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Why Become a PA?
Pathways to Admission

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A PA is known as a physician assistant or physician associate. These types of medical professionals focus on primary patient care and work alongside medical doctors. 

One major incentive to become a PA is the noted work/life balance that comes with the profession. Unlike medical doctors, who are often on-call, becoming a PA allows you to have time outside of your career for hobbies, family and other activities. 

Becoming a Physician Assistant also comes with a competitive salary (typically 100,000+) with much less time spent in schooling overall than other medical programs such as an MD or DO.

PA’s are also able to provide direct patient care since they are licensed medical professionals. Going to PA school is a great way to pursue your medical dream if you wish to work in the medical field, perform minor procedures, and diagnose & treat various illnesses.


Steps to Becoming a PA

To become a licensed physician assistant or physician associate you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Complete your PA school prerequisites

  2. Apply to an accredited PA program (typically 3 years in length)

  3. Become certified by passing the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam)

  4. Obtain your state license from the state in which you plan to practice

  5. Maintain your certification through ongoing continuing education

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PA School Requirements

Like most graduate programs, PA school requires a specific set of prerequisites upon admission to the program. These prerequisites typically include:

  • Anatomy

  • Physiology

  • Biochemistry

  • Biology

  • Microbiology

  • Chemistry

  • Organic Chemistry

  • English Composition/Writing

  • Genetics

  • Medical Terminology

  • Psychology (general)

  • Statistics

While most students complete these prerequisites during their undergraduate schooling, there are some students who can pursue the pre-professional phase.

The 4-6 year long pre-professional track, or “fast track” allows a  number of recent high school graduates (typically with some college credit) to pursue their PA degree without specifically needing their Bachelor’s degree.

PA schools also prefer to see some prior experience with hands-on patient care, so keep that in mind. This experience can be gained by working as a paramedic, medical assistant, lab tech and more.

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We will help you:

  • Plan to complete & review the PA program prerequisites

  • Navigate the PA application process with calm and ease

  • Prepare for the required medical examinations 

  • Transcript will be reviewed along with academic advising

  • Assist in developing top-choice and secondary PA program lists

  • Determine PA school application timeline and completion

  • Work through Interview preparation & practice interviewing skills

How Pathways Will Help You Become a PA

Like many other medical career paths, becoming a PA involves a lot of preparation and hard work. Pathways is here to help with the entire PA school path and admissions process. You’ll receive the support you need to succeed thanks to Pathways’ many years of college consulting experience..

  • What is nursing?
    According to the American Nurses Association: “Nursing is the glue that holds a patient’s health care journey together. Across the entire patient experience, and wherever there is someone in need of care, nurses work tirelessly to identify and protect the needs of the individual. Beyond the time-honored reputation for compassion and dedication lies a highly specialized profession, which is constantly evolving to address the needs of society. From ensuring the most accurate diagnoses to the ongoing education of the public about critical health issues; nurses are indispensable in safeguarding public health. Nursing can be described as both an art and a science; a heart and a mind. At its heart, lies a fundamental respect for human dignity and an intuition for a patient’s needs. This is supported by the mind, in the form of rigorous core learning. Due to the vast range of specialisms and complex skills in the nursing profession, each nurse will have specific strengths, passions, and expertise. However, nursing has a unifying ethos: In assessing a patient, nurses do not just consider test results. Through the critical thinking exemplified in the nursing process, nurses use their judgment to integrate objective data with subjective experience of a patient’s biological, physical and behavioral needs. This ensures that every patient, from city hospital to community health center; state prison to summer camp, receives the best possible care regardless of who they are, or where they may be.”
  • What does a BSN nurse do?
    A BSN nurse is a registered nurse who has earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. BSN nurses provide direct patient care in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities. They work with physicians to assess patient health, diagnose illnesses, and develop treatment plans. BSN nurses also provide education and support to patients and their families, and assist in the management of care for individual patients.
  • Is there a difference between a BSN and RN?
    A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a four-year degree program that prepares students to become a registered nurse (RN). An RN has completed either a two-year associate degree program or a three-year diploma program. The BSN degree provides a broader foundation of knowledge, which includes courses in leadership, research, and public health. BSN programs also offer more clinical opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience.
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Ginny is a warm and knowledgeable professional! As a former high school college counselor and pediatric nurse, she really understands how to relate to young adults. In addition, she knows the nuances of nearly every college and has relationships with many admissions counselors. This is a stressful time and having her navigate the path to a successful college match was invaluable. I recommend her highly.

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Talk to Pathways About the Steps to Becoming a PA

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