PA Program Welcomes New Class

New PA Students Don White Coats

This week, the Center for Physician Assistant Studies at Albany Medical College welcomed its incoming class of 42 new students to campus.

Physician assistants, or PAs, are clinicians with master’s degree-level training and they represent one of the fastest-growing professions in the U.S. The PA profession was developed in the late 1960s to help address a national shortage in primary care physicians. The first-ever class graduated from the Duke University PA Program in 1967, and five years later, Albany Medical College established its own program—only the 11th in the nation at the time.

Now a mainstay in PA education, the Center for Physician Assistant Studies turns out 42 PAs a year from the 28-month program, highly qualified clinicians who, in collaboration with a physician or surgeon, can diagnose, treat, prescribe medication, and often serve as the principal health care provider for patients.

The Albany Medical College Class of 2026 was selected from more than 3,000 applicants. Roughly half of the class hails from New York with additional representation from the northeast and states across the country, including Illinois, Arizona, and Oregon.