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.

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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, such as working as a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) or Emergency Medical Technician. 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.