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Articulation:

Pre‐Physician Assistant

Academic & Career Information


NATURE OF THE WORK, EARNINGS, AND OCCUPATION

Many Physician Assistants (PA) work in primary care areas such as general internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. Others work in specialty areas, such as general and thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, orthopedics, and geriatrics. PAs take medical histories, perform physical exams, order and interpret laboratory tests, diagnose and treat illnesses, counsel patients, assist in surgery, and set fractures. The responsibilities of a PA depend on the practice setting, education, and experience of the PA, and on the state laws and regulations. PAs are required to have leadership skills, and be willing to continue studying throughout their career to keep up with medical advances.

According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the number of practicing PA’s has doubled in the last decade, and should reach between 137,000-173,000 jobs by 2022. State laws regulating physician assistants have expanded access to physician services provided by PAs, including the authority to prescribe medications in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and Guam. The development of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and other prepaid plans and the growing acceptance of PAs by other health care professionals have combined to strengthen the job market for PAs. Employment of PA’s is expected to grow much faster than average (38%) for all occupations through 2022. Median income for physician assistants is $90,930 (Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014‐2015).

PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT EDUCATION

There are many entry pathways into the physician assistant profession. Options include certificate of completion, as well as associate, baccalaureate, and master's degree --admissions to these different programs are highly competitive. There are 189 accredited physician assistant programs in the United States, and they are located at medical schools, medical centers, hospitals, two‐ and four‐year colleges and universities, and in the uniformed forces (Physician Assistant Education Association). The vast majority award Masters degrees, and most applicants to PA programs have a bachelor’s degree and 3-years of health care experience at the time of entry.

PAs are educated as generalists in medicine; all programs emphasize primary care. PA programs require students to complete 26 months of classroom studies, and the educational program is modeled after the medical school curriculum with a combination of classroom and clinical instruction (Association of Physician Assistant Programs). PA education includes classroom instruction in biochemistry, nutrition, human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, clinical pharmacology, clinical medicine, geriatric and home health care, disease prevention, and medical ethics. Students obtain supervised clinical training in several areas, including primary care medicine, inpatient medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, geriatrics, emergency medicine, psychiatry, and pediatrics. PAs must complete 100 hours of continuing medical education every 2-years and take recertification exams every 10-years (AAPA).

PRE-PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT PREPARATION

Prerequisite admission requirements and selection criteria vary according to the individual institution's philosophy, thus refer to the individual program website for detailed information. For a list of programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistant (ARC‐PA) visit the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) website www.paeaonline.org, and click on the Accredited Programs tab.

MAJOR

Any major is appropriate for PA preparation. Students should select a major they find interesting and develop a broad, interdisciplinary foundation of knowledge and skills from which they can build upon. Most PA programs require that applicants have a minimum of two years of college credits and some health care experience prior to admission.

CLINICAL EXPERIENCE REQUIRMENTS

Many schools require a certain amount of hours of direct patient care (check with the school that you are considering). Some examples of preferred clinical experiences are: Military Medic or Corpsman, Back Office Medical Assistant (MA), Certified Nurses’ Aide (CAN), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT--patient care hours only), Paramedic, Physical Therapy Aide or Physical Therapist, Radiological Technician, Nurse (Licensed Vocational Nurse or Registered Nurse), Respiratory Therapist, Occupational Therapist Aide or Occupational Therapist, Athletic Trainer (others that are considered depending on the patient interaction i.e. phlebotomy, scribe).

Examples of clinical experiences not preferred: Administrative duties, Massage Therapy, Personal Trainer, Home Care Aide, Home Health Aide, Pharmacy Technician, Certified Nurses’ Aide, shadowing a physician or PA, research with no patient contact, hours received during training programs (i.e. medical school, internship, etc.).

APPLICATION

CASPA is the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants--a centralized Web‐based application service provided by the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA). CASPA allows you to apply to any number of participating schools by completing a single application. California schools not participating in CASPA include Stanford University. In 2013 a total of 21,730 applicants applied to PA programs via the CASPA and 6,828 applicants were offered admissions. The mean Science GPA: 3.45, Non-science GPA: 3.58, Cumulative GPA: 3.51.

