As you become a physician assistant, you will examine, diagnose, and treat patients with the approval of a doctor. Depending on your specialty, physician assistants may work in all areas of medicine, including primary care and family medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, and psychiatry.
Why Consider Physician Assistant?
You'll be an integral member of the healthcare team and provide many of the same services as a primary care physician. If you want to work in medicine, but becoming a doctor isn't the right path for you, consider a career as a physician assistant instead.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is one of the highest-paid, most in-demand jobs in the U.S.; employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 31 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
- Anesthesiologist Assistants
- Family Practice Physician Assistants
- Certified Physician's Assistants
- Orthopaedic Physician Assistants
- Doctors' Assistants
- Orthopedic Physician Assistants
- Nursing Homes
- Medical Offices
- Retail Clinics
- Community Health Centers
- Educational Facilities
Explore: Physician Assistant Pathways
Become a student at USM and obtain the necessary science or non-science requirements to apply to a Physician Assistant program, with the guidance of our pathways expert!
|Undergraduate Credit Required||Bachelor’s degree|
|Entrance Exam||MCAT, GRE, or PA-CAT|
|Professional Schooling Required||3 years of professional school; Master of Physician Assistant Studies|
|Professional Organization Websites||American Academy of Physician Assistants, Physician Assistant Education Association|
Here are some of the local or surrounding area professional schools:
- Mississippi College (Clinton, MS)
- Mississippi State University (Meridian, MS)
- Louisiana State University (New Orleans, LA)
- University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)
- University of South Alabama (Mobile, AL)
Navigating the Application Process
Beginning early with the application process allows students to structure an academic plan of study. Physical assistant programs do not admit based on course prerequisites and GPA alone. Most programs also have a series of additional requirements, including competitive scores in the MCAT, GRE (Graduate Record Examinations), or PA-CAT and high GPA (overall and prerequisite), providing evidence of care for people through service and shadowing experiences, leadership roles, and more!
We encourage you to contact our pathways expert to support you in your professional development endeavors.
Strategies for Success
- Find the curriculum, timeline, and requirements suggested by our pathway expert.
- Most PA programs may require the GRE, prepare to take it using an online practice test.
- Beginning in spring 2020, some PA programs will start requiring or preferring that applicants take the newly-developed, PA-CAT.
- Most PA schools do not require the MCAT as part of their admissions process, but some will accept the MCAT instead of the GRE.
Shadowing and Externship
- Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the Hatten Externship (BSC 392), which is offered each Fall.
What Should I Major In?
Physician Assistant schools do not require a particular major—pursue a major in which you feel the most comfortable with! Explore related majors:
Not interested in the sciences? Explore Schools that have compatible majors, so you pursue a degree that fits your abilities and passions!