Physician Assistant

Physician Assistants (PA) practice medicine under the supervision of a physician. Physician Assistants work in a variety of health care settings, and are able to examine and treat patients, take medical histories, prescribe medications, assist in surgery, and perform minor medical procedures.

Please note: This is an informational page for current SPU students and does not represent a program that SPU offers.

To become a Physician Assistant, one must successfully complete a Masters degree through an accredited program, pass a certification exam, and obtain a state license. Physician Assistant programs are typically 25 - 28 months, and include both didactic instruction and clinical training. Most PA programs require applicants to have significant work experience in a patient-care setting prior to applying.

Professional Website

General Information


Students in PA programs earn a Masters degree; most programs are 25 - 28 months. Unlike physicians, PAs do not typically complete additional training (such as a residency). However, additional training may be necessary for some specialties. PAs must pass a national certification exam to become eligible for state licensure.


Consideration to schools usually requires the following:

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Completion of courses including General Biology, Microbiology, Anatomy & Physiology, Chemistry, Statistics and English
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • 3 - 5 letters of recommendation, including from physician assistants
  • At least 1 year (preferably 2 years) of paid experience providing direct patient care in a clinical setting

Standardized Tests

To become licensed, you must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE), then apply for licensure in the state in which you intend to practice.