How are PAs Educated and Trained?

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PAs are educated at the master’s degree level. There are more than 250 PA programs in the country and admission is highly competitive, requiring a bachelor’s degree and completion of courses in basic and behavioral sciences as prerequisites. Incoming PA students bring with them an average of more than 3,000 hours of direct patient contact experience, having worked as paramedics, athletic trainers, or medical assistants, for example. PA programs are approximately 27 months (three academic years), and include classroom instruction and more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations.

The PA educational program, modeled on the medical school curriculum, is a combination of classroom and clinical instruction. The PA course of study is rigorous and intense. The MSU MPAS Program is 29 months in length.

In the didactic phase, students take courses in basic medical sciences, behavioral sciences, pharmacology, health promotion and disease prevention, and behavioral ethics.

In the clinical phase, students complete more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations in medical and surgical disciplines, including family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, general surgery, emergency medicine, and psychiatry.

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