Physician assistant school requirements

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Physician assistants help form the backbone of many healthcare teams around the United States, but how do you go about pursuing the profession? Here are some physician assistant school requirements that you can expect on your path to becoming a PA.

Topics studied and GPA

One of the first things you can expect PA schools to look at is your performance at high school and undergraduate level, both through your GPA and your grades in specific subjects. Similar to medical schools, every PA school has different preferences, but you can expect your admissions panel to look favorably on science subjects, mathematics and something that shows good communication skills (like English or journalism).

MCAT or GRE?

PA schools can accept a range of different entrance exams – the most common ones are the MCAT (the same that you take for medical school) or the GRE, which is required for many different master’s degrees. These require a good amount of preparation, so make sure you check with your desired college which one they prefer.

Extracurriculars

Medical professionals need far more than science knowledge to be successful, so admissions panels look for students who show their dedication in other ways. Being a member of a sports club, holding a leadership role at your college or playing a musical instrument prove that you are motivated, determined and a good all-rounder. Don’t forget to mention these hobbies and interests at interview and in your PA school application.

Work experience

Although it’s not a requirement, anything you can do to make your PA application stand out is really worth considering. One of these things is work experience, and many PA programs require that you have a certain amount of hands-on patient care experience. The benefits are two-fold: firstly, it lets the college admissions panels know that you’re serious about the role of a PA and have dedicated some time to really understanding the realities of the role. Secondly – and just and importantly – it gives you the chance to be sure that this is the right fit for you. Remember that the college is not simply choosing you – you’re choosing them as well.

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