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Suggested major: Biology

The physician assistant (PA), working with physicians and other health professionals, performs many clinical functions that enable the physician to devote more time to duties requiring his particular knowledge and skill. This professional performs duties based on guidelines established by the state granting certification. In most settings the physician assistant obtains medical histories, performs physical examinations, orders and interprets laboratory results and other information and assess and treats common illnesses, including writing prescriptions. Successful completion of the National Certifying Examination is required to practice as a physician assistant in Georgia.


A year in advance of physician assistant school admission, a student must complete the application and take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). There are four schools in Georgia. While many successful applicants hold or complete a baccalaureate degree, only 90 hours of prerequisite coursework is typically required for admission into these schools. Emory's is the oldest (ranked third in the country in 2010) and is the most competitive in the state. The other three schools are Mercer, Medical College of Georgia, and South University. Depending on the program to which you are applying a minimum of 2 years of employment in a health-related field may be required (Emory) to the other extreme of no requirement whatsoever. Even so, any student interested in becoming a PA is urged to begin work in an approved health practice occupation as soon as possible in order to be competitive with other applicants. For example, an applicant meeting the entry requirements for Emory might begin this work in high school, or take a year after college to complete it.

Georgia College & State University • 231 W. Hancock St. • Milledgeville, GA 31061 • 1-800-342-0471 ; (478)445-5004 •