The Pre-Physician Assistant Program is a one of HBU’s Health Professions Programs.
Physician assistants, frequently called PAs, have a broad scope of duties and responsibilities, largely governed by the medical setting in which they work. PAs are regulated by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners and work under the supervision of physicians. Texas requires that the PA's supervising physician register with the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners and that PAs be licensed.
Duties of PAs working under a primary care physician include: performing appropriate interviews and physical examinations; ordering and screening results of laboratory diagnostic studies; organizing and integrating information derived from the interview, examination, and laboratory; assisting with the performance of clinical procedures; instructing and counseling patients regarding preventative health care behaviors; monitoring responses to physician-directed programs of therapy; responding independently to life-threatening situations; facilitating patient access to appropriate health care services; making tentative assessments; making tentative diagnostic and therapeutic plans in such a way that the physician can perceive the medical problems and determine appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic steps; assisting the physician by performing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures; managing various common medical problems; treating minor cuts and wounds; removing casts; and changing dressings. In addition, PAs are employed as first and second assistants in surgery, particularly in cardiovascular and orthopedic surgery.
A Brief History of the Profession
The Physician Assistant (PA) profession originated in the mid-1960’s from the intuitive vision of Dr. Eugene Stead and others from Duke University, the University of Colorado, the University of Washington and Wake Forest University. These dedicated leaders recognized a need for a unique medical education program to meet the growing needs of primary health care delivery in the United States. Their goal was to train highly skilled health care professionals to assist physicians in the delivery of quality patient care. In the process, they developed a curriculum that taught individuals a body of clinical knowledge and skills that previously had been regarded as the professional domain of the physician. The first program and the first class of six former corpsmen and medics with combat experience began at Duke University in 1965. Since that time, the PA profession has seen tremendous growth. PAs are recognized and respected as integral members of the health care team. PAs have been enabled to practice in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, and they are prominent health care providers in the uniformed services, National Health Service Corp, the Veterans Administration, and federal and state correctional facilities. PAs have delegated prescriptive authority in 41 states and in federal facilities. PAs are represented by the American Academy of Physician Assistants, and in Texas by the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants.
Physician Assistant Programs in Texas
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant website, www.arc-pa.org
, lists 8 accredited physician assistant programs in Texas: Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Interservice Physician Assistant Program at Fort Sam Houston, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Midland, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, The University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg, and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. All schools except The University of Texas Pan American offer the MS in Physician Assistant Studies upon completion of their program; Pan American offers the BS in Physician Assistant Studies. The Texas Board of Physician Assistant Examiners must license PAs. To be licensed in Texas as a PA one has be a graduate from an accredited PA program and to pass the national certification examination administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.
There is a common electronic application for six of the eight physician assistant programs in Texas: Baylor College of Medicine
, Texas Tech University
, University of North Texas
, The University of Texas Medical Branch
, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
, and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
. Online application is made to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)
. Application to the other two programs can be made directly to the schools.
Interservice Physician Assistant Program
Attn: MCCS HMP
3151 Scott Rd, Ste 1202
Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-6138
The University of Texas Pan American
Physician Assistant Studies Program
1201 W. University Drive
Edinburg, TX 78539
Association of Physician Assistant Programs http://www.aapa.org/
Texas Academy of Physician Assistants www.tapa.org
Texas State Board of Physician Assistant Examiners www.tsbme.state.tx.us
National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants www.nccpa.net
Students can fulfill all the prerequisites at HBU. The following is a list of courses most often required:
Biology (BIOL 2454, 2455, 3301, 3335, 3414, 3444, 3454, 3456, 4464 ) varies by school
Chemistry (CHEM 2415, 2416, 3313, 3121, 4373) varies by school
Communications (COMM 1323) TTU, UTSA
English (ENGL 1313, 1323) varies by school
US History (HIST 2313, 2323) varies by school
US Government (POLS 2313, 2343) varies by school
Algebra or Higher (MATH 1313 or higher)
Statistics (PSYC 2301)
Computer Science (CISM 1321) varies by school
Psychology (PSYC 1313, 2364 or 3313) hours vary
Sociology (SOCI 1313)
Please be aware that pre-physician assistant is not
a major. You should select a major based on your area of interest, but science majors are recommended in order to satisfy the prerequisite courses while you pursue your HBU degree. The Biochemistry/Molecular Biology or Biology major is especially compatible with the above designated courses and are recommended by the Health Professions Office.
Where you will find HBU graduates...
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston
"I remember the day I took my first step towards becoming a Physician Assistant,and little did I know but that first step would be the greatest and most important step I have taken in my life. For that step was taken the day I walked onto the HBU campus and entered through the doors of the science department. And now as I start my 2nd year of PA school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, I look back at that step and the many steps that followed at HBU, and realize how truly blessed I was to be surrounded by the most loving, inspiring individuals, receive the greatest education of life, and be taught by the most caring, compassionate, and amazing professors, who were not only incredible mentors, but even better friends. And I know if it weren’t for the experience and the individuals at HBU, who greatly influenced, and directed my path, that I would ever have this opportunity to follow and eventually reach my dream."
- Michael Peterson, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas