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Physician Assistant Department

Steeping in History, Committed to the Future

While our program is one of the oldest in the nation, we are continually looking forward to cutting-edge research and advancements within this exciting field so that our graduates excel in the quickly growing PA job sector.

Physician Assistant Department

The Physician Assistant Department’s PA program, one of the nation’s oldest and largest, is pledged to providing students with the most current and finest preparatory training available. Employing continuous curricular analysis, assessment of the best clinical practices, and utilization of state-of-the art in educational technologies, program graduates are eminently prepared to undertake their roles as professional health care practitioners.
The Physician Assistant profession is one of the fastest growing and highly regarded professions in the country. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has consistently ranked the profession among the 30 fastest growing occupations. We are committed to providing the education and training needed to enter this exciting job sector.
We offer a Physician Assistant Master’s (PA) Program and a PA Post-Professional Master’s Program. Please explore our web pages for a wealth of information about our programs, students, faculty, research and clinical practice.


Master of Health Science - Physician Assistant
As a PA, you will complement the practice style of the supervising physician or physicians.

The PA Post-Professional Master's Program
Receive personalized professional development through an adult learner model.

Physician Assistant Faculty

View Profiles

History of Physician Assistant Program

News & Events



New employment projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show the impact of the national movement to improve health and care delivery. Over the next 10 years, health care occupations will be the leading source of job creation in the United States. The health care sector and social services sector will account for nearly 40% of the net increase in employment through 2024, adding 3.8 million jobs. Wow!

The 10-year forecast also highlights important increases in specific health professions.

  • The nurse practitioner occupation is expected to grow at an extraordinary rate of 35% -- that is five times that of the overall rate of growth in employment in the nation’s economy. 45,000 jobs will be added. As home and office delivery of services becomes increasingly important in health care, much of this gain will be in the ambulatory care sector.
  • The demand for new RNs is also high, with a projected 16% rise in employment adding about 440,000 new positions and accounting for about half of all health diagnosing and treatment job gains.
  • Physician Assistants are expected to see employment rise by 31%, adding about 28,000 jobs over the decade.
  • Physical Therapy employment is projected to grow by 72,000 jobs over the decade, representing a 34% rate of growth.

As we start a new year full of new resolutions, I encourage everyone to reflect on their career aspirations. You are a part of a phenomenal industry with more opportunity than most. I commend you all for choosing professions in the health care sector, and I look forward to seeing the innovations and improvements in health care this increase in labor force will allow.

Begin your winter term knowing you made a good decision that will afford you a sound future.

Gloria F. Donnelly, PhD, RN, FAAN, FCPP

Dean and Professor


CNHP 2015 Holiday Gathering for Faculty and Staff
December 15, 2015
3 – 4:30 p.m.
Three Parkway
6th Floor Student Lounge and Classrooms
Universal Design for Learning: Is it Universal?
Part of the 2016 “Raising the Bar” webinar series
January 12, 2016
11 a.m. -  1 p.m.
Evidence Based Practice Nursing Colloquium
February 10, 2016
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Drexel University 
Creese Student Center, Behrakis Grand Hall
3210 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Transforming the Educational Landscape: Simulation, Innovation and Technology
March 14-15, 2016
Hilton Clearwater Beach
400 Mandalay Ave
Clearwater, FL 33767
Department of Creative Arts Therapies Reception for Music Therapy Alumni
March 19, 2016
Hilton of Harrisburg
1 N. 2nd Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Held in conjunction with the American Music Therapy Association Mid-Atlantic Region Conference call 1.888.DU.GRADS to RSVP
Screen Capture Tools – Common and Uncommon Uses
Part of the 2016 “Raising the Bar” webinar series
April 12, 2016
11 a.m. -  1 p.m.
Forensic Trends in Health Care
April 15-17, 2016
Drexel University Center City Campus
Philadelphia, PA
Save the Date 
More details to follow
Physician Assistant Board Review Course
March 21-23, 2016
Center City Campus
Alumni Weekend 
May 6-7, 2016
Alumni Weekend is the largest and most exciting event to bring alumni back to campus each year! The Class of 1966 will be inducted into the Golden Dragon Society at the annual luncheon and recognize outstanding class members. The Class of 1991 will become Silver Dragons, as they celebrate 25 years since they were students at Drexel. If you graduated in 1966 or 1991 and you would like to help plan your reunion celebration at Alumni Weekend, as well as invite your classmates back to campus, contact Lauren Villanueva BA '04, MS '10, executive director of alumni relations at
All alumni are invited and encouraged to attend events throughout the weekend. Stay tuned for more information coming soon!


