Great question! Unfortunately, I do not practice in this field: therefore, I obtained information from the following website listed below:
Requirements to Become a PA
Because the word “assistant” is in the job title, it can be easy to assume that physicians assistants don’t need a whole lot of education. Maybe a two-year degree, right? Wrong.
In most cases, a physician assistant will need a master’s degree from an accredited institution (two years of post-graduate education after completing a four-year degree). Essentially, you’re looking at six years of rigorous education in total to become a physician assistant.
Most applicants to physician assistant education programs will not only have four years of education, they will also have at least a year of medical experience. Admission requirements will vary depending on the specific program, but you can expect to need two to four years of undergraduate course work with a specific focus on a related science.
Four-Year Science or Medical Degree
Almost all prospective physician assistants will have completed a four-year (bachelor's) degree in a related science before entering a PA degree program. Technically, a prospective physician assistant can have a four-year undergraduate degree in any field, but you will be better served if you choose something that closely relates to medicine or science. Ensure your bachelor's degree is regionally accredited in order to make your application to graduate school as seamless as possible.
Common undergraduate degrees for physician assistants include:
Step 2: Physician Assistant Program
You must ensure that your physician assistant program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Asssistant (ARC-PA). View a list of accredited programs here.
Most physician assistant programs will take two to three years to complete. During your years of study, you will learn more detailed and focused information about health, medication, anatomy, and the health care industry. Throughout your classes, you will get both medical science and clinical experience, with courses covering diagnosis techniques, emergency medicine, pharmacology, and pathology, and well as many other topics.
Around the second year of studies, you will begin to focus on even more detailed topics, such as general surgery, gynecology, and behavioral medicine. Once you complete the physician assistant education, you should be well prepared to pass the licensing exam and become a full-fledged physician assistant.
Nija recommends the following next steps:
- Complete your bachelor's degree (a science or healthcare related major is usually best).
- Gain experience either working or volunteering in a healthcare setting.
- Apply to ARC-PA accredited physician assistant programs.
- Complete a 2-3 year, master's level PA program.
- Pass the PANCE licensing exam.