A Physician Assistant, also known as a PA, provides high-level patient care under the supervision of doctors. A PA can perform many of the duties traditionally performed by physicians; aspiring PAs complete two years of training following completion of a bachelor's degree and take a licensing examination in order to practice.

Jefferson College of Health Sciences

The PA program at Jefferson College of Health Sciences is a master's degree program with 15 months of classroom learning followed by 12 months of clinical training. Applicants must submit a personal statement, transcripts and references from teachers and employers. PA program applicants must have 500 hours of paid or volunteer health care experience before beginning their studies. The PA curriculum consists of core coursework in anatomy and clinical skills, which are supplemented with clinical rotations in areas such as pediatrics, women's health and psychiatry. Clinical rotations are conducted at hospitals and clinics throughout southwest Virginia.

Jefferson College of Health Sciences 920 S. Jefferson St. Roanoke, VA 24016 888-985-8483 jchs.edu

James Madison University

Located in Harrisonburg, James Madison University's Physician Assistant program admits a maximum of 25 students each year. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Before enrolling in the program, accepted students must have 1,000 hours of paid or volunteer health care experience. PA students spend 16 months completing classes, such as anatomy, physical diagnosis and clinical medicine. Classroom learning prepares students for the clinical component of the program, which consists of 12 months of rotations in specialties, including family medicine, pediatrics and general surgery.

James Madison University Department of Health Sciences 801 Carrier Dr., MSC 4301 Harrisonburg, VA 22807 540-568-6211 jmu.edu

Eastern Virginia Medical School

Eastern Virginia Medical School offers a Master of Physician Assistant (MPA) program. Applicants need an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 for enrollment. Health care experience is not required, but competitive applicants typically have about two years of health care experience. The seven-semester program consists of courses in medical ethics, pharmacology and clinical skills. During the final three semesters, students have the opportunity to put their clinical skills to use in rotations in pediatric, family, emergency and internal medicine. Clinical rotation sites are located throughout Virginia.

Eastern Virginia Medical School 700 W. Olney Rd. Norfolk, VA 23501-1980 757-446-7153 evms.edu