learn more about the physician assistant career outlook from the national Bureau of Labor Statistics or the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

For regional career information on the profession, see the Minnesota Academy of Physician Assistants web site.