Quote from whitecats
Can an RN go back to school to become a Physician Assistant?
Short answer: Yes, but since PA's use the medical model rather than the nursing model, there are significant differences between the programs in terms of education. Even if you hold a BSN, there are likely to be a number of additional pre-reqs, mostly additional science/math courses such as biochem, maybe calc & physics depending on the school, that you will need and will likely not have taken.
I understand that there are PA programs that are about 2 years long. Someone also told me you need to work in the medical field in some way before going to become a PA.Do you need a 4 year degree to go on to be a PA, or can you apply to a PA program with a 2 year or associates degree? Also, what does the degree need to be in?
Most PA programs are Masters-degree level, so assuming that you have already have a BS (and most PA programs require a BS degree rather than a BA) and all pre-reqs, 2 years of full-time study would be about right. If you have an ADN, there's likely to be quite a few additional pre-reqs over and above those I already mentioned that you'll need. All PA programs that I know of require that applicants have some patient care experience, usually specified in hours (the range seems to be 500 hrs on the low end to 2,000 on the high). Volunteer work, such as a hospital aide or EMT is usually sufficient. If you've completed an ADN or BSN, your clinical time will almost certainly satisfy this requirement.
Have you also considered Nurse Practioner? In most cases, there is little practical difference - at least in terms of patient care - between NPs and PAs. If you are already are an RN however, it should be a much shorter route for you to get the MSN-NP than it's likely to be for PA.