Physicians Assistant Program Requirements

A physicians assistant program is generally a master’s degree program although there are a few schools that offer bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees or certificates. Regardless of the type of program a bachelor’s degree is required for entrance into one of these programs. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant accredits physicians assistant programs and there are 142 accredited programs in the United States. Over 80 percent of these programs are of the master’s degree variety.

In order to be accredited a program must meet the minimum standards set forth by the accreditation organization. Every school must meet these standards to be recognized as an accredited school. Failure to be accredited makes the students of that school ineligible for federal student loans as well as resulting in the school not being included in federal assistance programs. A degree from a non-accredited will not be recognized by states which license physicians assistants.

The fact that each school must meet the minimum accreditation standards results in the establishment of core entrance requirements. However entrance into physicians assistant programs is so competitive that schools go beyond the minimum accreditation standards and will require prerequisites along the line of what is listed below.

  • Anatomy and Physiology I and II with lab: minimum of 8 semester
  • General Chemistry I and II with lab: minimum of 8 semester hours
  • Biology I and II with lab (Mammalian, Cell or Human Biology): minimum of 8 semester hours
  • English: Minimum of 6 semester hours
  • Statistics, Algebra, Calculus, Finite Math, or other equivalent Advanced Mathematics: Minimum of 6 semester hours
  • Humanities and/or Social Science: Minimum of 6 semester hours

The above is a good indication of what is required in regards to college course work to gain entrance into a program but it’s not the only requirement. These programs require applicants to have demonstrated the ability and aptitude for working in a medical health care field. Each school requires applicants to have worked a minimum number of hours in a health care field to qualify for admission. The number of hours varies from 500 to 5,000 as well as the type of jobs in the medical healthcare field which will meet a school’s entrance requirement differs from school to school. Some programs allow volunteer work while others only counts hours that were worked as a paid employee.

Each applicant interested in applying to a one of these programs should research a number of schools to see what each ones entrance requirements are in order to ensure they will be competitive in the application process.

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