Why Carroll College?

Fortin Science Center

Why Carroll College?

Building on Carroll’s highly successful undergraduate nursing, pre-med, allied health, and health sciences programs, a graduate-level physician assistant program is a natural progression for the college and a strong fit for the mission of Carroll College in serving others.

With individualized instruction from supportive faculty, Carroll’s program will help meet significant needs that exist in Montana and the region, especially in rural communities. According to the October 2022, Montana Department of Labor and Industry Postsecondary Workforce Report, Montana’s employment demand for physician assistants is nearly twice the available supply. 

Highlights of Carroll’s Proposed PA Program

  • Comprehensive 27-month curriculum leading to Master of Science Degree in Physician Assistant Studies.
  • Experienced and dedicated faculty and instructors.
  • Strong foundation in the basic and clinical sciences.
  • Emphasis on working collaboratively in interprofessional patient-centered teams.
  • Classroom and labs that provide state-of-the-art technology and learning resources.
  • High-quality training sites that prepare graduates to enter clinical practice.
  • A supportive environment that fosters personal and professional growth.

The Proposed Physician Assistant Program is committed to:

  • Recruiting students and instructors from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Collaborating with and exposing PA students to Montana’s many rural and Tribal communities to improve recruitment and retention of PAs.
  • Developing strong partnerships with local/regional hospitals, clinics, and community care organizations that support the mission and goals of the college and program.
Jean Branscum

The launch of Carroll College’s new Montana-based Physician Assistant educational program is an exciting growth opportunity for addressing workforce shortages and increasing skilled allied healthcare providers in our state. Physicians play a key oversight role of Physician Assistants. That starts with their training experience and lasts throughout their career in medicine. The MMA looks forward to the day when these talented students join the healthcare teams across Montana. The Montana Medical Association has no doubt that future graduates of this new PA program at Carroll College will deliver outstanding care to future patients and strengthen the health care landscape of Montana and beyond.

Jean Branscum CEO, Montana Medical Association


Physician assistants (PAs) are licensed clinicians who practice medicine in every specialty and setting. Trusted, rigorously educated, and trained healthcare professionals, PAs are dedicated to expanding access to care and transforming health and wellness through patient-centered, team-based medical practice (AAPA.org). 

The 2023 U.S. News & World Report named Physician Assistant as the #2 Best Healthcare Job.