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The University of Texas at ArlingtonThe University of Texas at Arlington

College of Science

Pre-Physician Assistant Studies

Pre-Physician Assistant Studies

WHAT IS A PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT (PA)?

A physician assistant (PA) is a medical professional that diagnosis illnesses, develope and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and can serve as a patients priniciple healthcare provider. PA's can specialize in many medical settings and have thousands of medical training hours. They can also assist in surgery, make rounds at hospitals and nursing homes, perform procedures and physical exams, counsel on preventative care, and do clinical research. PA's work with physicians. 

EDUCATION LEVEL: MASTER's DEGREE - average 27 month program

TRADITIONAL COMPETATIVE PRE-PA STUDENT: 

*NOTE: Each student's path is different! Holistic review takes several factors into account. 

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UPDATES ON COVID-19

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NEWS/UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • CASPA opens April 30th, 2020

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NATIONAL ORGANIZATION 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

 

UTA PRE-HEALTH ORGANIZATION 

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SPECIAL PROGRAMS

  • PARKLAND HOSPITAL OBSERVATION PROGRAM
    • The experience is designed to increase career awareness, fulfill education/application requirement and help model behavior through example. Eligibilty and additional information can be found on the website.
  • STUDENTS ENGAGED in ROUNDING and VOLUNTEERING PROGRAM (SERV)
    • The SERV Program is a two-semester long volunteering and shadowing program at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. Eligibilty and additional information can be found on the website. Applications are accepted at certain times of the year. 

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RECOMMENDED CLINICAL EXPERIENCES

Gaining shadowing and direct patient care experience is very important in becoming a competitive candidate for PA Programs. Some programs may expect hundreds to thousands of hours of healthcare experience with focus on direct patient care. Therefore, getting an early start is helpful. Below are suggestions for Pre-PA students. Visit our Special Programs page for additional resources.

  • Shadowing PA's
  • EMT/Paramedic
  • RN or CNA
  • Medical Assistant
  • Physical Therapy Aide
  • Home Health Aide
  • ER, EEG, or EKG Technician
  • Phlebotomist
  • Hospice Care
  • Scribing
  • Volunteering in clinics or healthcare settings
  • Shadowing other Healthcare Professionals

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PREREQUISITES

The prerequisites for PA Programs can vary per school and can have a 7-10 year expiration. The courses listed below are typical requirements for most programs. The courses must be for science majors and are taken with your major classes. You can major in any subject, however, most students choose Biology. Students should visit the specific schools admission website for complete requirements. Recent coursework is preferred. The average GPA of accepted student is 3.6-3.8.  

Course # of Hours Required  UTA Course
General Biology (prerequisites to upper level Biology) 8 Hours - 6 hrs lecture & 2 hrs lab

BIOL 1441 - Cell and Molecular Biology

BIOL 1442 - Evolution and Ecology

Genetics 3 Hours BIOL 3315 - Genetics
Microbiology 4 Hours - 3 hrs lecture and 1 hr lab BIOL 2444/3444 - Microbiology
Human Anatomy & Human Physiology (For SCIENCE Majors) 8 Hours - 6 hrs lecture & 2 hrs lab

BIOL 3446 - Human Anatomy w/lab

BIOL 3442 - Human Physiology w/lab

General Chemistry 8 Hours - 6 hrs lecture & 2 hrs lab

CHEM 1441 - General Chemistry I w/lab

CHEM 1442 - General Chemistry II w/lab

Organic Chemistry with Lab 4 Hours - 3 hrs lecture & 1 hr lab CHEM 2321/2181 - Organic Chemistry I w/lab
Statistics 3 Hours 

MATH 1308 - Elementery Statistics  OR

BIOL 2300 - Biostatistics

Psychology 3 Hours  PSYC 1315 - Intro to Psychology
Recommended Courses (Some schools may require)  

CHEM 4311 - Biochemistry I (prerequisite Organic Chem II)

BIOL 3301 - Cell Physiology

BIOL 3312 - Immunobiology

BIOL 4312 - Intro to Virology

BIOL 4331 - Molecular Biology

NURS 3309 - Medical Terminology

Average GPA of Accepted Applicants:   3.6-3.8


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PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT PROGRAMS - 254 US Programs

TEXAS - Specific Program Information 

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APPLYING & APPLICATION SERVICE 

Students typically apply at the end of junior year but your application cycle may be different depending on your circumstances. This is a competitive, year long process, therefore it is important to apply only when you are a competitive candidate. Student should become familiar with the application service used to apply to PA Programs early. HELPFUL VIDEO: Gap Year Before Medical Schoo: How to Decide if its Right for You 

  •  CASPA - Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants
    • COST: $179 for 1 School ($55 for each additional)
    • FEE WAIVERS: limited waivers are offered at the beginning of each cycle
    • 2020 APPLICATION CYCLE: April 30, 2020 - deadlines vary per school
    • CASPA Application Help Center
    • A COVID-19 hardship essay has been added to the 2020-21 CASPA application to allow applicants to express how the pandemic has impacted their pathway to becoming a PA. This essay is optional, will be up to 2500 characters in length, and will continue to be offered for at least the 5 application cycles.  

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ADMISSION TEST - GRADUATE RECORD EXAMINATION (GRE)

  • SCORE: 130-170 in reasoning sections and 0-6 in writing section
  • SECTIONS:Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing
  • COMPETATIVE SCORE: >150 in each reasoning section and >4 in Writing
  • COST: $205
  • IDEAL time to TAKE: Can vary; Summers are ideal
  • Register at: GRE ETS Site
  • Visit the TEST PREP RESOURCE SECTION for FREE and paid resources. 
  • General information

 

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CASPer: Some programs also require the CASPer Test, an assessment of an applicants personal qualities. This test is taken during the application cycle and valid for 1 year. More information can be found on the CASPer Website.