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Q & A with Theresa Riethle

Program Director Theresa Riethle, MS, PA-C, brings to her Bay Path students more than 25 years of medical experience, first as a researcher in prenatal genetics and heart attack prevention, then (for the past 20 years) as a physician assistant in surgery and occupational medicine. Prior to being a founding faculty member of Bay Path’s PA program, she was Coordinator of Clinical Education for Springfield College's PA Program and Assistant Program Director at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences PA Program. Riethle maintains weekly clinical practice at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, has multiple professional publications, is a contributing author to the books Classroom to Clinic and Physician Assistant Review, and is a site visitor for the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Outside of her work, Riethle enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.

What do you love about being a Physician Assistant?

I love the satisfaction of making a difference in the life of a patient and the fact that I am always learning because medicine is constantly evolving. In the classroom, I love having an even broader impact -- making a difference in the lives of students and, through them, the lives of many patients!

What’s the value of a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies?

  • Marketability: Most of our students secure jobs prior to graduation, and the national job growth outlook for 2022-2032 is 27%, which is much higher than average.
  • Flexibility: PAs can choose cardiology, radiology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, infectious disease, pain management, and more. Without retraining, we can easily shift among these specialties. Some PAs even own a practice or provide care in remote settings, a field known as “wilderness medicine.”
  • Compensation: A PA education is a worthwhile investment! Median annual pay in 2024 was $126,010.
  • Satisfaction: While the training is intense, the reward is worth it. The profession is rated highly not only for job prospects and salary but for stress level and work-life balance. U.S. News ranks our profession #2 of the best healthcare jobs for 2024.

Why choose Bay Path for graduate work in Physician Assistant Studies?

  • Dedicated Faculty and Staff who provide individualized attention. Faculty and staff work one on one with students to ensure program success. Each class becomes its own family, with students lifting each other up, making sure no one is left behind while establishing professional colleagues for a lifetime.
  • Unique schedule design: A combination of 10 and 8-week blocks with one week off in between sessions, for rest, reflection, and if needed, remediation.
  • Problem-based and inter-professional learning, diverse clinical training sites with excellent clinical preceptors, and faculty who maintain clinical practice in different areas and provide varied perspectives on the curriculum.
  • An emphasis on self-care practices that help our students feel and perform better now and will help them provide better patient care and prevent burnout throughout their careers.