Pre-Physician Assistant

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Pre-Physician class members.

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This course helps you learn the concepts, principles and methods generally used in the surveillance and investigation of health-related events.

Physician Assistants can conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, develop treatment plans, perform procedures, prescribe medications, counsel on preventive health care and may assist in surgery; under the supervision of a physician or surgeon.

Pre-Physician Assistant (PA)

Alma College offers a very competitive physician assistant pre-professional track, with a core curriculum that includes a strong physiology sequence. The other core track requirement is Human Anatomy. You have the  chance to take an excellent human anatomy course with human cadaver dissection. Alma College is one of very few Division III institutions that offers a hands-on whole body dissection within our Human Anatomy Laboratory. This is an opportunity not all students are given.

Students that choose the Pre-Physician Assistant generally select a major in Biology or Integrative Physiology and Health Science, although other degrees are possible as long as long as the general Pre-Physician Assistant requirements are met. This track will consist of other coursework besides within IPHS, which will include chemistry, mathematics and psychology. Due to the substantial chemistry that is required, many students also choose to complete a chemistry minor (usually consisting of CHM 115, 223, 224, 230, BCM 321 and one additional CHM course). As a general rule, the preparation for Pre-Physician Assistant follows that of pre-medical preparation.

Requirements for Physician Assistant graduate programs differ by school. Thus, students are urged to become familiar with pre-requisites for different programs.  

A MAJOR component of becoming a competitive candidate for Physician Assistant programs is direct patient care.  While many graduate programs require 500-1000 hours, in order to be a competitive applicant, students should plan to get 2,000+ hours.  It is highly recommended that students start with paid direct patient care early on in there tenure at Alma College. A side note, volunteer and shadow hours may not necessarily be counted. Students might consider acquiring a CNA and working at a care facility to acquire these hours.

Please contact the biology or the IPHS department for additional assistance in developing a four-year plan for achieving your goals. 

PA programs in Michigan 

Central Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University

Grand Valley State University

University of Detroit Mercy

Wayne State University

Western Michigan University

Other sites of interest:

American Academy of Physician Assistants: Includes general national and international policy positions, lists of PA programs by state

Physician Assistant Education Association: (formerly known as the Association of Physician Assistant Programs) home of CASPA, the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants