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Physician Assistant School

PA programs are a competitive and attractive option for students who want to use their knowledge and passion for science to care for others. This section provides information regarding the PA profession, preparation and the admissions processes to PA programs, and resources for exploring the field and becoming a competitive applicant.

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Is Physician Assistant School For Me?

What do Physician Assistants do?

  • Physician Assistants (PAs) are health professionals who are licensed to practice medicine with physician or surgeon supervision.
  • PAs are trained to examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses, assist in surgeries, set fractures and provide treatment.
  • They work in a variety of healthcare settings including hospitals, physician offices, education, public health agencies, research centers and government institutions. PAs are required to be licensed to practice in every state.
  • Their responsibilities can also include administrative management services, education and research.
  • Most PAs have a bachelor’s degree.
  • PA programs are Master’s level. The general length of PA programs is roughly 3 years and includes supervised rounds of clinical rotations lasting between nine to fifteen months.
  • PA programs that require healthcare experience are usually specific regarding the length of time and types of experiences they are looking for in applicants.
  • In order to be considered competitive most programs require an average of 1,000-4,000 hours of relevant healthcare experience.

Top 5 Tips for a Career as a Physician Assistant

  1. Major in the field which interests you the most, while showing strong academic ability in science.
  2. Explore the Physician Assistant field, Patient Care Experience is a requirement for all PA programs.
  3. The ability to speak a second (e.g Spanish, Vietnamese etc.)  language is required or highly desired by most PA programs.
  4. Keep your grades as high as possible. An upward trend in grade performance will be noted, especially when you are trying to overcome a less than spectacular year.
  5. Be sure to start looking for people who can write your letters of recommendation. Be sure to choose those individuals who know you and your work well and who you have close relationships with, e.g. shared interest in academic and /or professional matters.