Interested in a Career as a Physician Assistant?
The various physician assistant schools require some common courses, as shown below in the table, but every school has it own curricular nuances. Students are strongly urged to obtain information from all the schools of interest and be sure to incorporate the required courses into their four year plan. Programs offer masters-level degrees, and an undergraduate degree usually is required before entry into these professional schools.
|English (6 hrs.)||ENG 102 and ENG XXX|
|Biology with labs (8 hrs.)||BIOL 111-112|
|Anatomy and physiology with labs (8 hrs.)||BIOL 264 – 265|
|General chemistry with labs (4-8 hrs.)||CHEM 121-122|
|Organic chemistry with labs (4-8 hrs.)||CHEM 221-222|
|Psychology (6 hrs.)||PSYC 111, 203, 210, and/or 211|
|Mathematics or Statistics (3 hrs.)||MATH 150 or PSYC 250|
|Microbiology (4 hrs.)||BIOL 255, 256L|
|Social Sciences (6 hrs) and Humanities (6 hrs.)||See academic catalog for selections|
It is imperative that students trying to gain entry to a physician assistant program accumulate as many hours of volunteer/work experience as possible prior to application. As a general rule, schools require direct contact with a physician assistant and up to 100 or more hours of clinical/shadowing experience. Examples of this clinical experience are as follows: certified nurse assistant (CNS), emergency medical technician (EMT), or other allied health professional shadowing. See the premedical sciences advisor for advice on how to get these hours.
By the spring of your junior year you should take the Graduate Records Examination, or GRE. Over the summer you should collect your application materials and by early fall semester of your senior year be ready to submit these materials. You may receive a supplemental application from individual schools later in the fall and then be invited for an interview.
Most schools require completion of the GRE. This test consists of three sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. Each of the multiple-choice sections is scored on a scale of 200 to 800. The average scores for the GRE are about 470 for verbal reasoning and 570 for quantitative reasoning. The analytical writing section is scored on a scale of 0 to 6. Some schools require that applicants take the GRE subject test in biology. Applications to take the test can be obtained online or by contacting:
PO Box 6000
Princeton, NJ 08541-6000