Program Overview

A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) Central Coast Physician Assistant (CCPA) program is a 24-month, entry-level residential physician assistant master’s program based in Santa Maria, CA. Students will spend one year on campus in Santa Maria, CA for the didactic phase of the program. Then, students will enter the clinical phase which includes supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs). During the clinical phase, the Program will assign students to spend the year with partnered community health centers (CHCs) located across the U.S.

Didactic year

Didactic coursework includes classroom demonstrations, discussions, group case studies, and labs, conducted at the Santa Maria facility. Students will work in a large group format, followed by case studies, interactive clickers, and projects to encourage participation and collaboration with peers and faculty.

Labs are typically in smaller group format, often with students working with peers and faculty to practice skills (for example: clinical skills, procedures, history taking, and physical exams).

Standardized patients are utilized to give “real world” scenarios and exposure in the testing environment to best prepare students for clinical rotations.

Didactic courses

Didactic Term 1

CCPA5001 Clinical Science I (3 semester credits)

CCPA5002 Clinical Medicine I (4 semester credits)

CCPA5040 Patient Assessment I (4 semester credits)

CCPA5080 PA Professional Practice I (3 semester credits)

Total semester credits: 14

Didactic Term 2

CCPA5011 Clinical Science II (3 credit)

CCPA5012 Clinical Medicine II (4 credit)

CCPA5050 Patient Assessment II (4 semester credits)

CCPA5090 PA Professional Practice II (3 semester credits)

Total semester credits: 14

Didactic Term 3

CCPA5021 Clinical Science III (3 semester credits)

CCPA5022 Clinical Medicine III (4 semester credits)

CCPA5060 Patient Assessment III (4 semester credits)

CCPA5100 PA Professional Practice III (3 semester credits)

CCPA5025 Technical Skills & Preparation for Clinical Practice I (3 credits)

Total semester credits: 17

Didactic Term 4

CCPA5031 Clinical Science IV (3 credits)

CCPA5032 Clinical Medicine IV (3 credits)

CCPA5070 Patient Assessment IV (4 semester credits)

CCPA5110 PA Professional Practice IV (3 semester credits)

CCPA5035 Technical Skills & Preparation for Clinical Practice II (3 semester credits)

Total semester credits: 16

Total didactic semester credits: 61

Clinical Year

CCPA6201 Clinical Medical Experience I (5 semester credits)

CCPA6202 Clinical Medical Experience II (5 semester credits)

CCPA6203 Clinical Medical Experience III (5 semester credits)

CCPA6204 Clinical Medical Experience IV (5 semester credits)

CCPA6205 Clinical Medical Experience V (5 semester credits)

CCPA6206 Clinical Medical Experience VI (5 semester credits)

CCPA6311 Transition to Practice I (2 semester credits)

CCPA6207 Clinical Medical Experience VII (5 semester credits)

CCPA6312 Transition to Practice II (5 semester credits)

The clinical portion of the program is designed to expose the student to a breadth of clinical experiences across numerous disciplines. The setting, assigned tasks, and schedule will vary depending on the site. Building on the principles introduced during the first 12 months, students will acquire and demonstrate competency in a broad base of knowledge. Students will practice and demonstrate competency in numerous clinical skills, ranging from interpersonal skills of communication and cultural awareness, to psychomotor skills such as suturing, medication administration, medical and trauma evaluation, and resuscitation techniques.

To ensure both breadth and depth of clinical exposure, the year consists of supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs). These experiences will include exposure to patient care in the outpatient, and inpatient settings in community, ambulatory and hospital environments. The program does not provide international clinical experiences.

SCPEs will occur in the following disciplines:

  • Women’s health
  • Behavioral health
  • Pediatrics
  • Family medicine
  • Internal medicine
  • Emergency medicine
  • Surgery

Clinical assessment coursework will include:

CCPA6100 Clinical Seminar I (1 Semester Credit)

CCPA6110 Clinical Seminar II (1 semester credits)

CCPA6120 Clinical Seminar III (1 semester credits)

CCPA6310 Transition to Practice (6 semester credits)

Total Program Credit Hours: 105