Organizations and associations for pre-physician assistant students

October 31, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

See current opportunities

In the middle of complex surgery! As an aspiring physician assistant, you will come across a number of organizations that are, in one way or another, concerned with your career and education. It is important that you familiarize yourself with who these groups are, what they represent, and how they could help you in the pursuit of your future career.

Physician Assistant Education Association

The Physician Assistant Education Association is the organization that represents physician assistant education in the United States. According to the PAEA website, every accredited PA program in the US is a member of the organization. As the PA profession continues to evolve, PAEA is proactive in creating and distributing the resources that PA programs need to run effectively. For instance, the organization operates PA Focus, an informational website tailored toward prospective PA students, in addition to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants, or CASPA. CASPA makes it easier for students to apply to several different PA programs—if you are an aspiring PA, you will utilize PAEA’s resources. Of course, PAEA is active in advocating for legislation that would benefit PA students and the profession as a whole. 

American Academy of Physician Assistants

The “AAPA” is the national professional society for PAs. Its primary mission is to enhance patient care and to help its members advance in their careers. The AAPA places an emphasis on leadership, service, teamwork, and transparency, and its suite of member services includes research support tools and business development resources. The AAPA advocates for its causes in the political sphere in order to ensure quality patient care and access to affordable healthcare. If you would like to learn more about the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the causes it supports, you can find lots of information on the AAPA website.  

American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants

The American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants, also known as the AASPA, is the oldest specialty PA organization. It caters towards the needs of PA professionals involved in the care of surgical patients. In addition to licensed PAs, the organization welcomes the membership of students in PA studies and even pre-PA students. According to the AASPA’s official website, its mission is to improve patient care, which it accomplishes through publicizing the profession, addressing issues and the needs of its members, and facilitating continuing medical education. In addition, the AASPA hosts conferences that serve as networking events for PA professionals.

Physician Assistant Forum

Physician Assistant Forum is an online network for pre-PA students, PA students, and licensed PA professionals. The forum contains a number of subforums specific to your level of education and interest. For instance, the website’s pre-PA section contains subforums about physician assistant schools, CASPA, and personal statements. Physician Assistant Forum’s pre-PA section alone contains over 6,500 threads that have solicited over 95,000 replies. As a comprehensive information resource created by individuals within the profession, Physician Assistant Forum serves as an excellent guide for pre-PA students.

Chat with us on Facebook or Twitter, or email

Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.