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AACC Physician Assistant Program Earns Reaccreditation

Nov. 18, 2011

      The Anne Arundel Community College Physician Assistant program has earned a five-year reaccreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistant.

      The ARC-PA grants continued accreditation when a currently accredited program meets stringent ARC-PA standards. The college’s next comprehensive review of the program by the ARC-PA is set for September 2016. AACC is one 159 ARC-PA accredited entry-level programs in the United States and one of three programs in Maryland.

      “We’re so proud of our students and our faculty,” said Mary Jo Bondy, D.H.Ed., PA-C, AACC Physician Assistant program director.

      This 25-month program has 36 students in its Class of 2012 and 38 in the Class of 2013. The July graduating class of 36 students to date has achieved a 97 percent pass rate on the national certification exam, equal to the performance of the class of 2010.

      “This pass rate is consistent with where we’ve been in previous years,” Bondy said. “We’re just thrilled.”

      Interest in AACC’s program continues to grow along with its reputation for top caliber academic studies and clinical experiences. The program received a record number of applications ? 443 for 40 slots ? by the September 2011 deadline for the class of 2014. About 80 percent of the program’s current students are from Maryland. The college’s PA class compositions are representative of the state’s ethnic and racial diversity.

      “We have incredible diversity in our classes,” she said. “We’re truly representative of and serving our communities.”

      Another draw for the program: employment prospects are strong. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook projects a 39 percent increase in PAs’ employment from 2008 to 2018. This growth is much faster than the average for all occupations. The college’s PA graduates receive multiple job offers because “the need is huge,” Bondy said.

      There are several other components of AACC’s program that make it stand out among other schools’ programs. AACC PA students can earn a master's degree while earning their PA certificate through a partnership between AACC and Saint Francis University (SFU) in Loretto, Pa. In the second year of the PA program, students pair 10 hours of SFU courses with 20 hours of clinical rotations at AACC to earn a master of medical science degree.

      AACC’s program strives for excellence in teaching and service as evidenced by the highly credentialed faculty members who remain clinically active while teaching. In addition to the program and medical directors, the program has four full-time PA staff instructors and one program assistant. Two of these principal faculty members earned doctorates in the last year and another faculty member is in a doctoral program, Bondy said.

      The students routinely give back to the community. The Class of 2013, for example, conducted a book drive this fall for the children of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore as part of the annual Pediatric Medicine Halloween Costume Party.

      For program information, visit