The physician assistant (PA) profession is deeply rooted in the military with ties dating back to 1965 – the year the nation’s first “physician assistant” educational program was inaugurated at Duke University. The Program accepted four former Navy medical corpsmen. Other veterans were inspired by this potential career path, thanks in part to a Reader’s Digest article about careers in health care noting the PA profession and a White House Conference on Health that same year that discussed the use of former military corpsmen/medics as “assistant medical officers,” and inquiries began to flood.
The PA profession remains a well-suited choice for many veterans, some of whom have years of hands-on medical experience in combat under their belt prior to beginning the next phase of their lives as civilians. Reflecting on Veteran’s Day, two second-year PA students at Drexel tell their stories.
Dennis Asay, a former Navy Corpsman, was a field medical service technician during his service. After he decided to switch gears and pursue a health care education instead of the business education he was getting at the time, Asay decided the military was the best path for him. “The tuition benefits of the military appealed to me. I went in open to anything, and I chose Navy Corpsman,” he said.
For his service, Asay received the Non Commissioned Officers Association Navy Vanguard Award. An article announcing his recognition in the Fall 2011 NCOA Journal states that over the course of a three-week period “…Dennis Asay was involved in three separate engagements saving the lives of four Marines while under direct enemy fire.” These acts of heroism included rendering medical aid following an explosion; exposing himself to fire to assess and treat a Marine suffering a chest wound; and rendering life-saving care and successful evacuations of wounded Marines.
When asked if his experience as a Navy Corpsman has prepared him for his work in the PA profession, Asay said, “My time overseas was mainly focused around a lot of combat. You’re working on small teams with your friends, so it’s hard to compare. But on that note, it’s also a much deeper level when you’re charged with applying that care to people you already know and care about.”
Michael Rigatti is also a former Navy Corpsman, who spent six years in active duty. During part of that time, he served a role that allowed him to carry out work similar in nature to that of a PA. He credits this experience with giving him confidence. “Being a Corpsman gives you the confidence that you’ve taken care of patients in the past and you can do it again,” said Rigatti. “I’m fortunate to have had that opportunity in the Navy – it’s made me much more comfortable as a future PA.”
Both Rigatti and Asay agree that their military experience and perspectives as veterans helped solidify their career choice. “My experience in field trauma and the other medical experience I had from back in the states with clinical hours, combined with working with PAs and MDs, seeing how each operated and talking with those who were directly supervising me, I felt like the PA profession was right for me,” said Asay, who also noted that he would consider the possibility of working on military bases after he completes the PA Program. “If the option presents itself, I would definitely take it.”
“I chose the medical field, because I wanted an opportunity that would afford me some career possibilities in the civilian sector,” said Rigatti. According to Asay, this is an issue for many veterans who find themselves without options or unsure of what career to pursue, despite the fact that they have hands-on experience that’s directly related to a number of civilian professions.
As a veteran, Rigatti continues to volunteer, giving back to other veterans. “I instruct group kayaking with a group called Team River Runner. Whenever I’m on break (from PA school), I volunteer my time to help support other wounded warrior veterans.”
From all of us at the College and Nursing and Health Professions, in the spirit of Veterans Day, we’d like to thank Dennis, Michael and all of the other veterans among our students, staff and faculty members for their bravery and service.


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