Physician Assistant

Physician Assistant (PA)

WHAT ARE THE ACADEMIC PREREQUISITES?

In making decisions about admissions, PA schools consider a range of factors that may vary from one school to another. All prerequisite courses usually need to be completed with a grade of C or above.  A science and cumulative GPA > 3.5 is competitive; the GRE is required, and is a factor considered in the admissions process.  

It is recommended, and often required, that you complete the following courses:*

Biology BIO 143, BIO 243, BIO 231
Chemistry 1 year Gen Chem w. lab (CHEM 125 & 126 OR CH/BI 125 & 126 & CH/BI 227 OR CHEM 121, 123, and 126), 1 year Org Chem w. Lab (CHEM 247 & 248), Biochem w. lab (CHEM 379)
Math & Stats Calculus (MATH 119 or 120) (pre-req for Gen Chem)

Statistics – (STAT 212)

Physics A year of non-major (non-calculus based) physics (PHYS 124 & 125) is required by some schools (such as Bethel) but not others (such as Augsburg and Mayo)
Social Science PSYCH 125, PSYCH 241, PSYCH 247
Recommended Genetics (BIO 233), advanced coursework in health-related areas, such as neuroscience, immunology or developmental biology

 

Prerequisites from different schools (to demonstrate variations in prerequisites)

WHO IS THE DESIGNATED ADVISING SPECIALIST?

Professor Kevin Crisp (Associate Professor of Biology, Chair of the Health Professions Committee)

Office: RNS 220   Phone: 507-786-3981 Email: crisp@stolaf.edu

WHAT STANDARDIZED TEST WILL I NEED TO TAKE?

WHAT CENTRALIZED APPLICATION WILL I USE?

WHAT ARE THE EXPERIENTIAL PREREQUISITES?*

  • Shadowing: 50-100 hours shadowing PAs in a variety of settings with different patient populations is generally recommended.
  • Health Care Experience: paid, hands-on patient care, such as working as a CNA, EMT or phlebotomist, typically for 2000+ hours (250+ at Bethel).
  • Volunteering: It is highly recommended that you volunteer in a position, starting as early as your first year at St. Olaf. Although your volunteer role can be in healthcare or outside of healthcare, we recommend that you aim to volunteer in both capacities. PA schools are looking for applicants with sustained and meaningful volunteer experience serving the underserved.  They don’t want students who are simply checking the “volunteer box.”
  • Leadership: It is strongly recommended that you serve in a leadership capacity (president of an organization, academic tutor, service on an advisory board, etc.). Leaders can enhance their communication and organizational skills, as well as learn how to interact with individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds

WHAT DO PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS ACTUALLY DO?

Physician assistants are medical providers who are licensed to diagnose and treat illness and disease and to prescribe medication for patients. They work in physician offices, hospitals and clinics in collaboration with a licensed physician.

The physician-PA relationship is fundamental to the profession and enhances the delivery of high-quality health care. Because of their advanced education in general medicine, modeled after physician education, physician assistants can treat patients with significant autonomy.

In a primary care setting, physician assistants can provide nearly all of the clinical services a physician does, including:
Take medical histories
Perform physical exams
Order and interpret laboratory tests
Diagnose and treat illnesses
Counsel patients
Assist in surgery
Set fractures

PAs are trained with the medical model and complete these qualifications in less time than a traditional medical degree. The educational model for PAs is based on the fast-tracked training of physicians during World War II.

WHAT OTHER RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE AT ST. OLAF?

Study Abroad: Yes –  you CAN study abroad as a pre-health student! Speak with your advisor early in order to plan for when a semester or year abroad will fit into your academic plan.

Student organizations:

Full list

Alpha Epsilon Delta: Preprofessional Health Honor Society

Pre-health Professionals Club

Pre-health Moodle site

Pre-health Google calendar

Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

*Ultimately, it is the responsibility of applicants to ensure that they complete all prerequisite coursework and experiential opportunities required for successful admission to PA school

 

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