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The Path Forward

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 2019-2029 is 31%, 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 specialities. 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 2019 was $112,260.
  • 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 #1 of the top 100 jobs for 2021.

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

  • Small classes and individualized attention. Each class becomes its own family, with students lifting each other up, making sure no one is left behind, and establishing professional colleagues for a lifetime.
  • 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.