20 Best Physician Assistant Programs in Long Beach, CA (2023 Updated)

The physician assistant (PA) profession has seen tremendous growth in recent years as a vital member of the healthcare team. PAs practice medicine with physician supervision, providing a broad range of medical and therapeutic services to diverse populations in a variety of settings. With excellent job prospects and strong projected growth, PA programs have become increasingly popular across California and the nation.

Choosing the right PA program is crucial to getting a well-rounded education with ample clinical experience. Important factors to consider include accreditation status, admissions requirements, curriculum, hands-on training opportunities, faculty qualifications, tuition costs, and graduate career support.

Here is a ranking of the top 20 PA programs in Long Beach, CA area based on academic excellence, quality of clinical rotations, and the success of program graduates.

1. Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Charles R. Drew University is a private university focused on cultivating diverse health professional leaders dedicated to social justice and health equity. Its ARC-PA accredited PA program offers a rigorous 27-month curriculum with early clinical experience and rotations at renowned medical centers across LA County.

Program Highlights:

  • Competency-based curriculum integrating lectures, small groups, simulations
  • Over 2,000 clinical training hours
  • Clinical rotations at renowned sites like UCLA, White Memorial Medical Center
  • Strong focus on leadership, cultural competency, social accountability
  • Excellent first-time PANCE pass rate
  • Tuition: $95,000 (fees included)

2. Western University of Health Sciences

Western University offers an intensive, full-time 27-month PA program across two campuses in Pomona, California and Lebanon, Oregon. The program provides early clinical experience and over 2,000 hours of clinical rotations.

Program Highlights

  • Year-round curriculumstarts in January
  • Primary care-focused training
  • Rotations across variety of settings
  • Team-based, patient-centered approach
  • First-time PANCE pass rate over 96%
  • Tuition: $119,225

3. Loma Linda University

The ACCREDITED PA program at Loma Linda University School of Allied Health Professions offers a 24-month curriculum that develops competent, compassionate PAs grounded in whole person care.

Program Highlights:

  • Emphasis on whole person care, preventative medicine
  • 1 year preclinical, 1 year clinical rotations
  • Rotations across LLU Medical Center and clinics
  • Pass rate on PANCE consistently over 96%
  • Tuition: $84,666

4. University of Southern California

The Primary Care Physician Assistant Program at USC’s Keck School of Medicine provides an intensive 2-year course focused on primary care, with special attention on care for underserved patients.

Program Highlights

  • Early clinical experiences at Los Angeles County clinics
  • Over 2,000 hours clinical rotations
  • Interprofessional education opportunities
  • First-time PANCE pass rate over 97%
  • Tuition: $120,000

5. Stanbridge University

Stanbridge University’s 27-month PA program equips students with clinical and critical thinking skills for delivering compassionate, ethical primary care. The program partners with community clinics, hospitals, and private practices for clinical training.

Program Highlights:

  • Hands-on training with latest technologies
  • Specialty elective rotations
  • Dedicated new campus building opened in 2021
  • Impressive PANCE pass rate
  • Tuition: $97,995

6. La Sierra University

La Sierra PA program promotes evidence-based practice and interprofessional training for roles in primary care and community health. The program focuses on underserved, multicultural communities.

Program Highlights

  • 27-month curriculum, no required undergraduate major
  • Faith-based university dedicated to student success
  • Clinicals organized by La Sierra faculty
  • First class graduated 2021 with 100% PANCE pass rate
  • Tuition: $79,500

7. Mount Saint Mary‘s University

The Faculty-Student Partnership Program (FSPP) is an innovative model where students progress in a supportive cohort track that fosters leadership and self-confidence.

Program Strengths

  • ACCREDITED curriculum designed for working professionals
  • Schedule friendly to part-time work with integrated phases
  • Specialty rotations in a variety of settings
  • Stellar first-time PANCE pass rate
  • Tuition: $93,120 ($2,400 in estimated additional fees)

8. California State University, Dominguez Hills

CSUDH offers an accredited 25-month primary care PA program with a focus on the promotion of health and prevention of diseases. Graduates are prepared for enhancing access to healthcare.

Program Highlights

  • Public university with affordable in-state tuition
  • Primary care focused curriculum and clinicals
  • FIRST CLASS will graduate in 2023
  • Committed to serving needs of surrounding local community members
  • Tuition: $39,600 + campus fees

9. California State University, Long Beach

CSULB‘s primary care PA program embraces innovation and interprofessional practice to optimize patients‘ health outcomes. The program aims to improve healthcare access to the diverse communities within Southern California.

