Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017

Prephysician Assistant

Suggested major: Biology

The physician assistant (PA), working with physicians and other health professionals, performs many clinical functions that enable the physician to devote more time to duties requiring his particular knowledge and skill. This professional performs duties based on guidelines established by the state granting certification. In most settings the physician assistant obtains medical histories, performs physical examinations, orders and interprets laboratory results and other information and assesses and treats common illnesses, including writing prescriptions. Successful completion of the National Certifying Examination is required to practice as a physician assistant in Georgia.

Application to Physician Assistant Program

A year in advance of physician assistant school admission, a student must complete the application and take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). There are four PA schools in Georgia. All students are advised to complete a baccalaureate degree. Emory's PA program is the oldest (ranked third in the country in 2010) and is the most competitive in the state. The other three schools are Mercer, Georgia Health Sciences University, and South University. Depending on the program to which you are applying a minimum of 2 years of employment in a health-related field may be required (Emory) to the other extreme of no requirement whatsoever (South).  Even so, any student interested in becoming a PA is urged to begin work in an approved health practice occupation as soon as possible in order to be competitive with other applicants. For example, an applicant meeting the entry requirements for Emory might begin this work in high school, or take a year after college to complete it.