Pre-Health: Physician Assistant
An overview of the profession
As a physician assistant, you will be part of a heathcare team providing diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic services, as designated by a licensed physician. You also may have managerial duties, order medical and lab supplies and equipment, or supervise technicians and assistants.
While you will practice under the license of a physician, you may be the principal care provider, particularly in practices where a physician may be present for only one or two days each week. In such cases, you will confer with the supervising physician and other medical professionals as needed or as required by law. You also may make house calls or go to hospitals and nursing homes to check on patients and report back to the physician.
The PA profession is seeing tremendous growth. U.S. News & World Report ranked physician assistant as the 5th best job in 2016 and the 3rd best job in 2017. Salaries have been rising with demand – the median PA salary for 2016 was $104,131, according to the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). You will be able to practice and prescribe medicine in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (regulations vary by state).
CBU’s Pre-Health Physician Assistant program will prepare you for advanced study or help you apply to other graduate level PA programs. CBU offers a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies so you can make a smooth transition if you wish to stay in Memphis.To learn more, watch a video profile about physician assistants
- Individual advising
- Pre-professional counselors
- Volunteer opportunities
- Professional development
- Application assistance
- Guaranteed interview agreements with participating institutions
What You Will Study
Most often, you will choose to major in Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedical Science, or Chemistry. Each of these programs is designed to meet the entrance requirements of all health-related professional schools. However, majors in other fields are acceptable as long as you complete the necessary prerequisites.
To ensure that you are taking the courses you need, check the requirements of the schools where you want to apply. With your advisor, develop a course of study that will fulfill the professional school admission requirements.
Listed below are prerequisites for Christian Brothers University’s Master of Physical Assistant Studies:
- General Biology I and II with labs (will accept 1 semester of zoology and 1 semester of botany with labs)
- Anatomy and Physiology I and II with labs (will accept 1 semester of anatomy and 1 semester of physiology with labs)
- Microbiology with lab
- General Chemistry I and II with labs
- Organic Chemistry I and II (labs recommended but not required – preference may be given to applicants who have taken the labs)
- Medical Terminology
Contact information regarding careers as a Physician Assistant
- American Academy of Physician Assistants
- Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)
- Listing of PA programs, locations and credentials offered
- Physician Assistant Education Association
- Physician Assistant Program Directory
- Physician Assistants—National PA Page