LYNCHBURG, Va. -

There's a growing need in health care for Physician Assistants and one local college is trying to fill the void.

Lynchburg College will soon offer the nation's first doctorate degree for Physicians Assistant.

PA's are licensed to practice medicine, but are not full medical doctors.  They need a minimum of a master's degree to practice in their field.

LC will offer both a master's and doctorate for PA's.

"The demand for PA's who can practice throughout all areas of medicine is consistently increasing," said Jeremy Welsh, director of Lynchburg's PA program.  "At this point there are a little over 2,000 practicing PA's throughout the state of Virginia."

The US Department of Labor Statistics expects the number of PA's employed nationally to grow 30% during this decade.

LC's new doctorate degree will be offered beginning in the summer of 2015. The college has applied for provisional accreditation for the program. The program can not begin until the provisional accreditation is received.