Pre-Physician Assistant Studies (BS)
A vital role in healthcare. A vital role in your community.
- Available as
- Bachelor of Science
- 4 years
- Fort Wayne
Why Pre-Physician Assistant Studies?
Named the #3 Best Overall Job for 2020 by U.S. News & World Report, physician assistant (PA) is one of the fastest-growing healthcare professions today: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, demand for PAs is expected to grow by 31% over the next decade. U.S. News also ranked physician assistant:
- #2 Best Healthcare Job
- #3 Best STEM Job
Physicians assistants work as part of a larger healthcare team to examine, treat and diagnose patients in a range of medical settings and specialities. The need for PAs will be strongest in rural and underserved areas where residents have limited access to primary care physicians.
To become a physician’s assistant, you’ll need a master’s degree and licensure in your state of practice; a solid undergraduate, such as a bachelor’s in pre-physician assistant studies, will prepare for the rigors of a graduate-level PA program.
Career success rate for our physician assistant graduates of the last five graduating classes (2018-2022)
Expected increase in demand for physician assistants from 2022 to 2032 (much faster than the average for all occupations)
Median annual salary for physician assistants in 2022
Why Saint Francis for a Pre-Physician Assistant Program?
Rooted in the liberal arts, built on Franciscan values, and focused on patient-centered care, a Saint Francis education develops you into a reflective, ethical, and compassionate healthcare provider.
Our pre-physician assistant program gives you:
- A strong foundation in biological sciences
- 1,000 PAID hours of patient care experience
- Job-shadowing opportunities
Saint Francis’ PA program is internationally known, and our strong reputation in the regional healthcare community gives our pre-PA students access to quality clinical experiences, connections that lead to positions with top employers, and opportunities for meaningful service-learning opportunities.
You will graduate from Saint Francis ready to pursue a physician assistant graduate program and, ultimately, a rewarding career as a healthcare practitioner — for less than half the cost of training and education of a physician.
Hands-On Learning from the Start
Developing into a caring, competent physician assistant requires practical experience and, at Saint Francis, you will get plenty of it:
- Project- and team-based learning
- Paid healthcare experience in roles such as a CNA or EMT
- Job shadowing with PAs, including Saint Francis alumni, in varying subspecialty areas
- Service-learning and travel opportunities, such as international mission trips to Haiti
By the time you complete the pre-physician assistant program, you will have more than 1,000 hours of direct patient care experience. Additionally, you can build valuable career skills with on-campus employment with health services, athletics, and related offices and departments.
“As a biology pre-PA student, one of the things I cherish the most at Saint Francis is how dedicated and supportive our science faculty is. Even as a freshman, I’ve never felt alone in my studies. Every single person I’ve come across, even if they weren’t my professor at the time, has always been willing to help me, listen to me, and most importantly push me outside of my comfort zone. Saint Francis has equipped me with so many valuable skills and lessons and I feel more than prepared to take on life after I graduate.”Dahiro Omar ’25 Pre-Physician Assistant Studies major
“The pre-PA curriculum, defined by its rigorous standards, forms an outstanding foundation for PA school, exemplifying the university’s unwavering commitment to excellence. Additionally, the exceptional research opportunities, typically beyond the undergraduate experience, offer invaluable preparation for postgraduate studies.”Madyson Raderstorf ’24 Pre-Physician Assistant Studies major
“The faculty have helped me in so many ways: at different times, they’ve kept me focused, built my confidence, and offered advice. The professors are one of the reasons we have such a strong community where we all support each other.”Brittany (Barger) Kuhlenbeck, BS ’18, MS ’20 Family Practice Physician, Lutheran Health Physicians
Faculty and Facilities
You will learn in small classes from expert faculty members, including practicing PAs — and you will do so in our state-of-the-art science center, which features:
- a cadaver lab, where you’ll learn human anatomy
- a simulation lab, where you’ll work through real-world scenarios with life-like patient simulators
- a resource lab, which features professional exam rooms and patient units
Campus and Community Involvement
As you prepare to enter a helping profession, you’ll be glad to know Saint Francis offers many opportunities for you to serve others through campus ministries, service-learning projects, and student groups. Of particular interest to someone in our pre-physician assistant program are:
- PA Student Society
- Pre-Professional Healthcare Honor Society
Physician Assistant Career Opportunities
Once you’ve earned your master’s degree, met licensing requirements and officially become a physician’s assistant, you can find positions in a broad range of settings, including:
- Primary care and family medicine
- Internal medicine
- Emergency medicine
- General surgery
With additional training, you may also develop expertise in one or more medical subspecialties — such as cardiology, neurology or geriatrics — which will broaden your career possibilities.
Graduate and Professional School Opportunities
Graduates of our pre-physician assistant program often earn their master’s of science in PA studies, and others have pursued their graduate studies at schools such as:
- University of Saint Francis
- Butler University
- Kettering University
- University of Findlay
- University of Toledo
- Trine University