For more information regarding CASPA refer to their website: http://www.caspaonline.org.

The information above is reprinted with permission from CSULB’s Health Professions Advising Office: http://web.csulb.edu/colleges/cnsm/sas/hpao/planning.html

 

This is NOT a comprehensive list of prerequisites for all programs. Students maintain responsibility for verifying course selection with individual Physician Assistant programs.

 


Below is a list of requirements for 8 PA schools in California.

SAMUEL MERRIT UNIVERSITY
Note: Most applicants will have a minimum of 1,000 hours of direct patient contact.

Samuel Merritt Prerequisites IVC Courses​
​One course in General Chemistry with lab* ​CHEM 1A or CHEM 1B
​One course in Organic Chemistry with lab* ​CHEM 12A
​One course each in Human Anatomy* and Physiology* ​BIO 11 and BIO 12
​One course in Microbiology* ​BIO 15
​One additional Biology elective in any area ​At least 3 units for a min. total of 16 units of Bio. Sciences
​One course in Statistics ​MATH 10 or PSYC 10 or 10H
*Strong preference will be given to those who have completed these courses within the past 5 years. This recency recommendation is less stringent for those currently working in the health care field.

TOURO UNIVERSITY
Note: A min. of 500 hrs. of paid or volunteer health care/clinical experience. 1,000 or more hrs. of direct patient care is preferred.

​Touro University Prerequisites ​IVC Courses
​Two semesters of Chemistry with Lab ​CHEM 1A and CHEM 1B or 12A and 12B
​Two semesters of General Biology with lab ​BIO 5 and BIO 16 or BIO 16 and 94
​One semester of Human Anatomy with lab* ​BIO 11
​One semester in Human Physiology with lab* ​BIO 12
​One semester in Microbiology with lab ​BIO 15
​One semester in Statistics ​MATH 10 or PSYC 10 or 10H
*Strong preference will be given to those who have completed these courses within the past 5 years.


KECK SCHOOL OF MEDICINE- UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Note: Hands-on, paid patient care clinical experience is preferred. Volunteer clinical experiences is also considered.

Keck School of Medicine - USC Prerequisites IVC Courses
​One year sequence of General Chemistry with lab ​CHEM 1A and CHEM 1B
​One year sequence of General Biology with lab ​BIO 5 and 16 or BIO 16 and BIO 94
​One semester of Human Anatomy with lab ​BIO 11
​One semester of Human Physiology with lab ​BIO 12
​One semester of Microbiology with lab ​BIO 15
​One semester of Statistics -  preferably statistics for psychology, sociology or biology ​MATH 10 or PSYC 10 or 10H
​One semester of Psychology ​PSYC 1 or 1H
​One year of Beginning Spanish Language ​SPAN 1 or 1H and SPAN 2
​One year of English - applies to international applicants only ​WR 1 or 1H and WR 2 or 2H
 All science prerequisites must be completed within ten years of the application deadline. See website for exceptions.

 

LOMA LINDA UNIVERSITY
Note: A minimum of 2,000 hours of hands‐on patient care experience

Loma Linda University Prerequisites IVC Courses
​Two semesters of General Chemistry with lab ​CHEM 1A and 1B
​One semester of Human Anatomy with lab ​BIO 11
​One semester of Human Physiology with lab ​BIO 12
​One semester of Microbiology with lab ​BIO 15
​One semester of Psychology PSYC 1 or 1H​
​One semester of Sociology or Cultural Anthropology ​SOC 1 or 1H or ANTH 2 or 2H
​Two semesters of English ​WR 1 or 1H and WR 2 or 2H
​One semester of College‐level Algebra ​MATH 8
​One semester of Statistics (Recommended) ​MATH 10 or PSYC 10 or 10H
​Conversational Spanish (Recommended) ​SPAN 10 and/or 11
​One course in Medical Terminology (Recommended) ​Not available at IVC
 

 

MARSHALL B. KETCHUM UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT STUDIES (within SCCOP)
Note: A minimum of 1,000 hours of verifiable, direct, hands-on patient care experience.

