Figurines of doctor and nurse

Physician Assistant

The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) states: “A physician assistant (PA) is a medical professional who works as part of a team with a doctor. A PA is a graduate of an accredited PA educational program who is nationally certified and state-licensed to practice medicine with the supervision of a physician. PAs perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret lab tests, perform procedures, assist in surgery, provide patient education and counseling and make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes. All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow PAs to practice and prescribe medications.”

For further information about the physician assistant profession, visit the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), and PAEA’s PA Focus. In addition, you can search for programs using the PAEA Program Directory and the Accredited Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. maintains a list of physician assistant programs in the United States.

Additional AAPA Resources:

Application service: Approximately two-thirds of physician assistant programs participate in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants. However, schools that opt not to participate in the central application process require individuals to apply directly to them.

Standardized Test: Not all physician assistant programs require submission of standardized test scores. Those programs that do require such scores typically require the Graduate Record Examination.

Beginning in 2020, applicants to Physician Assistant schools will be able to take an optional PA-CAT (it is estimated that about 30 PA programs will participate).  Other PA programs may continue to require the GRE until the PA-CAT is fully adopted.