Physician assistants (PAs) are medical providers who are licensed to diagnose and treat patients. They provide invaluable support to doctors, surgeons, and other healthcare providers—especially in underserved communities where doctors aren’t readily available. From analyzing lab work to prescribing medication, physician assistants ensure patients receive essential care.
With such responsibility PAs must receive a rigorous education. The coursework is so advanced that by 2020 PA programs will be required to offer a master’s degree upon completion. Not surprising when you consider students undergo intense training in complex subjects such as anatomy, the effects of medication, and medical ethics. What’s more, students can also specialize to become experts in specific fields including pediatric care and health education. The result? Degree holders become effective and integral members of the medical teams they join.
Physician assistant programs are specifically designed to train future physician assistants. With a degree, students can take the certification exam and obtain a license to begin their careers.
Yes. Many schools offer online programs. Students simply need to ensure the program is accredited and matches their scheduling needs.
Most employers and schools recognize and accept online degrees. Performance during the program and on the certification exam is more important.
The exact requirements vary depending on the program, but most require a minimum GPA, letters of recommendation, clinical hours, and an acceptable GRE or MCAT score. The best solution is to look up the requirements of the programs you are interested in.
Completing a program is necessary for those who want to be physician assistants. In addition, programs offer stable careers and the ability to enter a highly respected medical field.
After program completion, students must also pass the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE) and obtain a license to practice. Fortunately, programs offer guidance for both and provide the tools and support students need to succeed. In other words, students can feel confident they are on the path to rewarding careers of helping those in need.
For more more resources and career information related to this degree, please read our career guide here.