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Pre-Physician Assistant

About the Profession

Physician Assistants are healthcare professionals licensed to practice medicine and provide diagnostic and therapeutic patient care in conjunction with a supervising physician.  Within the medical team, physician assistants' specific duties depend on the setting in which they work, their specialty, and their level of experience.  A PA's responsibilities include, but are not limited to: conducting physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting laboratory and radiological tests, counseling on preventative healthcare measures, and assisting in surgery.

Preparation Starts Now

From the time you begin college, you are assembling a complete dossier with which to apply to professional schools.  Applicants are expected to have:

Course Requirements

Start planning as a first year student to meet the following course requirements for professional schools.  Programs vary in course requirements, so be sure to review the requirements of all the schools you plan on applying to.  Below are the courses at SUNY Geneseo that are recommended you complete:

Course Requirements
SUNY Geneseo
Notes
Two years of Biology, including Microbiology

 

BIOL 117, 119, and 116 (lab)   

 


BIOL 349 (previously BIOL 230)

Pay attention to course offering schedule (i.e. Fall/Spring)

One lecture with the lab can count as an N/ General Education requirement


Pre-req: BIOL 222 or BIOL 271

One year of General Chemistry CHEM 116, 118, and 119 (lab)

Pay attention to course offering schedule (i.e. Fall/Spring)

One lecture with the lab can count as an N/ General Education requirement

One semester to one year of Organic Chemistry CHEM 211, 213, and 216 (lab) Pay attention to course offering schedule (i.e. Fall/Spring)
One year of Anatomy and Physiology

BIOL 365 and 366

Pay attention to course offering schedule (i.e. Fall/Spring)
One year of English INTD 105 and one ENGL course INTD 105 is the Basic Communication General Education requirement
One semester of math  

Some schools specifically require statistics or calculus

This could count toward the R/ General Education course requirement

One semester of Psychology PSYC 100  
One year of Humanities/Social Sciences   Typically requirement is met by the S/ and H/ General Education course requirements

*Check with schools you are interested in apply to for specific course requirements.  Some schools may require additional coursework not listed above.

It is recommended that course requirements are completed at SUNY Geneseo, but there are instances where a student would need to complete one or two courses elsewhere.  If that is the case, it is suggested that coursework be completed at a four-year higher education institution.  All course requirements must be taken for a grade and demonstrate mastery, no lower than a C, for most professional schools.

Health Related Experience

Physician Assistant programs vary in the health related experience requirement.  Requirements may range from as little as 100 hours up to 2000 hours.  Schools may also require applicants to have hands-on patient care experience as opposed to just patient contact.  Positions that involve patient care may include, but are not limited to:

  • Athletic Trainer
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
  • Dietitian
  • EKG/Monitor Technician
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Home health aide
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Scribe (not accepted by some PA programs)
  • Orderly
  • Patient Care Assistant
  • Phlebotomist
  • Volunteer direct patient care (i.e. hospitals, hospice, nursing homes)
  • PA shadowing (some schools limit acceptable hours)

For more information regarding the application process, visit The Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).