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Pre-Physician Assistant Preparation

Freshman Year

  • Meet with your pre-professional advisor.
  • Discuss your academic goals and plans.
  • Discuss course prerequisites for physician assistant programs.
  • Develop good study habits and seek tutorial services, if necessary!
  • Seek and begin volunteer/ community experience (and continue throughout undergraduate years). 

Sophomore Year

  • Choose a major (if you haven't already done so).
  • Explore all health career options.
  • Start becoming familiar with requirements for various programs.
  • Seek summer internships or research experience.
  • Research schools in which you are interested, see "Web sites" listed below in this sidebar for a good start.

Junior Year

  • Attend the University Professional and Graduate School Fair.
  • Make a list of schools you are interested in and research them thoroughly.
  • Find out the earliest date to submit an application.
  • Take appropriate entrance exam.
  • Reality check: What are your chances? 
  • Apply to schools
  • Ask people to write letters of recommendation.
  • Sign-up for pre-professional workshops such as interview and personal writing workshop. 

Senior Year

  • Retake entrance exam, if necessary.
  • Confirm that you meet graduation requirements.
  • Ask people to write letters of recommendation.
  • Complete secondary applications if necessary.
  • Prepare for interviews.
  • Confirm your commitment.
  • Seek honors & scholarships for graduate school.
  • Send appropriate people thank you notes and inform them of your success or future plans.

Web Sites

Definition

The physician assistant (PA) is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional.  They practice and prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and the uniformed services.  PA's can perform the following duties:

  • Take your medical history
  • Conduct physical exams
  • Diagnose and treat illnesses
  • Order and interpret tests
  • Develop treatment plans
  • Counsel on preventive care
  • Assist in surgery
  • Write prescriptions
  • Make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes

Education

Most programs are approximately 26-27 months (3 academic years) and require the same prerequisite courses as medical schools, although most programs require students to have about three years (minimum 2000 hours) of healthcare training and experience prior to being accepted formally into a program.  Students take courses in biology, chemistry, behavioral sciences and specific courses such as anatomy, pharmacology, microbiology, and physiology. 

Major

You can major in any undergraduate degree program provided that you included the required pre-physician assistant prerequisite courses.   Students are encouraged to choose a major of interest. Students are advised to consult with the Pre-Professional School advisor at each stage of their preparation and the application process; assistance is available through numerous printed materials, individual advising sessions, workshops, mock interviews and personal statement critiques.

Applications

Contact  each physician assistant school for their application materials, approximately one year before the projected date of entrance.

 

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