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Accreditation Status and Program Response

Please read both sections below. The first is notification of a change in accreditation status and the second is an important program response to this change.

Change in Accreditation Status

At its March 2013 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) voted to place the Medical University of South Carolina Physician Assistant program on Accreditation - Probation until its next validation review in March 2015.

Probation is a temporary status of accreditation limited to two years and conferred when a program does not meet the Standards and when the capability of a program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened.

Once placed on probation, a program that still fails to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and/or risk having their accreditation withdrawn.

Specific questions regarding the program and its plans should be directed to the program director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s). Please See below

Institutional Response to Change in Accreditation Status

  • We are clearly disappointed in this change in our accreditation status as we were accredited for 5 years following our last accreditation review and we have been an accredited program since 1995. However, we will use this event as an opportunity to improve the program in order to best meet the needs of our students, our alumni, and the future patients of our graduates.
  • We are fully dedicated to exceeding all expectations for optimal performance as determined by our accreditation commission (ARC-PA) and have already made significant improvements towards meeting our accreditors concerns. Our graduates continue to outperform the majority of programs nationally on the PANCE examination. We are fully confident that we will be reinstated with full accreditation in March 2015. However, in the very unlikely scenario that continuing accreditation were not granted, applicants accepted into the Program following the fall 2014 interview process would not be allowed to start in the Program in the spring of 2015.
  • The MUSC Physician Assistant Studies Program remains a strong and vibrant educational program that educates outstanding clinical physician assistants. Our graduating class of 2013 had a 97% first-time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) compared to the national average of 94%. All indications point to the class of 2014 experiencing similar success with the PANCE exam, and many of these students have already been offered clinical positions!
  • In 2013, the US news and World Report ranked the MUSC physician assistant studies program as 25th in the United States.
  • The primary reasons for the probationary status revolve about administrative policies and processes for self-assessment including the implementation of continuous quality improvement processes. In particular, ARC-PA focused its critique on inadequate analysis of data on program and student success, and use of these data for evidence-based improvements in the curriculum and program. We acknowledge that we can substantially improve in this area and have redoubled our efforts to meet and exceed accreditation requirements and to maintain our position as one the best PA educational programs in the country.


Lisa K. Saladin, PT, PhD
Professor and Dean
College of Health Professions
Gilbert A. Boissonneault, PhD, PA-C
Professor and Program Director
Division of Physician Assistant Studies



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