Physician Assistant/Associate

Physician assistants are medical providers who are licensed to diagnose and treat illness and disease and to prescribe medication for patients.
Physician assistants are critical to increasing access to care for rural and other underserved patients as they are often the only health providers in these areas.

The Career Center's Guide to becoming a Physician Associate

Looking for pre-requisite courses? Tips for getting hands-on clinical experience? Physician Assistant school application prep and timeline suggestions? Look no further! Our Physician Assistant Preparation Guide has all this and more.

Occupation Outlook

Pathway to Physician Assistant

There are a variety of ways for students to pursue Physician Assistant as a career

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 a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and may include an entrance exam. 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.

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Recommended Services for Pre-PA Students

  • Health Professions Advising
  • Health Professions Drop-ins
  • Personal Statement Review
  • Mock Interviews