Becoming a PA

Being a PA is an incredibly rewarding career however, the training programme is intense. All PAs must have a life science or healthcare related undergraduate degree and then complete a two-year training programme.

Upon completion of the university course, all PAs take a national exam consisting of a single best answer (SBA) and objective structure clinical examination (OSCE). PAs also recertify every six years by taking an SBA exam. Currently, 37 universities offer a PA training programme a full list can be found on the FPA website. This is awarded as a master's degree (MSc/MPAS) or a postgraduate diploma (PGDip).

All courses are based on the Department of Health Competence and Curriculum Framework for Physician Associates. This stipulates all of the skills and knowledge that a PA must acquire during their training. PAs students spend equal time split between clinical placements (primary and secondary care) and theory. The UK and Ireland Universities Board for Physician Associate Education oversee the assessment of PA students.

Before applying for a course, it is recommended that you spend some time gaining relevant work experience in the medical field, please see our section on taster sessions for further information.

Becoming a PA