Physician Assistant Preparation
Preparation for physician assistant requires, first and foremost, that certain pre-requisite courses be completed. In addition, it is important to research the programs you are interested in to determine if health care experience is required and if so, how many hours. Many programs only admit students who have already been working in the health care field in a variety of professions including medical laboratory science, respiratory therapy, nursing, athletic training and many others. A significant number of hours can be required, and often there is a hierarchy of which experiences are given more value. Earned bachelor's degree professions are usually preferred over associate degree or certificate professions. Professionals with degrees or certificates are usually preferred over candidates who earned hours volunteering, shadowing or working after on-the job training. Students interested in being physician assistants should give considerable attention to how they plan to accrue the clinical hours necessary for application.
Because the path to physician assistant is complex, we have prepared a 25 minute lecture on the topic at this site, www.salisbury.edu/henson/hpap/davis.
In addition, some programs require the Graduate Record Examination for admission (GRE). It is important to check the programs' individual website to determine if the GRE is required.
You can choose any undergraduate major, provided that you include the required physician assistant school prerequisite classes in your course of study. You must do very well academically in the area of study that you choose and also in all prerequisite courses. Requirements vary by school; you must check the individual school websites to determine the required pre-requisites.