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Skidmore College
Health Professions Advisory Committee
& Student Health Professions Network 

Physician's Assistant—Degree Programs

The master of science in physician assistant studies (physician assistant-certified) employs a didactic approach where students engage in approximately 12 months of clinical rotations as well as learn basic and medical sciences. Most students who gain admission to a PA program have a bachelor’s degree and about three years of health care experience before entering a PA program.  Programs are accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and typically require at least two years of full time study. In order to practice, PAs must obtain a state license. All states require that PAs graduate from an accredited PA program and pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).   

In order to be admitted to a PA program, applicants must have experience with direct patient care.  Please research your programs of interest to gain a better understanding of what the minimum requirements are as well as an understanding of the profile of a successful applicant.  Physician Assistant programs vary in the number of hours and the kinds of experiences that qualify as direct patient care. Qualifying experiences often include paramedic, EMT, emergency department volunteer, orderly, nurse's aide, researcher/technician, mental health aide, EKG/monitor technician, patient care associate or technician, home health aide, medical office assistant, pharmacy technician, medical technologist, medical technician, athletic trainer, veterinary technician, ophthalmologic technician, dietitian, respiratory therapist, radiation technologist, LPN, corpsman, and phlebotomist.