Pre-Physician Assistant Preparation

Physician assistants (PAs) are able to examine, diagnose, and treat patients under a doctor’s supervision. They practice medicine as part of a team that includes physicians, surgeons, and other health-care professionals.

Physician assistants work in all areas of medicine. You can choose a primary care setting or specialize in another area, such as emergency medicine. In some cases, PAs serve as primary care providers. They must still collaborate with a physician on patient treatment. Most PAs work full time—about 40 hours per week. They might work at night, on weekends, and during holidays.

How to Apply

Physician assistant schools are highly competitive. Most applicants have a bachelor’s degree. Most PA schools require applicants to have experience with direct patient care. Many applicants already have experience as registered nurses or emergency medical technicians. In PA school, students earn a master’s degree; this usually takes at least two years to complete. After earning a master's, PAs must be licensed in order to practice, passing a national exam and meeting state requirements.