Pre-Requisites for Becoming a Physician Assistant

Pre-Requisites for Becoming a Physician AssistantWhat It Takes To Be A Physician Assistant

A physician assistant (PA) degree is a great way to enjoy a high-level medical career without the commitment required to become a doctor. Almost all PAs graduate with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in the field, which means that the education path takes a fairly long time and comes with quite a few educational requirements along the way.

Bachelor’s Degree Requirements

Most PAs get an undergraduate degree in biology, chemistry, pre-med, or any of the sciences that typically lead up into a medical career. This can be followed by work experience in the health care field (as a low-level health care worker, nurse, administrator, or even in a lab setting).

The better your grades and the higher your experience, the more likely you will be to get accepted into a graduate-level PA program.

In some cases, you may be able to apply for the Master’s program without a directly related undergraduate degree, but you will need to ensure that you’ve taken relevant classes in:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • English/Humanities/Social Science
  • Math/Physics/Statistics
  • Psychology
  • Medical Terminology
  • Nutrition

Master’s Program Requirements

Although all physician assistant graduate programs vary, most of them are fairly strict and competitive. Most have a minimum GPA requirement (typically around 3.0 for science classes), and they will look at transcripts to ensure that the courseload is in keeping with their PA program.

Many graduate programs also require “direct patient care” experience. This is hands-on work as a health care provider, and can take the form of:

  • Nurse (or Nursing Assistant)
  • EMT
  • Paramedic
  • Physical Therapist (or Physical Therapy Assistant)
  • Occupational Therapist (or Occupational Therapy Assistant)
  • Medical Assistant
  • Hospital Volunteer

Additional requirements might include observing and/or job shadowing an existing PA, supplying references and letters of recommendation, and taking entrance tests for the college. These vary depending on where you apply and how competitive the program is.

Most people who choose to become physician assistants do so after spending some time in the medical field. Whether you plan on working straight through from an undergraduate degree or want to return to graduate school after years of a similar medical career, PA training is a great way to enjoy high pay, high levels of responsibility, and a stable and growing career field.

 

 

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  1. Rowland Solano says:

    I would like to become a PA

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