Physician Assistant Specialties
Cardiology | Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery | Dermatology | Emergency Medicine | Obstetrics & Gynecology | Oncology | Orthopedic Surgery |
Pediatrics | Plastic Surgery | Primary Care | Psychiatry | Surgery | and more!
Physician Assistants "are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient's principal healthcare provider" (AAPA, 2018). As the name indicates, PAs are under the supervision of a physician. The road to becoming a PA tends to be shorter than becoming a physician, with the curriculum lasting two-and-a-half to three years. Many times, this field is attractive to those who value a healthy work-life balance and desire to work more one-on-one with patients.
Students preparing for a Physician Assistant career are classified as Pre-Physician Assistant. To qualify for admission to a physician assistant program, students must take the necessary prerequisites for each school. A bachelor's degree is also required for admission.
What do I need to become a physician assistant?
In order to become a physician assistant, an individual must earn a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from an accredited program and pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam, PANCE. State licensure is also required. Unlike the path to becoming a physician, PAs can specialize in certain fields without a residency. The three ways to specialize are as follow (AASPA, 2018):
- Graduating from an accredited PA program that has a focus in that specialization
- Completing a residency in that specialization
- Receiving on-the-job training from your employer in a hospital, clinic, or other related setting
Which major should I select at UNT for a pre-PA path?
Popular/Possible majors for pre-physician assistant students at UNT:
- Bachelor of Arts in Biology, College of Science
- Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
- Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, College of Science
- Option III would be the best fit for pre-health students
- Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, Allied Health or General Tracks, College of Education
- Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies, College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
- Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Studies, College of Health and Public Service
- Bachelor of Science in Public Health, College of Health and Public Service
Note: Physician Assistant programs do not require a particular degree. If you choose a major outside of the sciences, we recommend taking extra courses in biology, in addition to all of the required prerequisites.
What courses do I need for physician assistant school?
Please refer to our Pre-Physician Assistant Packet for a list of Texas PA program prerequisites. To review prerequisites for PA programs outside of Texas, please refer to each individual school's website.
Timeline: When do I apply to physician assistant school?
Students must apply to physician assistant schools one year before entering a program. On the traditional four-year path, students will apply during the summer after their junior year of college, complete their bachelor's degree at the end of their senior year, and enter PA school the following fall semester.
This timeline will show you an example of the traditional four-year path to PA school.
Note: Each student's timeline is different. Your UNT academic advisor/counselor is committed to creating a plan that accommodates your individual goals and circumstances.
Call, click or come by for more information!
Office of Health Professions: 940-369-8606 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Hickory Hall, Room 256
What makes a competitive application to physician assistant school?
Admission to PA programs is very competitive, sometimes more competitive than admission to medical schools. As such, students should create a strategic plan well in advance. Below you will find typical categories of a competitive application. Please contact our advisors in the UNT Office of Health Professions to further explore each competitive characteristic and to create your pre-PA plan.
|GPA||3.5-4.0, schools vary|
|Community Service||150+ Hours|
|PA Shadowing||150+ Hours|
|Clinical Experience||500+ Hours|
What is the GRE?
The Graduate Record Examination, GRE, is the entrance exam that must be taken before applying to physician assistant programs. The score range for the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE is 130-170. The range for the writing section is 0-6. For more information about the GRE, please visit the official ETS website.
How do I apply to physician assistant school?
Physician Assistant programs in the United States use a single-application service to obtain student information:
Are there any scholarships available to pre-physician assistant students?
Unfortunately, there are no specific scholarships offered to pre-physician assistant students. However, general scholarships are offered to students through each department and college across campus. Below you will find scholarship webpages for some of the popular majors listed above:
- Biology Major Scholarships
- Psychology Major Scholarships
- Kinesiology majors should click on the 'College of Education' link for more information.
- Rehabilitation Studies Scholarships
- Public Health majors should click on the 'College of Health and Public Service' link for more information
If you do not see your major listed under one of the three colleges listed above, please visit the scholarship website of the college that houses your major.
What pre-health student organizations are there at UNT?
HERE you will find a list of health-related student organizations at UNT.
Professional Organizations and Resources
Who can help me create a plan for this career path?
If you are a current student, please visit unt.navigate.eab.com to schedule an appointment.
For general questions email: HealthCareers@unt.edu
To view contact information for individual pre-health advisors, visit this site. On the left, under "Office of Health Professions Pre-Health Advising" you will find all of the pre-health advisors' emails.
If you are a current student, join our canvas course to receive important announcements and view resources related to your pre-physicians assistant journey.
AAPA (2018). What is a PA? Retrieved from https://www.aapa.org/what-is-a-pa/
AASPA (2018). Education & licensing. Surgical PA profession. Retrieved from http://www.aaspa.com/surgical-pa-profession