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Physician Assisting


Physician assisting programs prepare people to diagnose and treat patients.

Physician assisting programs include topics such as:


While completing a physician assisting program, you spend two years working as an intern in a hospital or clinic under the supervision of a licensed physician.


Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in physician assisting. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in physician assisting. A master's degree typically requires three years of study beyond a bachelor's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

In addition, admission to bachelor's programs in physician assisting usually first requires the completion of some college courses first. These courses typically include the following:

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, letters of recommendation, and good test scores on the General Record Exam (GRE) general. In many cases, a personal interview is also required.

Most programs also require previous clinical experience. This includes experience in:

It does not include administrative work or "shadowing" a health care professional. The amount of required experience varies.

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

The undergraduate, certificate, and graduate programs typically include courses in the following subjects:

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate programs leading to a master's degree typically includes some combination of the following:

These graduate requirements give you more opportunities to apply what you've learned to a large project. They also allow you to show your skills and knowledge.

All of the programs also include at least a year of clinical rotations, where you rotate between programs that give you hands-on experience in different kinds of clinical settings. This usually includes:

Things to Know

All states require physician assistants to pass certification exams. This gives them the title of Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C). These exams are open only to graduates of accredited physician assistant programs.

You must take continuing education courses periodically after graduation in order to renew your certification.

As a physician assistant, you may want to enter a postgraduate residency program to specialize in a particular field such as surgery, pediatrics, or emergency medicine.


King-Snohomish Area

Shoreline Community College

University of Washington - Seattle

Kitsap Area

Olympic College

Tacoma Area

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom

University of Washington - Tacoma

Yakima Area

Heritage University