Pre-Physician Assistant

Physician Assistants (P.A.) are trained personnel who provide patient services under the supervision and direction of a licensed physician (D.O. or M.D.). The P.A. practice is centered on patient care. Their duties can include obtaining patient histories, performing physicals, performing diagnostic and therapeutic functions, ordering and interpreting diagnostic testing, providing emergency medical services, assisting in surgery and prescribing medications. The job market for P.A.s is excellent. Physician Assistant training programs are generally two years in length. The majority of applicants have completed a bachelor’s degree prior to entering P.A. school. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required by many schools.

Minimum Required Courses

  • Biology
    BIO 123 Biology I
    BIO 222 Genetics
    BIO 363-364 Human Anatomy and Physiology
    BIO 325 Microbiology
  • Chemistry
    CHM 111-112 General Chemistry
    CHM 201 Organic Chemistry
  • Psychology
    PSY 101 General Psychology
    PSY 206 Child Psychology
  • Mathematics
    MTH 210 Elementary Statistics

Special Considerations

  • Additional Courses
    • BIO 403 Cadaver Prosection
    • HPE 306 Nutrition
  • CPR and First Aid certification **required by some schools**
  • Shadowing and/or work experience medical setting
  • Community Service

Admissions Test

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) (most schools) -- GRE Home Page

Application

  • Apply to programs directly
    • Check individual programs for application requirements
  • What schools look for:
    • the interview
    • grades
    • shadowing/work experience
    • recommendations
    • community service
    • interpersonal communications skills

Useful links

Select Physician Assistant Programs