Marshall B. Ketchum University School of Physician Assistant Studies Prerequisites IVC Courses
​3 Units in any area of the Biological Sciences ​3 units in any of the Biological Sciences
​One semester of General Microbiology with lab ​BIO 15
​One semester of Biochemistry or Organic Chemistry ​BIO 10 or CHEM 12A
​General Psychology* ​PSYC 1 or 1H
​Statistics* ​MATH 10
​One semester of Human Anatomy with lab** ​BIO 11
​Human Physiology with lab** ​BIO 12
*AP Credits will be accepted for Psychology and Statistics; **Must be taken within the last 10 years.

 

STANDFORD UNIVERSITY
Note: A minimum of 3,000 hours of direct patient care experience must be completed in the USA by the application deadline.

​Stanford University Prerequisites ​IVC Courses
​One semester of General Chemistry ​CHEM 1A
​One semester of Human Anatomy with lab* ​BIO 11
​One semester of Human Physiology with lab* ​BIO 12
​One semester of Microbiology with lab* ​BIO 15
​One semester of Intermediate Algebra** ​MATH 253
​One semester of English Composition** ​WR 1 or 1H
​One semester of Psychology ​PSYC 1 or 1H
​One semester of Sociology or Cultural Anthropology ​SOC 1 or 1H or ANTH 2 or 2H
*Combined GPA must equal a 3.0 or higher; should be taken within the last 5 years

**More than the minimum requirement is recommended in these areas for strong analytic and communication skills.

 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS, BETTY IRENE MOORE SCHOOL OF NURSING
Note: A minimum of 1,000 hours of paid or volunteer experience in a clinical environment with direct patient exposure.

UC Davis School of Medicine Prerequisites IVC Courses
​One course in General Chemistry with Lab ​CHEM 1A
​One course in Human Anatomy and Physiology with lab* ​BIO 11 and 12
​One course in Microbiology with lab ​BIO 15
​One course in English Composition ​WR 1 or 1H
​One course in Algebra, Statistics or Calculus ​MATH 8 or MATH 10 or MATH 3A or 3AH
​Two courses in Social Sciences ​SOC 1 or 1H or ANTH 2 or 2H or PSYC 1 or 1H
*Should be taken within the past five years

 

WESTERN UNIVERSITY OF HEALTH SCIENCES
Note: Clinical experience, while preferred, is not required.

Western University of Health Sciences Prerequisites IVC Courses​
​Two semester sequence of General Chemistry with lab* ​CHEM 1A and CHEM 1B
​One semester of Human Anatomy with lab* ​BIO 11
​One semester of Human Physiology with lab* ​BIO 12
​One semester of Microbiology with lab* ​BIO 15
​One semester of Genetics* ​BIO 72 or BIO 97
​One semester of Statistics ​MATH 10 or PSYC 10 or 10H
​One semester of College Algebra
(Pre-Calculus, Calculus or Trigonometry courses are acceptable)
​MATH 8
MATH 2, 3A or 3AH or 124
​One semester of Psychology ​PSYC 1 or 1H
​One semester of Sociology ​SOC 1 or 1H
​Two semester sequence of College English ​WR 1 or 1H and WR 2 or 2H
​Three semester courses (9 units) in the Humanities ​e.g. Art, Music, Ethics, Philosophy, Foreign Languages and Religion
​Spanish (highly recommended) ​SPAN 1 or 1H and SPAN 2
*Must be taken within the past 7 years

Contact

Tiffany Tran
Articulation Officer
T: 949-451-5324
E: ttran76@ivc.edu

Jacky Rangel
Articulation Specialist
T: 949-451-5647
E: jrangel7@ivc.edu

F: 949-451-5307
O: Student Services Center, SSC 210 

 

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