University of Vermont

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Physician Assistant

Physician Assistants are licensed medical care providers who evaluate, diagnose and treat patients with physician supervision.  Like physicians, PAs can prescribe medication, perform procedures, assist in surgeries, educate their patients, interpret laboratory tests, and conduct research.  While PA education is primary care focused, PAs can practice medicine in a variety of specialty areas including general and subspecialty surgery.

Graduate programs for PA training are typically 26 to 27 months long, including clinical rotations, and most lead to a master’s degree.   Nationally there are 159 accredited graduate programs. Read More about becoming a PA.

Check out this interview advice for PA school.


Pre-requisites vary from program to program, so students are strongly advised to review school-specific requirements to inform their planning.

The most common required coursework includes:



BIOL 1 & 2  OR
BCOR 11 & 12
For a 1 semester requirement, take Bio 1

General Chemistry

CHEM 31 & 32
For a 1 semester requirement, take Chem 23

Anatomy & Physiology

ANPS 19 & 20

Microbiology MMG 101
English Choose a writing/composition course

Additional required or recommended courses may include:



MATH 19, 20 or 21, 22


STAT 111 or 141

Organic Chemistry 

CHEM 141, 142
For a 1 semester requirement, take Chem 42

Biochemistry    BIOC 295A for non-majors
BIOC 205/206 for majors
Psychology  PSYS 1 at minimum

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Given the relatively short training period for PAs, schools expect that candidates have already gained direct patient care experience prior to enrollment, ideally through full-time employment.  Students are encouraged to plan working for one or two years after graduation before applying to PA programs. While programs specify requirements of 500 to 2000 clinical hours, the average number of clinical hours of a competitive PA applicant is about 3600.  Some employment options that provide direct patient care experience include: medical assistant, orderly, licensed nurse assistant, and home health aide.

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Find Programs

Application procedures, requirements and deadlines can vary from program to program, so be sure to check school-specific policies.   Some schools require an entrance exam, most commonly the GRE.  Plan to take the exam by May in the year of application.  

139 of the 160 programs subscribe to the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).  A complete listing of participating programs can be found on the CASPA Website. 

CASPA allows for three letters of recommendation.  While schools may vary in their requirements, candidates should generally plan on providing two academic letters, and one clinical letter that can speak to their potential as a health care provider. 

Candidates can begin working on their application by mid-April, and CASPA begins forwarding applications to the schools in early June.  Plan to apply early in the cycle, and no later than four weeks prior to your earliest deadline.

Check out the CASPA Facebook Page for application cycle information and related questions.

Apply to Programs

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  • Arcadia University – Delaware & Pennsylvania
  • Barry University
  • Bryant University
  • Clarkson University
  • D’Youville College
  • Drexel University
  • Duke University
  • Elon University
  • Emory University
  • Franklin Pierce University
  • Idaho State University
  • Johnson & Wales University
  • Long Island University
  • MCPHS - Boston, Manchester & Worcester
  • Mercy College
  • MGH Institute of Health Professions
  • Nova Southeastern University - Jacksonville
  • Oregon Health & Science University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Red Rocks Community College
  • SUNY Upstate Medical Center
  • Tufts University
  • University of Bridgeport
  • University of New England
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison

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Interest in the PA profession is on the rise at UVM. Join other students who are similarly exploring and preparing for the field. Contact:

Like Pre-PA Students at UVM on Facebook

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Last modified November 07 2017 04:00 PM