Physician Assistant Undergraduate Degree Program Information

Physician assistants programs are offered from the bachelor's degree through post-graduate level. Professional licensing preparation needs can be met with the education offered in the physician assistants programs at all levels.

Essential Information

Physician assistants (PAs) are healthcare professionals licensed to practice medicine under a medical doctor's supervision. Most PAs hold master's degrees earned during a post-baccalaureate PA training program, but a handful of bachelor's programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant are available that lead to professional licensure.

Students in physician assistant bachelor's programs learn how to gather patient histories, perform physical examinations, administer diagnostic tests and perform medical procedures like sutures, injections and immunizations. Graduates are prepared to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE), which is necessary to become a certified physician assistant.

  • Program Level in Physician Assistant: Bachelor's degree
  • Prerequisite: High school diploma or GED
  • Program Length: 4 years

Physician Assistant Undergraduate Degree Program

Applicants to physician assistant undergraduate programs need to have a high school diploma or GED. ACT or SAT scores are expected. Some schools require previous exposure to the healthcare industry. The first two years of a PA bachelor's degree program are spent learning theory, and the last two years are comprised of clinical work. Lectures involve anatomy, biology and chemistry. Common courses Include:

  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Diagnoses and procedures
  • Health law and ethics
  • Human physiology and anatomy
  • Making clinical decisions
  • Medical terminology
  • Microbiology
  • Physician assistant internship

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Jobs for physician assistants are expected to increase by 38% between 2012 and 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported in May 2014 that a physician assistant's mean annual wage was $97,280. This salary is dependent on specialty, setting and experience.

Continuing Education Information

Physician assistants are expected to keep their medical knowledge up to date, which requires additional classes every few years. Some physician assistants go on to earn master's degrees in the subject. Those who want to be specialized PAs, such as surgeon assistants and anesthesiologist assistants, can seek further training.

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