Physician Assistants (PAs) provide healthcare services under the supervision of physicians. They should not be confused with medical assistants, who perform routine clinical and clerical tasks. PAs are formally trained to provide diagnostic, therapeutic.

Western University of Health

listing of approved GCC prerequisites
Algebra - Math 100
Anatomy - BIOL 120
Chemistry - CHEM 101 & 102
English - ENGL 101, 102, 104
Genetics - Not yet evaluated
Microbiology - BIOL 112
Physiology - BIOL 121
Psychology - PSYCH 101
Sociology - SOC 101
Statistics - Math 136
Humanities (i.e. art, music, philosophy, foreign languages, religion) (3 semesters)
Spanish (not required but strongly encouraged

University of Southern California
General Chemistry: CHEM 101 & 102
General Biology: BIOL 101 & 102
Microbiology: BIOL 112
Human Physiology: BIOL 121
Human Anatomy: BIOL 120
Statistics: MATH 136
General Psychology: PSYCH 101
Spanish: SPAN 101 & 102

GRE or MCAT Examination
Applicants are required to take either the GRE or MCAT examination. The examination must be taken within five (5) years of the coursework deadline of June 30, 2011. Official scores of the General and Analytical sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must be submitted to USC by using the Institutional Code 4852 (departmental code is not necessary). Applicants with MCAT scores must provide their AAMC verification code to the USC PA Program. GRE or MCAT scores must be submitted by December 1, 2010.

The USC Graduate School requires that applicants earn a combined Quantitative and Verbal GRE score of no less than 1,000.

Clinical Experience
Hands-on, patient care clinical experience is preferred. Successful applicants often have worked as one of the following: emergency medical technician, licensed vocational nurse, medical technologist, military medical corpsman, paramedic, psychiatric technician, radiologic technician, respiratory therapist, registered nurse, or medical assistant (back office). Other health care experience is equally acceptable as long as the clinical experience is hands-on in nature. It is important that PA applicants are familiar with medical care environments, have experience working with patients, and have shadowed a PA.

Community Service Activities
Community service activities/projects are required of all applicants. Service which benefits medically underserved or disadvantaged groups is highly desirable as the USC Primary Care PA Program has a commitment to training its students as primary care providers with these populations.

Letters of Reference
Three (3) letters of reference are required. Reference letters should not be from personal friends or family members. Letters of reference must be submitted directly to CASPA and postmarked on or before December 1, 2010.

Personal Interview
After an initial screening and assessment of applications, a portion of the applicants are invited for an interview. Interviewees are required to bring a passport-size photo I.D. Interviews typically are conducted in Alhambra between early fall and early spring.

Health Requirements and Technical Standards
All accepted candidates are required to meet the PA Program’s Technical Standards (physical and psychological competencies of performance) prior to entering the Program and throughout training. Upon acceptance, students will be required to submit and maintain evidence of current health status and immunizations. Students are also required to maintain University-approved health care insurance coverage while enrolled in the Program. The University offers a health plan.

UC Davis - School of Medicine

An associate degree or the equivalent (90 quarter units/60 semester units of college credit completed at an accredited college or university) is required prior to application. Coursework may be taken at an accredited community college; however, vocational, trade or technical school courses will not satisfy the program's educational course requirement.

Microbiology - BIOL112,
Human Anatomy with lab - BIOL 120
Human Physiology with lab - BIOL 121
English - ENGL 101
General Psychology - PSYCH 101
Algebra - MATH 100 or 103 or 136
Cultural Anthropology or Sociology - ANTHRO 102  or SOC 101
*Chemistry - CHEM 110 or 101
*This course may be taken at the high school level.

Clinical Experience
Certain types of clinical experience are more highly valued by the program than others. Broader experience with a variety of patients across the lifespan in a variety of situations and settings is considered stronger experience than narrowly focused technical experience.

A minimum of two years direct (hands-on) patient care experience is highly recommended. Some examples of positions providing this experience are:

  • RN
  • LVN
  • Paramedic
  • EMT
  • Medical Assistant (back office)
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • International Medical Graduate (IMG)
  • Physical Therapist

The above list is just a small sample of healthcare occupations and in no way indicates that your profession would be excluded from consideration.

Charles Drew University
BIOL 120, 121, 101, 112
CHEM 101, 102, 105, 106
MATH 100 or 102 or 103
ENGL 101
SPCH 101
ENGL 102 or 104
SPAN 101
HIST 110 or 111 or 117 or 118
POL S 101
SOC 101

Schools That Offer Physician Assistant

College Degree Telephone
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science * (323)563-5879
Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California M (626) 457-4240
Riverside County Regional Medical Center/Riverside Community College C, A (951) 571-6166
Samuel Merrit College M (510 869-6623
San Joaquin Valley College A, B, M (559) 651-2500 ext. 351
Stanford University School of Medicine C,, A, M (650)725-6959
Touro University - California College of Health Sciences M (888)652-7580
UC Davis C (916)734-3551
Western University of Health Sciences M (909)469-5378

*Charles Drew PA program has been discontinued. They are currently in the process
of reviewing the program and re-opening it however the soonest that would take place
would be Fall 2015 or Fall 2016.
Credential Awarded:
C - Certificate of Completion
A - Associate's Degree
B - Bachelor's Degree
M - Master's Degree

Note: prerequisites for these programs may be different. Please contact these schools to clarify their requirements.

Additional information about the physician assistant profession is available at:

American Academy of Physician Assistants

Physician Assistant Education Association

California Academy of Physician Assistants

Advance for Physician Assistants (a peer-review journal, with information on salaries and career development)

National Association of Physician Assistants

Riverside Community College and Riverside County Regional Medical Center

Riverside Community College Prerequisite

Riverside Community College RCC Course Suggested GCC courses
Anatomy and Physiology  AMY 2A & 2B BIO 120 & 121
Microbiology MIC 1 BIOL 112
Chemistry CHE 2A CHEM 120
Physics PHY 10 & 11  
Psychology PSY 1 PSYCH 101
Sociology or Cultural Anthropology SOC 1 or ANT 2 SOC 101 or ANTHRO 102
English ENL 1A ENGL 101
Algebra MAT 35 MATH 101 or higher

Recommended: Medical Terminology

MDA 1A MOA 182

Clinical Experience Requirements

A minimum of 2,000 hours of paid "hands-on" patient care experience in the disciplines of medicine, nursing or allied health is required. Volunteer experience will not fulfill the patient care experience requirement.

Loma Linda University

The following elements are required when applying:

  • Completed application through CASPA.
    A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution.
  • In order to be eligible for admission, your bachelor's degree must be completed by December 31 for the school year starting the following September.
    Complete your bachelor's degree by December 31, 2008 in order to be eligible for the September 2009 class.
  • Documented patient care experience. (2000 hours)
  • All diplomas and transcripts must be from accredited institutions.
  • An overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above and a science GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale.
  • C- grades or lower are not transferable for credit.

    *Required courses
Loma Linda University Suggested GCC courses
*Human Anatomy BIOL 120
*Human Physiology BIOL 121
*Introduction to Chemistry CHEM 101 and 102
*Microbiology BIOL 112
*College Algebra MATH 100
*General Psychology PSYCH 101
*General Sociology or Cultural Anthropology SOC 101 or ANTHRO 102

*English Composition and Literature

(one academic year)

ENGL 101 and 102

Recommended courses:  
Statistics MATH 136
Medical Terminology MOA 182 
Computer literacy  


Last updated: 11/20/2013 10:20:11 AM