How to Become a Physician Assistant Online

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A physician assistant (PA) is not the same as a medical assistant (MA) or a nurse practitioner. A PA works closely with a physician and has at least four years of medical training and experience.


A PA handles cases that a doctor would usually handle, except for more difficult cases. Some of the duties include patient's medical history, exams and treatments, ordering lab tests and prescribing medications.

  • Gain as much medical experience as possible as a nurse, emergency medical technician or other medical-related job. The experience will be helpful to you for your physician assistant classes as well as obtaining a job after graduation.

  • Check out a list of online accredited physician assistant programs at the American Academy of Physician Assistant website.

  • Complete a 2-year masters degree program, including basic medical science courses. The second year will be mostly clinical training. Many schools, such as Drexel University Online, offer these classes online.

  • Graduate from a school accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Then pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) before you can practice.

  • Get out of the house. Although many of your courses may be completed online, clinicals should be hands-on in a medical environment.

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