Program Highlights:

  • Public university focused on healthcare workforce needs of state
  • Interprofessional education opportunities
  • Geriatrics across curriculum and clinical rotations
  • FIRST CLASS will graduate in 2023
  • CA resident tuition/fees: $46,212

10. Samuel Merritt University

Samuel Merritt‘s 27-month program located in Oakland focuses on progressive PA education connected to the latest advancements in clinical practice and technology.

Program Highlights:

  • Hands-on patient care starting first semester
  • Interprofessional simulation center
  • Clinical rotations with diverse patient populations
  • PANCE first-time pass rate over 96%
  • Tuition: $98,950

11. Touro University California

The ARC-PA accredited program offers a rigorous 27-month curriculum focused on providing culturally competent care. Graduates deliver exceptional, patient-centered primary care.

Program Highlights:

  • Public health focus
  • Early clinical experiences in first year
  • Rotations across Northern CA, emphasis on rural and underserved communities
  • Impressive 5-year first time PANCE average of 97%
  • Tuition: $110,000

12. Northeastern University

Northeastern’s Long Beach satellite offers an innovative PA program focused on patient advocacy and leadership. Students complete clinical rotations across diverse settings in Southern California.

Program Highlights:

  • Accelerated 24-month curriculum
  • Emphasis on patient advocacy and leadership
  • Interprofessional education opportunities
  • Extensive network of clinical sites
  • Tuition: $108,game550

13. West Coast University

WCU‘s accredited PA program helps working professionals transition into healthcare with evening and weekend courses and part-time clinicals. Graduates provide compassionate, quality care.

Program Highlights:

  • Designed for working professionals
  • Blended curriculum combining online and in-person instruction
  • Specialty clinical rotations
  • Impressive PANCE 5-year first time average 98%
  • Tuition: $101,900

14. Marshall B. Ketchum University

This 27-month program offers an innovative competency-based curriculum focused on interprofessional training and leadership development, with clinicals across partner sites in Southern California.

Program Strengths

  • Heavy focus on leadership training
  • Competency-based modules allow self-paced progression
  • Interprofessional education and simulations
  • Stellar PANCE first-time pass rate
  • Tuition: $93,830

15. Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine

Midwestern brings an established, ACCREDITED PA program to Glendale, AZ focused on leadership and primary care for rural and urban underserved populations.

Program Highlights:

  • New program launched in 2021, first class graduates 2024
  • Leadership development woven throughout curriculum
  • Clinical rotations emphasize care for underserved
  • Committed to advancing healthcare in AZ
  • Tuition: around $80,000

16. Boston University

BU offers an intensive 24-month accredited PA program in Los Angeles tailored to the healthcare needs of urban communities. Students complete clinicals at safety net clinics and academic medical centers.

Program Strengths:

  • Proven curriculum from nationally ranked PA program
  • Early clinical electives expose students to various fields
  • Senior year advanced rotations
  • Commitment to caring for underserved.
  • Tuition: $108,000

17. Kent State University

KSU brings their expertise in graduate-level education to California through a rigorous 25-month clinical doctorate program located in the Inland Empire.

Program Highlights

  • Well-established, accredited PA program
  • Clinical doctorate degree
  • Specialty rotations focused on preventative care
  • Pass rate well above national average
  • Tuition: $79,872/$102,601 (in-state/out-of-state)

18. Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac’s online PA program allows California students to complete didactic coursework online before progressing to clinical rotations at partner sites across CA.

Program Strengths

  • Flexible online didactic phase
  • Clinical experiences focused in CA
  • Curriculum prepares culturally competent PAs
  • Impressive 97.5% PANCE first time 5-year average
  • Tuition: $97,000

19. Bethel University

Bethel offers an accredited physician assistant program focused on whole person care and community health. The program emphasizes primary care clinical rotations across urban and rural settings.

Program Highlights:

  • Integrates public health and preventative medicine across curriculum
  • Early clinical experiences
  • Rotations organized across partner sites
  • First class graduated 2021 with 100% PANCE pass
  • Tuition: $89,500

20. South College

South College brings experience training over 2000 PAs to California through a rigorous, 27-month primary care focused program with clinical rotations across Southern California.

Program Strengths

  • Proven curriculum and excellent PANCE pass rates
  • Faculty experts in medical education and clinical practice
  • Hands-on experiences early and throughout
  • Rotations across varied settings
  • Tuition: $94,900

This ranking highlights some of the top PA programs in Long Beach area and greater Southern California from established institutions to innovative new programs. When researching programs, prospective students should consider accreditation, curriculum, clinical training opportunities, costs, and program outcomes. Finding the right fit is crucial for securing the strong medical foundation and hands-on experiences necessary to excel in any clinical environment. These programs prepare graduates not only to pass the PANCE exam, but also to provide excellent patient care while advancing the PA profession.

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