Grants and Scholarships for Physician Assistants

Training to become a physician’s assistant can be a pricey proposition, no doubt about it. Since the degrees offered are usually Master’s and Bachelor’s, you can expect to be in school for at least two years (if you already have a bachelor’s degree in this field, or some experience as a nurse or paramedic) and even more if you do not. Accordingly, the cost to obtain your degree will be significant and possibly prohibitive. Luckily, there are plenty of grants and scholarships for physician assistants available.

This investment in your education pays off in the long run; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary to be $86,410 or $41.54 per hour. The job outlook is good, with a 30% increase in jobs expected in the period from 2010-2020.

Investigate Federal and State Funding Options First

The first step in securing funding for your education is to fill in and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application will determine your eligibility for the main federal grants (the Pell and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants) as well as any other applicable state-level funding options that use the FAFSA form to assess eligibility.

While these grants aren’t specifically for physician’s assistants, they can be used to fund almost any career, provided it is taught at a properly accredited institution. Since these grants also have the largest pool of available funds to draw  from, they are often your best source for securing funding.

It’s also worthwhile to investigate our grants and scholarships by state listings to see if there are other funding options independent of those which you are assessed when you submit your FAFSA.

Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

This government program provides money directly to accredited schools, who are then responsible for making it available to “financially needy students from disadvantaged backgrounds”, who are enrolled in health related professions and nursing programs. This includes physician assistants. While you won’t apply for this money from the government directly yourself, you will definitely want to inquire whether your school obtains funds from this source, and then, how you gain access to this funding. More details of the program can be found here!

Now it’s time to move on and see what else is available…

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Physician Assistant Foundation Annual Scholarship Program

physician assistantThis is funded by the American Academy of Physician Assistants, and provides over $1,000,000 in funding for those students pursuing a career in this field, doled out in chunks of $2,000.

To discover how to apply for your share of the money, visit your state chapter of the AAPA online (i.e., the Colorado Chapter, the Florida Chapter, and the Nebraska Chapter). We couldn’t find a complete listing online, so we recommend searching for the “name of your state” + “academy of physician assistants”  to find your state chapter. Applications must be made by January 15, and successful applicants will be chosen on the basis of numerous factors, which include academic performance and financial need.

The African Heritage Caucus of this same academy also awards scholarships to those minority students who are enrolled in a physician assistant program.

The Susan Vincent Memorial Scholarship

Available to residents of Maine, this $1,000 scholarshop is awarded by the Down East Association of Physician Assistants. Only 1 scholarship is provided per year, to a student training to become a PA.  According to the official regulations, applicants should “submit a brief statement detailing why she/he deserves and needs this scholarship.”

Association of Family Practice Physician Assistants (AFPPA) Scholarship

This scholarship is available to student members of the association who not surprisingly, are in their first or second year of training (students can join the AFPPA for a mere $25/year). First year students receive up to $1,000, while second year students get a little more; $1,500. Application guidelines are as follows according to the official web site…

  • Submit an essay (750 words or less) that describes your commitment to primary care medicine and how your current and past community involvement demonstrates this commitment. Also, describe efforts to support and promote the PA profession.
  • Complete the registration form and forward it to a faculty member, along with your statement. The faculty member then must complete the form and forward the registration form, faculty form, and statement from an official school e-mail address.

You can sign up to become a member of the AFPPA here, at which point you will be eligible to apply for their scholarship offerings.

Asian and Pacific Islander Physician Assistant (APIPA) Caucus Scholarships

This association awards two annual scholarships of $250 to student members who are pursuing a career as a PA. Applying is easy; simply fill in an application. You’ll need to include personal and academic information, as well as financial data and your community involvement. You must also provide a commentary (in 750 words or less) about one of the personal statements provided on the application.

More information about this scholarship can be found here, or you can call them at 917-209-4175.

Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP)

Run under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this goal of this program…

“…is to assist individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to undertake education to enter a health profession. The HCOP program works to build diversity in the health fields by providing students from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to develop the skills needed to successfully compete, enter and graduate from health professions schools.”

While this program is not specifically for physician assistants, it can certainly be applied towards such a program. More details on the program can be found here. Often you’ll find out more information close by, like at your local university. For example, here’s the HCOP information as it pertains to the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Good luck funding your physician assistant career!

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