Yale, 2U Team Up for Online Physician Assistant Program

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Yale and 2U have joined forces to launch the first physician assistant (PA) online degree program offered by storied university. The master’s degree will officially launch in 2016 and it caters to the growing need for physician assistant professionals in the country.

The online master’s program will offer enrolled students the same top quality learning experience as the one enjoyed by on-campus students minus the “financial burden and stress of relocating, while also encouraging PAs to learn and work in their local communities” the announcement by 2U, the cloud-based software-as-a-service platform, reports.

Enrollment will take place three times a year to ensure students can start their education as soon as they’re ready for the postgraduate program. The web-based master’s program will offer the full range of learning practices including live classes with face-to-face interaction, high-quality, interactive coursework, and clinical experience in the students’ community or region. Yale is to also offer a rotation at the Yale New Haven Hospital for interested students.

Chip Paucek, CEO and co-Founder of 2U highlighted in a statement the prioritization of clinical experience of the program:

“On-site clinical placements are critical in a field such as Physician Assistant, and 2U has extensive experience incorporating this hands-on curriculum component into an online program, having facilitated more than 20,000 placements as part of its university partner degree programs in nursing, social work and other fields,”

Glassdoor, a career website, ranks the Physician Assistant profession as the number 1 career in its list, the “25 Best Jobs in America for 2015″. In fact, the demand for PAs is forecasted to increase by 38% in the decade between 2012 and 2022.

To ensure students fully benefit from Yale’s quality of education, the program will also provide the postgrad students “in-person immersion experiences that allows students to collaborate with classmates and professors on-site at the Yale campus in New Haven, CT,” the 2U press release makes clear.

The PA master’s program director, James Van Rheen, said that students will be able to have the Yale experience during the first week of their online program, and before the end of their first year they will also attend Yale to learn clinical skills associated with their profession. Once their clinical practice year is completed, testing will also take place at Yale for all web-based students.

The partnership between 2U and Yale is proof that online degrees are no longer regarded inferior to on-campus programs,  Melissa of Wall Street Journal writes:

“[t]his program is the latest sign that online learning is gaining acceptance from the nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher education.”

With this online master’s program set to “launch at a time when the PA profession is projected to grow more rapidly than all occupations,” Yale contributes to the growing need of the Healthcare industry for PAs, and at the same time offers an opportunity to students throughout the US to enroll in the program even if they cannot relocate to New Haven.