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Physician Assistant Resources: Information about Physician Assistants

Material in this guide provides information useful for locating books, articles, and web pages related to the physician assistant program.

Deb West

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Deb West
Nash Library and Student Learning Commons

Research Assistance

Any time you need help with a paper or project, whether it's where to begin, finding more information or sources, citing a resource, or just to bounce an idea around, please feel free to contact me and set up an appointment. My contact information is listed above. 

What is a Physician Assistant

 What is a PA? 
  • There are several steps a person must take in order to become a PA.

    1. An applicant to a PA program must complete at least two years of college courses in basic science and behavioral science as prerequisites to PA training.
      • Most PA students have earned a bachelor’s degree and have about three years of health care experience before entering a PA program.
    2. A prospective PA must complete his or her education at an accredited PA program. Accreditation is granted by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.
      • PA programs are approximately 27 months long and include classroom and clinical instruction.
    3. Before a PA can practice, he or she must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examadministered by the National Commission of the Certification of Physician Assistants.
      • Only graduates from accredited PA programs are allowed to take the PANCE.
    4. When a prospective PA passes the PANCE, then he or she can use the credentials “PA-C”, which stands for “Physician Assistant-Certified.”
      • To maintain national certification, a PA must complete 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years and pass the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam every six years.
    5. Before a PA can begin practicing, he or she will also need to obtain authorization to practice in his or her state.

PA Career Information

About the Profession