RRCC Physician Assistant Program Offers Master’s Degree

More information: Kimberly Rein, 303.914.6260

June 22, 2015

Red Rocks Community College Physician Assistant Program Offers Master’s Degree

LAKEWOOD, CO - Red Rocks Community College (RRCC) announced today it has received the final approval to confer a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) on graduates of the Physician Assistant (PA) program. The final approval received last week from the program’s accreditation agency marks the end of a five year process involving approval by the Colorado Legislature in 2013, the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission earlier in 2015. The program will begin advertising the graduate degree this fall with admissions for the degree opening spring 2016. The first MPAS class is expected to begin their studies fall 2017. 

President Michele Haney commented, “The RRCC Physician Assistant program has been a foundational health careers program here at Red Rocks since 1998. The approval to grant a master’s degree to our graduates will ensure the program continues to educate clinically competent physician assistants to care for underserved populations in Colorado and the nation. As far as we can determine, RRCC will be the first community college in the U.S. to offer a graduate degree.”

The MPAS graduate program will be crucial to inter-professional education at the new Health Sciences at Arvada, Colorado. The $22.5 million campus expansion is expected to house the RRCC Health Careers programs and is planned to open fall 2016.

About the Red Rocks Physician Assistant Program

The RRCC PA program’s mission is to train clinically competent and compassionate physician assistants to provide primary care to the medically underserved.

Each year the RRCC PA program graduates about 32 physician assistants, each of whom, on average, will see 5,000 patients per year. Primary care physician assistants can perform approximately 80-90% of the same patient care tasks as their supervising physicians, including evaluation of patients, physical exams, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, routine office procedures, prescribing medications, patient education, and follow up.

The RRCC Physician Assistant program currently offers courses leading to a certificate in PA Studies and prepares the student for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), which is administered by the National Commission for the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Upon passage of the PANCE, graduates are eligible for licensure in any state. The program has been granted the status of “Accreditation-Continued” by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). For additional information about the program visit http://www.rrcc.edu/physician-assistant .

More about Red Rocks Community College: Established in 1969, Red Rocks Community College delivers high-quality, affordable education programs leading to two-year degrees or professional certificates. The college serves over 15,000 students per year online and at campus locations in Lakewood and Arvada. www.rrcc.edu.

Monday, June 22, 2015