Physician Assistant Degree

When it comes to getting your physician assistant degree there are a few different routes that you can take that ultimately will lead you to gaining employment as a PA.  But before we jump right into the different paths you can take, it should be known that you need to find a physician assistant school that is accredited to do your training through. This school must be accredited by the Accrediting Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) as this is the main accrediting agency that reviews all the different physician assistant degree programs and decides whether they meet the requirements to become an accredited program. Now this is vital to starting a career as a physician assistant because of the fact that in order to take the physician assistant competency evaluation, also known as the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), you must have done your training through an accredited PA school.

The Physician Assistant Degree Options

Now when it comes to the PA degree options that are at your avail, here are a the different methods that you can use to attain your physicians assistant degree:

  • Bachelors Degree – This is really the minimum requirement when it comes to gaining employment as a physician assistant which there are a host of different accredited PA programs that offer a Bachelors Degree in Physician Assistant Studies, but it should be known that the majority of workings PA’s today hold a Masters Degree.
  • Pre-PA – This option is also called a 4 + 2 physician assistant degree program where it is like a transfer agreement where if you meet certain requirements while doing your Bachelors Degree then you will be guaranteed admission into the Masters Degree of Physician Assistant Studies program, which is a very great route to take as admissions into regular Masters Degree programs are very competitive. The Bachelors Degree isn’t specific and can be any really any study.
  • Masters Degree – Most all accredited physician assistant programs offer a Masters Degree in Physician Assitant Studies to their graduates, which there are various requirements, but the main ones being that you completed your Bachelors Degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of what is usually 3.0 or higher, along with a host of different required prerequisite courses.

Now these physician assistant degree programs are offered all over the United States and come in the form of on-campus programs as well as online distance learning programs, both of which suffice when it comes to the credentials needed to take the PANCE. As far as what you will learn while doing your physician assistant degree training, some of the subjects touched upon include:

  • Orthopedics
  • ENT
  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology
  • Diagnosis
  • Dermatology
  • Surgery
  • Gynecology
  • Pediatrics
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Preventative Medicine

The general timeframe for getting a physician assistant degree is anywhere from 24 to 30 months for a Masters Degree, and around 4 years for the Bachelors. The physician assistant degree program will consist of both classroom learning as well a learning in a clinical setting, which the program is full time and very demanding, but offer a great career to those who graduate as the median salary for physician assistants is over $90,000 a year.