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Physician Assistant

    Physician Assistant

    This is a relatively new field in the health professions which began to give medics a job after the Vietnam War. There are 104 PA programs in the United States (Capital University does not have this program). Certification for this can come from an Associate's, Bachelor's, or Master's degree. Physician's Assistants can be in family practice, pediatrics, emergency medicine, or orthopedics. They may have their own offices, make house calls, work in a hospital, or in a doctor's office. A physician assistant takes patient histories, gives physicals, and prescribes medication. Regardless of the situation, the physician assistant must confirm each diagnosis and medications prescribed with a licensed physician. Good training for PA comes from working as a nurses assistant or taking the EMT course and practicing emergency medicine while in college.

    Most physician assistant schools require the following courses for admission:

    • 1 semester of General Biology
    • 1 semester of Microbiology
    • 1 year of Anatomy and Physiology, preferably human
    • 1 year of General Chemistry
    • 1 semester of Organic Chemistry
    • 1 year of Psychology, including Developmental Psychology
    • 1 semester of Statistics
    • 1 year of English
    • 1 semester of Medical Terminology

    Additional requirements: 1 semester of Organic Chemistry II or Biochemistry I (depending on program); Direct patient contact as a nursing assistant, EMT, nurse, physical or respiratory therapist; Shadowing of a physician assistant; CPR certification; Demonstrable computer skills.

    For specific information on your school of choice, be sure to find their list of prerequisites on their web page. A general list of physician assistant program web pages is located at: