Physician Assistant Requirements

Most PA education programs require applicants to earn a bachelor's degree prior to admission into a professional PA program.

  • Certain coursework
  • Good GPA
  • Test scores (GRE)
  • Experience
  • Recommendations

A competitive applicant for PA programs will have taken the recommended coursework (see below), have a GPA of 3.3-3.5 (3.00 minimum), taken the GRE, have good references, history of community service/volunteerism.  You also need to have about 3 years of healthcare experience such as:

  • Medical assistant
  • Emergency medical technician (EMT)
  • Paramedic
  • Medic or medical corpsman
  • Peace Corps volunteer
  • Lab assistant/phlebotomist
  • Registered nurse
  • Emergency room technician
  • Surgical tech
  • Certified nursing assistant (CNA)
  • Medical or ER scribe
  • Medical mission trips

There is some variation in the pre-requisite coursework needed at the undergraduate level.  Below is a listing of the undergraduate coursework required by most programs as well as some additional coursework that may be required by some programs.

Minimum Pre-Requisites C or better:
  • Biol 130 – Cells to Organisms
  • Biol 150 – Organisms to Ecosystems
  • Biol 260 - Microbiology
  • Biol 300 - Human anatomy
  • BIOL 370 - Human physiology
  • Chem 116 – Energetics and Dynamics (may need 115 Structure and Reactivity)
  • Chem 250 – Organic I
  • Chem 340 – Biochemistry I
  • Psyc 100 – Principles of Psychology
  • Statistics (Math 107 or Biol 170)
  • Additional courses for some programs:
  • Phys 141 – Principles of Mechanics
  • Another biology course 
  • Comp phys, vert morph, genetics, immunology
  • Another chemistry course
  • Another one or two psychology courses

Usually a biology or biochemistry major works well for preparing for PA school.


The length of professional physical assistant programs is typically 2 years and the average cost per year for programs in 2017-18 range from an avg of $35,000/yr tuition for residents and $40,000/yr for non-residents


To practice as a PA in the US, you must earn a PA degree from an accredited PA program and pass the PANCE licensure exam.


University of Wisconsin, Concordia University