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 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 handful of bachelor's programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant are available that lead to professional licensure.

Students in physician assistant bachelor's programs learn how to gather patient histories, perform physical examinations, administer diagnostic tests and perform medical procedures like sutures, injections and immunizations. 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 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

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (14)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (5)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (2)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (4)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (5)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (2)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your classroom preference?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Currently not accepting applications from Texas residents
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor of Science - Healthcare Management With a Dental Hygiene Emphasis
    • Associate
        • AS in Medical Assisting

    Which subject are you interested in?

  • 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:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (2 campuses)
    • California (5)
    • Colorado (1)
    • Florida (1)
    • Hawaii (1)
    • Texas (2)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    Do you prefer online or campus based learning?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Florida (2 campuses)
    • Minnesota (1 campus)
    • Texas (3)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Iowa (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Iowa include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Athletic Trainer
        • Nuclear Medical Technologist
        • Physician Assistant
        • Radiological Science and Technologies
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Wisconsin (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Wisconsin include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Physician Assistant
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Nutrition Services
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Texas (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Texas include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Physician Assistant
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Nutrition Services
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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