Bachelor's Degrees for Physician Assistants

Physician assistant degree programs at the bachelor's level prepare you to work closely with a licensed physician providing patient care. Keep reading for more about degree programs, career options and typical program prerequisites. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can I Expect in a Physician Assistant Bachelor's Degree Program?

A common degree for individuals seeking training as a physician assistant (PA) is the Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistant. Some schools divide the 4-year curriculum into pre-professional and professional categories. The pre-professional portion usually takes place in the first two years of the program; common courses include sociology, chemistry and medical terminology. Students may then matriculate into the professional portion of the program, which includes coursework in diagnosis techniques, surgery and clinical medicine.

Because students are expected to spend a significant amount of time in medical facilities providing patient care, these programs are not available online at the bachelor's level. The program's professional curriculum requires students to spend several weeks in each department of a medical facility, like emergency care, obstetrics, internal medicine and psychiatry.

Common Courses Medical terminology, chemistry, diagnosis techniques, surgery, clinical medicine
Prerequisites High school English, math, and history courses must be completed prior to enrollment; institutions may require previous experience within a medical facility
Key Career Duties Supply ordering, patient treatment, prescribing medication, test ordering, result interpretation

Are There Any Prerequisites?

Entry into the pre-professional portion of a PA bachelor's program includes completion of high school-level courses in English, mathematics and history. Admission to the professional portion of a PA bachelor's program is often more competitive. In addition to completing the pre-professional curriculum, some programs expect student to complete a number of hours in patient care or volunteer service in a medical facility before applying. A minimum grade point average in pre-professional mathematics and science classes may be required as well.

What Can I Do With The Degree?

A PA works under the supervision of a licensed medical doctor. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), he or she is often responsible for obtaining medical histories, treating minor patient injuries, ordering tests and interpreting the results (www.bls.gov). Other tasks sometimes assigned to a PA include supervision of medical technicians, prescribing medications or ordering supplies. The range of duties can vary, based on the type of practice and state regulations, as reported by the BLS.

PAs are required to pass a certification exam offered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). A PA must complete 100 hours of continuing medical education credits every two years to maintain certification, according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). In addition, a PA needs to take a recertification exam every ten years, according to the NCCPA.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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