Physician assistants (PAs) work with supervising physicians to provide medical services traditionally performed by physicians. These services include taking medical histories, performing physical examinations, ordering and interpreting tests, diagnosing and treating medical conditions, educating and counseling patients, performing minor medical/surgical procedures, and, in most states prescribing medications. PAs practice in the same settings as physicians, i.e., outpatient facilities, private and public clinics, managed care and other systems in rural and urban areas.
There are 157 accredited physician assistant (PA) programs nationwide. The average PA program curriculum is 26 months in length. The focus of PA education is primary care medicine. This broad education provides a base from which graduates practice in primary care and other medical specialties. An Online PA Programs Directory is available at www.paeaonline.org.
Physician Assistant programs have different requirements for admission and you will need to become knowledgeable about individual requirements as soon as possible. Applicants must complete course requirements and demonstrate proficiency in the sciences as evidenced by the overall and science GPA and scores on the GRE. Each PA program also defines the type and amount of health care experience it requires. The average amount is 1000 hours of direct-contact, patient-care experience. It may take some time to acquire the experience, so advanced planning is important.
To make an appointment with Professor Pamela Bailey, the Coordinator of the Pre-physician Assistant Program, please contact Ms. Tarie Dean.