The American Academy of Physician Assistants defines a physician assistant (PA) as an authorized person who can practice medicine as part of a team with physicians. PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery and write prescriptions. Currently, most PA programs utilize an application system called the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants otherwise known as the CASPA.
Pre-physician assistant students typically obtain a bachelor of science (BS) or a bachelor of arts (BA) degree while completing the requirements for admission to PA programs. PA programs do not require nor prefer a particular undergraduate degree.
How do I apply to physician assistant school?
Students apply to PA school through a centralized application system called the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Similar to the common application for undergraduate school, students can apply to the majority of PA programs through a single application on the CASPA. However, there is a handful of programs that do not utilize the CASPA. The CASPA application opens in April.
As of 2016, CASPA application cost: $175.00 for one school and $50.00 for each additional school/program.
What are the prerequisites for applying to physician assistant programs?
It is important for students to check each school's requirements carefully as some schools will require courses not listed below. For more information about a specific program, please contact that school directly.
|General Biology with lab
|General Chemistry with lab
|Organic Chemistry with lab
||2 quarters to 1 year|
Sample Timeline - Traditional 4 Year
Students should meet with their academic advisor and pre-health advisor each quarter to make sure they are taking the correct courses for their major/professional interest.
Below is a sample timeline for a Health Sciences major. Please be aware that PA programs do not require or prefer a specific major and the below timeline should not be used to replace regular meetings with your academic advisor.
Sample Timeline - Accelerated 3+ with RFUMS
Volunteering and Shadowing Opportunities
I'm a PA
The Pre-Health Program in conjunction with the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute have a limited amount of shadowing opportunities during summer and winter break. For more information please setup a meeting with the pre-health advisor by calling 773-325-8490 or schedule an appointment on-line through BlueStar.
It is important for students to check each school's requirements carefully as some schools will require information not listed above. For more information about a specific program, please contact the school directly.