According to the NAAHP, there has been a large growth in the PA profession. The number of PA programs has increased by 28% from 2012 to 2016. “The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 30 percent job growth into 2024, adding approximately 28,000 jobs over the next eight years.” Benefits of becoming a PA include being able to practice in any area of medicine and earning a salary competitive with an annual average salary of $97,000.
A career as a Physician Assistant is increasingly appealing to many people, making entry into PA programs somewhat competitive.
Look to the Future
Because admission requirements for physician assistant programs vary from one program to another, students should contact the program(s) of their choice early in their Hendrix career. Also remember that this is not a major at Hendrix.
Community service, health care experiences, and leadership activities are essential. You need lots of experience working with people for people.
Obtain paid patient contact experience and observe Physician Assistants
Many schools require several hundred hours of paid patient contact. Having this experience is just as critical as your GPA. Programs want to know that you have a sense of what it will mean to be a Physician Assistant, and that you are committed. Some examples of how you can gain this type of experience include working as a phlebotomist, EMT, a patient transporter or hospital registration technician.
Keep your academic record strong
Few individuals get admitted with the minimal requirements, which usually includes a minimum GPA of 3.0. More often programs are looking for the most highly qualified students and will therefore have higher expectations and standards, admitting students with qualifications and GPAs higher than the minimum requirements. When choosing your schools to apply to, check to make sure you will meet or exceed the requirements.
Get to know some health care providers, faculty and work/volunteer supervisors. All of these individuals can be a resource for you to obtain new and valuable opportunities. Always maintain a good rapport with these contacts as well. You never know when you will need a letter of recommendation, and you want to make sure they can provide you with a great letter, not a mediocre one.
Stay up on current healthcare issues
Read newspapers and reliable sources such as The New York Times, The Economist, USA Today, The Commonwealth Fund Website or The Kaiser Family Foundation.
For information, contact Dr. Brenda Houck in the Biology Department.
Examples for Course Selection
Common requirements are listed below. Requirements vary at different institutions.
BIOL 150 Cell Biology (w/Lab)
CHEM 110/120 General Chemistry I & II (w/Lab)
BIOL 205/215 Anatomy and Physiology (w/Lab) I & II
BIOL 340 Microbiology (w/Lab)
MATH 215 Introductory Statistics or PSYC 290 Statistics
Elective course in psychology
Other frequently required courses:
BIOL 250 Genetics (w/Lab)
CHEM 240 Organic Chemistry I (w/Lab)
CHEM 330 Biological Chemistry (w/Lab)
Medical Terminology (not taught at Hendrix)
Public Speaking (not taught at Hendrix)