Pre-Physician Assistant

Physician Assistant as a Career

A physician assistant consulting with a patient.Most PA programs are masters degree programs.  For more information, see Explore Health Careers.org (Physician Assistant) and the Physician Assistant Education Association (Become a Physician Assistant), and PA Focus

University Course Work

  • Meet with the Pre-Health Advisor each semester and request to be added to the pre-PA email distribution list.
  • The Pre-Health Advisor serves as a supplementary advisor to the students’ primary (major) advisor, and assists students by offering guidance in selecting appropriate courses, connecting with resources both on and off campus, ensuring that they are on track with their career goals, and addressing questions and concerns. 
  • Choose a college major that you enjoy and that provides a good “back-up plan” and career path in case you change your mind about PA. Common majors include biology, microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry, exercise science, nutrition, etc.
  • Carefully check admission requirements at PA schools of most interest and take the required coursework. Common prerequisites or strongly recommended courses include chemistry, biology, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, statistics, psychology, organic chemistry etc.
    • PA Program Directory
    • Consider purchasing the On-line PA Directory which includes admissions deadlines, entrance requirements, credentials awarded, tuition fees, financial aid, clinical affiliations, and other information
  • Maintain a competitive GPA.

School (Your Time at University)

  • Get shadowing and clinical experience with a PA and in multiple health care settings. Maintain a formal log (Professional Development Activities Log (Word)). Find out firsthand what the profession is like, decide if it is right for you, explore different areas of the field and in different settings, and be sure to meet clinical experience requirements of your preferred schools, as they can vary widely.
  • Get involved in extracurricular, leadership, and volunteer activities
  • Develop strong relationships with faculty mentors, PA professionals, and others who will be writing letters of reference

Applying to Physician Assistant School