A bachelor's to accelerate your future

Pre-physician assistant

A rewarding career in health care.

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If you like helping people and have been fascinated by the medical field, a career as a PA may be for you. You’ll do almost everything a doctor does, but you’ll only need three years of graduate school to prepare. That means you’ll spend a lot less and begin your career a lot sooner.

Why become a Physician Assistant?

  • PAs usually spend more time with a patient than a doctor and are the primary medical care providers in many medical practices.
  • Physician assistants do nearly everything a physician does—provide primary care, prescribe medications and even perform surgeries.
  • PA is one of the fastest growing careers in America and is increasingly important in all areas of health care.

Experience a high-demand, high-touch calling.

estimated growth over the next 10 years

Most PA students complete a four-year degree and then enter the three-year PA program. In the bachelor of science in health sciences student at Union, you'll be able to complete your entire PA education—the bachelor's and master's degree—in only six years.

After your second year in the BSHS program, you will apply to the PA Program. If accepted, your fourth year of college will be the first year of the PA program.

Why study PA at Union College?

  • Your first two years of our master’s level program will be classroom training with plenty of hands-on learning, followed by 11 months of clinical rotations in many specialties.
  • Finish your bachelor's and master's degrees in only six years (instead of seven).
  • With only 30 people in your class, your professors will have time to give you the help you need to succeed. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to build connections with your classmates that can last a lifetime.
  • Every month Union PA and nursing students hold a foot clinic at Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach, an organization that serves Lincoln’s homeless.
  • Our program offers more than 200 clinical sites locally and nationally.
  • The majority of our graduates have found a job within three months of passing the national certification board examination.

Majors and minors

Union College offers a bachelor of science in health sciences specifically as a path to the Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program. Qualified students can enter the PA program after three years in the health science program. They will then receive the bachelor of health sciences degree in four years and the MPAS in six years total. See the curriculum.

Why PA vs. nurse practitioner or physician

Physician assistant

Be trained in a medical model and have the ability to practice medicine in any speciality. Finish graduate school and start working on medical team with physicians and other care providers in just three years.

Job outlook
37% (much faster than average)

Median pay

Nurse practitioner

Receive training in the nursing model and practice medicine independent of a physician team. NPs must specialize and usually require an additional two to four years of school beyond a bachelor's degree

Job outlook
31% growth (much faster than average)

Median pay


Manage patient care in a specific chosen specialty and oversee a care team including nurses and PAs. Typically requires an additional six to eight years of training after a bachelor's degree.

Job outlook
13% growth (faster than average)

Median pay

Photo of a PA student examining a patient.

Interested in our Master of Physician Assistant Studies program?

Learn more

Dr. Frankie Rose teaching anatomy by showing students the organs in a cadaver

other pre-pa options

Union offers other four-year degrees that provide excellent preparation for PA school:

International rescue and relief

Biomedical science

Photos: PA examining patient

Learn more about our specialized curriculum for the bachelor of science in health sciences degree.

Learn more