Routes into Becoming a PA

As a UK-trained PA, you will have undertaken postgraduate medical training in PA studies. Your training will be spread over a period of at least 90 weeks.

This 90 weeks of training equates to approximately 3,200 hours. It is divided into 1,600 hours of theory and 1,600 hours of clinical practice.

You’ll do a two-year course that consists of theoretical learning in medical sciences, pharmacology, and clinical reasoning. Along with this, you’ll do clinical placement experience in a wide variety of settings that includes:

  • acute and emergency medicine
  • community medicine
  • surgery
  • obstetrics and gynaecology
  • paediatrics
  • mental health

Prior Qualifications and Experience

All PA students must have an undergraduate degree. Usually this will be in a biomedical or health/life-science field. You’ll also need to have some prior health or social care experience.

Most programmes offer you a postgraduate diploma in PA studies, with some offering masters qualifications.

All students must pass their university programme before sitting the PA national examination.

The PA National Examination

This exam sets the standards for PAs across the country. It is designed, developed and administered by the FPA.

Once you’ve passed both your university exams and the PA national examination, you are qualified and fit to practise as a PA.

As a PA, you must recertify every six years. This ensures PAs maintain the same level of competence across the whole scope of practice.

Salary Guidelines

Salary is dependent on the skills and experience of the PA. Generally though, salary starts at Agenda for Change equivalent Band 7.