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Physician Assistant Undergraduate Degree Program Information

Learn about the bachelor's degree programs that can prepare you for graduate training as a physician assistant. Get information on course requirements, certification and continuing education as well as salary and job growth expectations.

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Essential Information

Physician assistants (PAs) are healthcare professionals who are licensed to practice medicine under a medical doctor's supervision. Most PAs hold master's degrees earned during a post-baccalaureate PA training program, but a bachelor's degree gives them a good career foundation. Students learn how to gather patient histories, perform physical examinations, administer diagnostic tests and perform medical procedures like sutures, injections and immunizations. Students in PA undergraduate programs should have strong interpersonal skills and sound judgment. Graduates are prepared to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE), which is necessary to become a certified physician assistant.

Educational Requirements

Applicants to physician assistant undergrad programs need to have a high school diploma or GED. ACT or SAT scores are expected. Some schools require previous exposure to the healthcare industry.

Program Coursework

The first two years of a PA bachelor's degree program are spent learning theory, and the last two years are comprised of clinical work. Lectures involve anatomy, biology and chemistry. Class topics are:

  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Diagnoses and procedures
  • Health law and ethics
  • Human physiology and anatomy
  • Making clinical decisions
  • Medical terminology
  • Microbiology
  • Physician assistant internship

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Jobs for physician assistants are expected to increase by 30% between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported in May 2012 that a physician assistant's mean annual wage was $92,460. This salary is dependent on specialty, setting and experience.

Continuing Education Information

Physician assistants are expected to keep their medical knowledge up to date, which requires additional classes every few years. Some physician assistants go on to earn master's degrees in the subject. Those who want to be specialized PAs, such as surgeon assistants and anesthesiologist assistants, can seek further training.

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Physician Assistant: Educational Requirements

Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Alabama (2 campuses)
    • Arkansas (1)
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    • Delaware (1)
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    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    When would you like to start classes?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    Which subject are you interested in?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must be 22 years of age or have active military status
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Associate
        • AA in Healthcare Mgt

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  • School locations:
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    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Associate
        • Associate in Medical Assisting and Administration

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your high school graduation status?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Which degree level do you plan to pursue?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • North Carolina (2 campuses)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • RN to BSN
    • Associate
        • AS in Medical Assisting

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED; Graduate degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    School locations:
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    • Bachelor
        • BS in Health Services

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Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics