The path to becoming a PA includes:

1. Earning a college degree with a major or coursework in science-related subjects such as biology, physiology, anatomy, and chemistry.

2. Working in a health care setting that demonstrates interest in patient care.

3. Applying to a physician assistant program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

4. Graduating with a master’s degree in PA studies from a PA program. Programs typically run two years and include in-class learning and clinical rotations.

5. Taking the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), which is required to practice. 

Before working, state licensure is also required for PAs.