Master of Orthopaedic Assistant (MOA)
What will my schedule look like?
During the first year, students will take courses that will be delivered partially online and partially in a laboratory classroom setting. During the week students will complete online lectures and course materials, while interacting with online instructors and classmates. Application of the online coursework will be practiced in a weekend lab setting on the St. Augustine campus. Students will come to St. Augustine approximately seven times for each of the first three terms. Upon completion of the first three terms, students will complete an additional 48 weeks of clinical rotations which require full-time participation (typically Monday-Friday).
Can I continue to work while taking classes?
It is possible to maintain a job during the first year of studies, though it can be challenging. Each trimester will be a rigorous, full-time course load. Once you begin clinical rotations you will not be able to maintain employment.
Can I practice as a physician assistant in other areas of medicine?
This degree will prepare you to practice with and under supervision of an orthopaedic surgeon. It will not qualify you to practice as a physician assistant in any area of medicine.
What type of certification or licensure is available for Orthopaedic Assistants?
Upon graduation, students will be prepared to take the National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Physician’s Assistants (NBCOPA) Certification Exam. Currently, there are no other Orthopaedic Assistant programs in the country and this national certification is available only to those who have completed an apprenticeship. The current pass rate for the exam is quite low. With this new degree program we expect those who take the exam to be very well prepared to pass this examination and become certified. Orthopaedic Assistant's have limited licensure in only a handful of states, most will work under the license of an orthopaedic surgeon or physician.
Is the program accredited?
The University of St. Augustine has been accredited as an institution to offer this program. Additionally, the state of Florida has issued a license to the school to offer this program. Currently there is no programmatic accreditation available for the MOA degree. This is because we will be the first school offering such a degree, thus giving the profession a foundation in an institution of higher education. We fully anticipate other schools will add this program as well, and at that time, it is likely a programmatic association will be formed.
Who will be teaching my classes?
Both online and lab coursework will be taught by faculty members with an advanced degree and with professional affiliations in orthopaedic surgery, nursing, medicine, physical therapy and occupational therapy.
Where will my clinical rotations take place?
Students will be assigned to one of our clinical affiliates and may have to travel/reside in other locations. Every effort will be made to explore sites in a location convenient for the student, but no guarantees are made.
How does the First Surgical Assistant training occur?
Students will begin online coursework with Meridian Surgical Institute (MSI) in their third term. This course work will continue over the course of the calendar year. At the end of the third term students will travel to Nashville, TN to complete a week of laboratory surgical activities using pigs. Following the lab, students will complete 135 surgical cases during their clinical rotations. Please see the MSI website for more information: http://www.meridian-institute.edu.