DaVinci's Man

Physician Assistant


Physician Assistants (PAs) are health professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. Within the physician/PA relationship, PAs exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. Physician Assistants are trained in such tasks as screening patients, taking histories, performing physical exams, performing developmental screening exams for children, managing emergencies, etc. A physician willing to accept responsibility may assign more complicated therapeutic procedures to the PA who has demonstrated ability.

Becoming a Physician Assistant
Des Moines University Health Professions Advanced Summer Scholars Program (HealthPASS) (for sophomores and juniors interested in physician assistant careers)
Financial Aid Resources
Johnson & Johnson Scholarship for Pre-PA Students
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) 24-Month Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program for Qualified Clark Students
National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)
New York Society of Physician Assistants Fall Conference, October 24-26, 2014
Physician Assistant Career Guide
Physician Assistant Career Overview
Physician Assistant Career Profile
Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Virtual Chat Sessions, October 1-31, 2014
Physician Assistant History Society
Physician Assistant Interview
Physician Assistant Occupational Outlook
Physician Assistant Quick Facts
Physician Assistant Salaries
Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants
Wayne State U. Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Information Meetings on Physician Assistant Program (first Tuesday of every month)
Western University of Health Sciences Preview Day, November 22, 2014
What Is a PA?



Program Length

2-3 years

Professional Schools' Organization

AAPA (American Academy of Physician Assistants)
PAEA (Physician Assistant Education Association)
Physician Assistant Graduate School Programs
Physician Assistant Programs

Application Service

CASPA (Central Application Service for Physician Assistants)
CASPA Webinar Series
CASPA Fee Waiver

Academic Admission Requirements

Varies with school but may include two semesters each: Biology, Chemistry (some Organic/Biochemistry), Microbiology, Anatomy, and Physiology; one semester Math. Also Psychology.

Admission Exam

GRE (most) or MCAT

Personal Attributes & Experiences

Most PA programs require health care experience of applicants (e.g., EMT, volunteering in a hospital, orderly, nurse's aide, nurse, etc.). The Red Cross Phlebotomy Training Program can be a good way to begin acquiring the necessary health care experience. MOST programs expect life experience as well as medical experience.

Recommendation Letters

No standard form.