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Physician Assistant

Exploring Health-Related Careers

Physician Assistant (PA)-is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional. PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers. They practice and prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and the uniformed services. (source AAPA.org)

Resources
ARC-PA: PA Accredited Schools by State
PAEA Program Directory
American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)
Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA)
Phyisican Assistant Shadow Online
Central Application Service for Physician Assistants CASPA

Prerequisite Courses for PA graduate school:
Prerequisite courses vary by graduate school so it is important to verify what courses are required with the graduate schools you ar interested in. The list of courses below contains the most common prerequisite courses for physician assistant graduate program admissions requirements:

Biology with lab (8 credits)
Microbiology with lab (4 credits)
Chemistry with lab (8 credits)
Organic chemistry with lab (3-4 credits)
Biochemistry with lab (3-4 credits)
Human anatomy and physiology with lab (8 credits)
Psychology (3 credits)
English (3 -6 credits)
Humanities and social science classes (3-6 credits)

Gaining Experience
Most PA programs require prior healthcare experience with direct patient care. Experience requirements range from strictly required to preferred/recommended. Additionally, the amount of hours required varies widely from program to program and can range anywhere from 200 to 2,000. It is important to verify the number of hours with the program(s) you are interested in. Acceptable healtcare experiences include:

The following steps are highly recommended BEFORE applying:

1. Read through CASPA’s Instructions and FAQ and the Professional Code of ConductYou are responsible for understanding this information BEFORE you start your CASPA application, and will be asked to state you understand and agree to these policies prior to submitting your CASPA.

2. Determine what types of references your PA programs require (ie. academic, clinical, PA, etc.) and contact your potential evaluators to ensure they are willing to complete a recommendation on your behalf.

3. Request official copies of transcripts to be sent to you to aid you in filling out the coursework portion of the CASPA application (these can NOT be the same ones later sent to CASPA).

4. Compose your personal essay in a word processor. Please note CASPA has a character limit of 5,000 characters, including spaces and line breaks.

5. Research your the deadline requirements for each PA program you are interested in applying to and note what is required for each deadline as this can greatly affect your timeline for submitting documents and completing your CASPA application.

6. Determine PA programs’ requirements regarding prerequisites, standardized tests scores, supplemental applications, foreign evaluations, etc. and ensure you meet their minimum requirements.

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