Seton Hill program boasts 100% pass rate for first time takers of National Physician Assistant Certification Exam

Greensburg, PA – Seton Hill University’s program in Physician Assistant, until now an undergraduate program, has just received approval to grant a Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. At Seton Hill, students can now earn either a Master of Science degree or a combined Bachelor of Science/Master of Science in Physician Assistant. Certified physician assistants (PAs) often work in medically underserved areas and can provide 80% of the same services as primary care physicians – handling acute cases as well as chronic illnesses, writing prescriptions and providing short and long term care.

“We are very excited about the transition of our program to a graduate degree and the opportunities it will bring. The timing couldn’t be better,” said Program Director Cathy Shallenberger, MS, PA-C. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently named the physician assistant profession as the 3rd fastest growing profession through 2012 with an expected 49% increase in jobs. The market demand for PA’s is on the rise, and we are glad to be able to supply well trained, caring health care professionals to meet that demand.”

Physician Assistant Profession History – Dr. Eugene Stead of the Duke University Medical Center put together the first class of PAs in 1965, in response to a shortage of primary care physicians in the U.S., particularly in low-income and rural areas. Dr. Stead built his first class using Navy corpsmen who had received medical training in the military during the war in Vietnam, and who wanted to remain in the medical profession after returning to civilian life. Dr. Stead based his curriculum in part on his knowledge of the fast-track training of doctors during World War II.

Physician Assistants Today – Physician assistants are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine under physician supervision. PAs can elicit histories, perform physical examinations, order and interpret tests, diagnose and treat illnesses, assist in surgery and write prescriptions in most states.

Seton Hill University’s Physician Assistant Program – Seton Hill’s program is dedicated to educating students to become clinically competent PAs who deliver ‘patient-centered’ care that is ethically sound. During the first 15 months of Seton Hill’s program, students can expect a challenging curriculum of lectures, practical lab sessions, case presentations, interpretation of medical literature, case presentation, problem-based learning sessions and off-campus clinical interactions. The program continues with a 12 – 14 month clinical training year, involving intensive hands-on training through clinical rotations in local and rural health care facilities. In addition, each student will be involved in research, with the opportunity to choose from two research options: a Research Forum Series or an Advanced Clinical Practice. This full schedule of clinical and academic experiences prepares graduates to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE), a single national certification exam developed by the National Board of Medical Examiners and administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Seton Hill has a 100% pass rate for first time takers of the PANCE.

For more information on the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Program at Seton Hill, please visit or contact Assistant Director of Adult Studies Jenell Krymowski at 724-838-4283, or

Seton Hill, chartered in 1918, is a coeducational Catholic liberal arts university with more than 30 undergraduate programs and 8 graduate programs. Seton Hill brings the world to its students through its distinguished lecturers and nationally and internationally renowned centers. For more information on Seton Hill please visit or call 1-800-826-6234.