There are various degrees you can earn as a PA, a certificate degree, a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. The nationally recognized degree is a master’s degree, therefore, we’ll focus on prerequisites for a master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies. With that said, by no means do you HAVE to attend a master’s program. PA’s who had earned a certificate degree or a bachelors degree are able to practice to the full capacity of their license. In a future article, we will delve more into the similarities and differences of the degree of education. Today, the question at hand is what courses are required for PA schools at large and what classes will help you strengthen your application?
First off, there is no “right” major to select so which ever you have already begun will be the right major. Just be sure to complete the core classes required for the PA schools you choose to apply to. This article will focus on an overview of schools, be sure to visit the website for each particular school to be certain you have accomplished each prerequisite. Majority of programs require General Biology, General Chemistry, General Psychiatry, Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Microbiology and a Statistics course. Many schools require if not highly recommend (great way to add to your application) additional coureses in Mathematics, Biochemistry, Genetics, Medical Terminology and Organic Chemistry.
As a rule of thumb, I'd say anything above 60% is fair game, 40-60% is something you should consider given your personalized application and your targeted schools, and below 40% is non-vital to your application
Many undergraduate programs across the country are beginning to recognize a pre-PA track; thereby have developed a degree map for students to follow. Be sure to visit the websites of schools you aspire to attend and be certain each of the prerequisite courses will be offered. If your undergraduate program does not offer a pre-PA track, you may be able to model one of your own after a pre-med degree map, making adaptations for those courses required for a PA career.
- Rachel Patel, PA-C
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