How hard is it to become a physician assistant? It is harder than becoming a registered nurse, but not quite as hard as becoming a doctor. A science major is a must when it comes to the prerequisites of applying to PA school. Most PA schools will look for a major in either biology or biological sciences or a chemistry major who has also had formal teaching of biology. Just like MCAT proficiency in the three scientific subjects of biology, chemistry and physics are a must. It would be quite hard to get accepted to a PA school without a science major in college (Unlike nursing courses which may look at applicants with arts and humanities backgrounds after making them take courses in the scientific subjects).
Usually, students who have undertaken undergrad studies in biological subjects are preferred over candidates who have other backgrounds. But you can offset this by doing an MS in any biological field which will make you more preferable as compared to undergrad students but it will take about two years and your student loans are going to increase as well.
The basic requirements to get into PA school are:
- Undergrad degree (preferably in biology or chemistry)
The requirement to clear out PA school is the PANCE test, that you take at the end of your studies.
What GPA do you need to get into PA school?
A minimum GPA of 3.0 is usually required to get into PA school. But, it depends on the schools offering the program. Some schools can have minimum GPA scores as low as 2.7 while others will not even look at applications below 3.2, so it varies. If the minimum of a particular school is 3.0 and you have a 2.9 GPA, in my opinion, it is not worth applying to the school as your application will be rejected in the first phase and won’t even be looked at. It is a hard but honest truth. I tell you this so that you don’t go and spend a few hundred dollars on an application that is not even going to be looked at.
Is it competitive to become a PA?
Yes, PA schools are few in number and the applicants are steadily increasing year after year. So, the competition is rising. Most PA schools are now demanding higher and higher GPAs and GRE scores. You may also be asked to sit the PA-CAT (Physician assistant college admission test).
Is MCAT required for the PA program?
No, MCAT is not required. Most schools currently enroll based on GRE. Although you may be asked to also sit the PA-CAT. The trends keep on changing and in the future, I am quite certain that the general GRE will be replaced with the more specific PA-CAT test.
Should I take the GRE or PA-cat?
PA-CAT is more specific. It focuses on the core skills required to be a healthcare worker in general as well as theory based on biology, chemistry, and physics. So it tests all the requirements for enrollment into a healthcare field. If you compare this with the GRE then it is a common general and analytical knowledge test that is required for most Master’s level degree programs. GRE is not specific and hence it does not filter out good candidates for the schools. Most schools are moving away from GRE and adopting PA-CAT as the main test. Some schools require GRE for application and PA-CAT for acceptance. But there are still schools that only require GRE. It would be wise to look at the requirements of each individual school and then take the one required. But if I were in your shoes, I would give the GRE in any case. It allows me to apply to other programs in addition to PA school. So in my opinion it should be a must for all undergraduates.
Is it worth becoming a physician assistant?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the upcoming years, a very high number of PA jobs are going to be created. This in addition to the importance of PAs in telemedicine, a new job market is growing and fast. So, in the coming times, it can be a very good return on investment (in terms of PA school loans and invested time) to become a PA. Most PAs are paid handsomely throughout the US. This accompanied by the easy lifestyle of being a PA compared to a doctor, PA school is a good consideration to keep in mind if you set on entering the healthcare field. For more info on this question read this article “Is being a physician assistant worth it? Is PA a good career?“.
How many years do physicians assistants go to school?
PA school usually lasts for about three years. This includes classroom studies as well as clinical rotations. Most PA students have to undergo up to 2000 hours of clinical training to become eligible to sit the PANCE test to become certified as a Physician Assistant.
Is the PANCE test hard?
Yes, it is, and it should be. Becoming a certified PA is hard. The test is designed to check the theoretical knowledge as well as the clinical skills of the students. After clearing the exam you will no longer be a student but a certified professional and you would have to take the responsibility of caring for the patients. SO, the test is designed to be hard. It is the final hurdle that any PA student faces to become a full-fledged professional. Watch the video below if you are interested to become a PA.
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