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torso of medical professional with arms crossed holding a stethoscope, image has white overlay; pre-physician assistant

Physician assistants (PA) are medical providers who are licensed to diagnose and treat illness and disease and to prescribe medication for patients. They work in physician offices, hospitals and clinics in collaboration with a licensed physician.

The physician-PA relationship is fundamental to the profession and enhances the delivery of high-quality health care. Because of their advanced education in general medicine, modeled after physician education, physician assistants can treat patients with significant autonomy.

female pre-professional student speaking with male doctor - pre-physician assistant program

Students in the Pre-Physician Assistant program have the opportunities to:

Obtain critical skills to achieve admission to a Physician Assistant program.
Receive expert guidance from an academic advisor for their major, and from the Pre-health advisor to ensure that courses required for PA school are taken.
Gain foundational knowledge needed for success in PA school, and a strong performance on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
image of clipboard, stethoscope, pen and keyboard on a wooden desk; pre-physician assistant

What Should My Major Be?

Most schools do not require a specific major, but it is important to review the specific recommendations at any school you are interested in attending. We recommend choosing a major that suits your personal interests. Physician Assistant admissions teams will check carefully to make sure you have all of the specific prerequisite courses and experiences that they require for consideration.

multi-racial group of medical student sitting in a row; male student in foreground clear and smiling; pre-medicine
female pre-professional student with stethoscope examining patient; pre-medicine

Experience Matters

Experience in hospitals or clinics that use PAs will help to ensure that you are making a good career choice. Many PA programs require a minimum number of clinical service hours- check with the PA programs you are interested in to find out what they expect. PA admissions look for evidence of such experience. Benedictine students have many opportunities to volunteer in local clinics and hospitals. In addition, many PA programs encourage applicants to have meaningful patient care experience that can be obtained by working in positions such as a CNA, EMT, medical assistant, or rehabilitation technician.