UT Tyler Department of Biology
Pre-Physician Assistant Program
Physician assistants (PA) play a critical role in the dispensation of health care. In general, PAs provide diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive health-care services under the supervision of physicians. As a part of a health-care team, PAs take medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret laboratory tests and X-rays, make diagnoses and prescribe medications. Therefore, PAs are expected to undergo a rigorous training program that includes several core courses in biology, chemistry, physics, math as well as psychology and social sciences.
After the completion of the B.S. degree with the required courses, individuals are eligible to apply for two-year PA programs at various universities. Most PA programs require a college degree and some health-related work experience.
The pre-physician assistant program at UT Tyler is designed to not only meet the admission requirements of the seven PA programs in Texas but also most PA programs in the United States. Please note that the requirements for admission to the PA program vary substantially; individuals are strongly advised to consult programs in which they are interested.
- Employment prospects and compensation: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects are very good for PAs across the United States but particularly in rural and inner city areas. PA employment is expected to grow by 39% from 2008 to 2018 – much faster than the average for all occupations. More than 100,000 people are expected to be employed as PAs by 2018. The median annual income for PAs is about $85,000 and ranges from $75,000 to more than $100,000 per year depending on industry of employment, years of experience and geographical location.
- Pre-Physician Assistant Program Advising: All pre-physician assistant advising is done by Dr. James Koukl, chief health professions advisor. He is a member of the Texas Association of Advisors for the Health Professions and the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions and is available to help students make important choices regarding curriculum, extra-curricular activities, application process and degree requirements.
- Undergraduate Major: PA programs generally do not specify a particular major; but please check with individual programs for their requirements. A rigorous science, math and humanities education is expected as these skills are essential for the PA program and employment as a PA. Select a major that you not only enjoy but one that will demand excellence in critical thinking, expository and persuasive writing, oral communication, critical reading, research and organization. Also, seek out a curriculum that requires research papers, substantial reading, laboratory experiences, essay exams and oral presentations.
- Curriculum: The required curriculum of courses for the seven PA programs is shown here. These requirements are subject to change anytime; check back often for updates and be sure to visit the school Web site to obtain the latest information. PA programs usually require a combination of science (biology, chemistry, physics), math, and humanities. Please note that many schools require that the core courses are taken recently (e.g., five years or less).
Courses required by one or more Texas PA programs are: General Biology I, General Biology II, Anatomy and Physiology I and II, microbiology, genetics, immunology, physiology, General Chemistry I, General Chemistry II, Organic Chemistry I, Organic Chemistry II, statistics, general psychology, psychology/sociology elective, English (six-nine hours), college algebra or higher.
Programs outside of Texas may require courses such as university Physics I and II, cell biology, cell and molecular biology, additional courses in mathematics, etc. These courses are also available at UT Tyler. Please check individual PA programs for admission requirements.
For more information or questions concerning courses at UT Tyler that will fulfill dental school prerequisites please contact:
Dr. James Koukl
Chief Health Professions Advisor
Department of Biology
The University of Texas at Tyler
3900 University Blvd
Tyler, Texas 75799
Office: BEP 114