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PA program offers enlisted Airmen chance to become medical professional

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Capt. Justin Kandle, a 30th Medical Operation Squadron physician assistant, performs a routine checkup on a patient at the medical clinic here. Captain Kandle, like all Air Force physician assistant, took advantage of the Air Force Physician Assistant Program as an enlisted member. The program is currently taking applications until Jan. 25. (Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Wesley Carter)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Capt. Justin Kandle, a 30th Medical Operation Squadron physician assistant, performs a routine checkup on a patient at the medical clinic here. Captain Kandle, like all Air Force physician assistant, took advantage of the Air Force Physician Assistant Program as an enlisted member. The program is currently taking applications until Jan. 25. (Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Wesley Carter)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Enlisted Airmen have until Jan. 25 to apply for their spot in the Air Force Physician Assistant Program.

The program, which is based in Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, offers enlisted Airmen the opportunity to attend a top tier physician assistant program.

"The military's PA school is one of the best in the country," said Capt. Justin Kandle, a 30th Medical Operations Squadron physician assistant. "Those leaving the school do very well on the assessment tests compared to other programs."

Airmen will be commissioned as a first lieutenant upon completion of the program, but they should be aware the program is a fast past learning experience.

"I have always considered myself pretty good in the classroom," Captain Kandle said. "In this program, everybody has to study. As a student you are faced with 100 tests in your first year, and you can only fail two of them. It is a rigorous program."

After completion of the intense program, however, Airmen will be able to leave their impact on the Air Force and see it happening.

"One of the best things about this job is solving a problem, and then seeing the patient get better because you were right," Captain Kandle said. "It can be very rewarding."

Currently, every PA in the Air Force is a prior enlisted Airman. This is an opportunity that will allow Airmen to move into a career field that is not only beneficial to the Air Force, but also the individual when they leave the Air Force.

"One thing that the PA career field offers is job security," said Captain Kandle. "There will always be a need for medical professionals in the Air Force and outside of the Air Force."

Airmen who are interested in the program should contact the Vandenberg education center at 605-5900.