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If my goal is to be a physician assistant what major should i take?

i need a guide to my future path and am confused on what to do. #help! #physician-assistant #college-major #career-path

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Stephanie’s Answer

Hello,

I also want to become a physician assistant, currently, it is my first year in College as a health sciences major. You can major in anything to become a physician assistant but you have a lot of sciences pre-requests so I would advise choosing a major that covers some pre-requests so it is less on you.
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Mary Kate’s Answer

I'm not a PA yet, just a PA student. But I might be able to help.

First of all, congratulations on deciding to apply to PA school at such an early stage in your education. You are ahead of the game already! So few people know they want to be a PA when they are choosing a major. You're going to be taking tons of science courses as prerequisites, so I would really stick to a science major. Steer clear of liberal arts, etc. for your major, because you'll end up doing double the schooling, because of all your science prereqs.

Within science, you can't really go wrong. Many majors will get you where you need to be. Here are the two I have experience with (so really the only ones I can give an opinion on):

Biology: Tons of pre-med and pre-PA students major in Biology. Probably the number one major for students that go into the health field. It's a great major for overlapping prerequisites. Downside is you'll end up being forced to take some of the more challenging upper division science classes that aren't necessarily required by all the PA schools you're applying to. This could take a toll on your GPA. You've been warned by someone who learned this the hard way.

Kinesiology/Exercise Science: (Not to be confused with personal training, or physical education or something like that. This was truly the science of the human body as a moving mechanism)Often an overlooked major. I switched into kinesiology at the end of sophomore year. I absolutely loved my major. The school I went to required a minor or specialization with our exercise science degree. So, it worked out perfectly for me to get a minor in Biology, since that covered most of the prerequisite classes. The biggest reason I loved my major was it has applied so well to my classes in PA school now. There are so many subjects that I learned that my classmates haven't seen yet, that I know really well because of my major. It's a major dedicated to the discussion of the human body, as opposed to cells or plants or all the other things you'll see as a Biology major. Subjects that I have a great grasp on specifically because of my degree in exercise science: cardiac function (including EKGs), pulmonary function (including all the pulmonary function exams), musculoskeletal system, neuromuscular function, childhood development, the list goes on and on. Also, the classes are way more manageable overall, You are going to be challenged in your PA school prerequisites, regardless of your major. So it is really nice to supplement your anatomy, physiology, ochem, etc. with classes that you will find an interest in and connection to the human body.

I'm not saying at all that every student who goes into medicine should be a kinesiology major, but I can speak from experience that it has helped me so much.

***Honorable mention: I wish I had known about nursing when I was a freshman. It seems like a great gig as an undergrad major! You get a ton of medical knowledge and you'll finish your bachelors degree with a BSN and usually an RN too. That's a pretty great career to have as an option, right out of undergrad. Because from there, you can either work as an RN, go on to get your Nurse Practioner's license (usually with a master's degree), or still apply to PA school like your originally wanted to do with all that great medical knowledge. What do you have with a regular science bachelors degree? Not a whole lot to be honest, if you want to go into medicine. I'm sure you know that medical experience is required to get accepted into PA school. I did mine as an EMT, which was great and it got the job done. But just think, if you got yours working as a nurse, I'm sure that is "rated" higher in the application process. Just another option to think about.

Remember not to forget about your passions in undergrad. If you don't want to give up on art, minor in it. If you are worried your business major doesn't have enough science, add a bio minor. There are endless combinations of coursework that will get you into PA school. It's all about getting the grades you need in your prereqs and staying active in the medical field. Okay, sorry that was a long answer. Hope that helped some...
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