Applying to Physician Assistant Programs

Physician Assistants (PAs) are medical professionals who practice medicine under the supervision of doctors. They examine, counsel and diagnose patients, assist in surgeries, order lab tests, and much more. Training to become a PA is rigorous and includes an accredited PA program with clinical rotations, followed by certification and state licensure exams. Many PAs will complete a residency of 1-2 years following their PA program. Continuing medical education is required for all PAs, along with recertification exams every ten years.

PA programs are typically 26-27 months in length and include clinical rotations in addition to coursework. Most programs award a master’s degree. The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) maintains a searchable list of accredited programs, as does the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

Course Requirements

Course requirements vary by school, so research your programs early and make sure your Sewanee schedule accommodates these requirements. The PAEA’s list of accredited programs includes course and admission requirements for each program.

Addition Admission Requirements

Begin working on your healthcare experience early, and make sure that your hours will count toward the programs in which you are interested. Some programs count shadowing towards the required hours, but others do not. Many applicants to PA schools are registered nurses, paramedics, and EMTs. Sewanee offers a variety of internships that allow students to obtain experience in healthcare fields. Healthcare experience is crucial in deciding whether a career as a PA is for you.


The Office of Medical and Health Programs (OMHP), partnering with the Sewanee Health Professions Society (SHPS), provides both leadership development opportunities for students interested in tutoring and one-on-one peer tutoring for students seeking tutoring. All peer tutors have not only succeeded in the courses in which they tutor, but they have also been shown to be good teachers and mentors.