A female physician assistant consults a medical text with a physician.

Thinking About Becoming a PA?

Physician Assistants are nationally certified and state-licensed medical professionals. PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers. They practice and prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and the uniformed services.

Preparation and Requirements

Pre-PA students are expected to establish a strong academic record and participate in activities that better develop their interpersonal skills, their knowledge of the profession, and their leadership abilities. These type of activities often include things such as employment opportunities, PA shadowing, volunteer experiences, organizational memberships, and community service. Many PA programs require prior healthcare experience with hands-on patient care. This can be achieved through activities including medical assistant, EMT, paramedic, Peace Corps volunteer, ER tech, CNA, and others.

Application Process

There are many steps and requirements to apply to PA programs, which include an entrance exam, personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Pay close attention to the instruction manual for the centralized application service and requirements for individual programs. Meet with a Health Professions advisor to make sure you’re on track.

Application Timeline

The application cycle can take up to one year to complete. Timeline planning will vary for each individual. Think about your ideal timeline: when do you plan to start PA school? When will you have the required hours to be qualified to apply? We recommend you meet with a pre-health advisor to assess your readiness to apply.