About PAEA

Professor in front of blackboard pointing to one of the students with hand raised

PAEA is the only national organization representing physician assistant educational programs in the United States. Currently, all of the accredited programs in the country are members of the Association. PAEA provides services for faculty at its member programs, as well as to applicants, students, and other stakeholders.

The Association was founded in 1972 as the Association of Physician Assistant Programs. Member programs voted to adopt the current name in 2005.

For a searchable directory of member PA programs go to the PA Program Directory.

Mission and Governance

PAEA serves as a resource for individuals and organizations from various professional sectors interested in the educational aspects of the PA profession. The Association is the organization primarily responsible for collecting, publishing, and disseminating information on the PA programs. PAEA provides effective representation to affiliated organizations involved in health education, health care policy, and the national certification of PA graduates. PAEA works to ensure quality PA education through the development and distribution of educational services and products specifically geared toward meeting the emerging needs of PA programs, the PA profession, and the health care industry.


PAEA Strategic Plan– August 2013

PAEA Bylaws – November 2015

PAEA Policies and Procedures Manual – December 2015

PAEA Statement on Master’s Degree as Entry-Level and Terminal Degree for PA Profession

PAEA has issued an official statement on behalf of the PAEA Board of Directors on degrees for physician assistants. The statement embodies two position policies adopted by the membership at the 2009 Education Forum that endorse the master’s degree as the entry-level and terminal degree of the profession and oppose the entry-level doctorate for PAs. The 2009 position policies followed on the recommendations from the Clinical Doctorate Summit, convened by PAEA and AAPA in March 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia, with the goal of developing recommendations about whether a clinical doctorate degree was appropriate for the PA profession.

PAEA member programs and faculty who would like a copy of this statement should contact Olivia Ziegler, at oziegler@PAEAonline.org.


PAEA’s mission is to pursue excellence, foster faculty development, advance the body of knowledge that defines quality education and patient-centered care, and promote diversity in all aspects of physician assistant education.

To accomplish its mission, PAEA seeks to:

  • Encourage and assist programs to educate competent and compassionate physician assistants.
  • Enhance programs’ capability to recruit, select, and retain well-qualified PA students.
  • Support programs in the recruitment, selection, development, and retention of well-qualified faculty.
  • Facilitate the pursuit and dissemination of research and scholarly work.
  • Educate PAs who will practice evidence-based, patient-centered medicine.
  • Serve as the definitive voice on matters related to entry-level PA education, nationally and internationally.
  • Foster professionalism and innovation in health professions education.
  • Promote interprofessional education and practice.
  • Forge linkages with other organizations to advance its mission.

Vision Statement

To improve the quality of health care for all people by fostering excellence in physician assistant education.

Value Statement

We uphold the values of collegiality, scholarship, excellence, service, diversity, ethical behavior, integrity, and respect.