Roanoke College

Preparing for a Career as a Physician Assistant


Undergraduate preparation: PA programs look for students who have a desire to study, work hard, and to be of service to their community.  Most physician assistant programs require applicants to have previous health care experience and some college education. The typical applicant already has a bachelor's degree and approximately 4 years of health care experience. Students should take courses in biology, English, chemistry, mathematics, psychology, and the social sciences. Most applicants to PA programs hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Many PAs have backgrounds as registered nurses, while others come from varied backgrounds, including military corpsman/medics and allied health occupations such as respiratory therapists, physical therapists, and emergency medical technicians and paramedics.