Are you Interested in finding a physician assistant program? Wondering what training and certifications may be required to become a PA? Read our full resource below to answer all of your questions.
What is a Physician Assistant?
A Physician Assistant will work under the supervision of a doctor or surgeon, although their specific work duties may vary state to state. The BLS states that they undergo a formal education in a physician assistant program so that they may diagnose illnesses and injuries, examine patients as needed, and provide treatment. While the work may sometimes be demanding when making rounds and evaluating patients, helping patients may be rewarding and well worth the sacrifice.
What do you see in a Physician Assistant job description?
Physician Assistants have numerous responsibilities that they perform such as:
- Prescribing medicine when needed
- Making diagnoses concerning a patient’s injury or illness
- Administering or ordering diagnostic tests
- Recording patient medical data
- Researching latest treatments to ensure quality patient care
- Reviewing patients’ medical histories
- Examining patients to obtain information about their condition
- Educating patients and their families
Where do Physician Assistants work?
Most Physician Assistants work in hospitals – state, local, and private, educational services, government, physical offices, and outpatient centers.
What Physician Assistant courses will I want to take?
The following are classes that Physician Assistants may take:
- Patient Charting 101
- Vital Signs
- Intro to Anatomy
- Medical Terminology
- Legal & Ethical Behaviors
- Phlebotomy Procedures & Protocol
How can you pursue a career as a Physician Assistant?
The majority of applicants who are applying to enter into a Physician Assistant program already have their four-year bachelor’s degree and some experience working in the healthcare system per the BLS. They may have prior work experience as paramedics, EMTs, or nurses and are currently more interested in Physician Assistant jobs. Admission requirements into a physician assistant program may vary, according to the BLS, but most require two to four years of undergraduate coursework with an emphasis in science.
Programs typically take 2 years to complete while studying full-time and most of the accredited programs offer a master’s degree. Hundreds of hours of supervised clinical training in different areas such as emergency medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine is included in these programs. By serving in one or more of these areas as a student, you may find that your supervising physician is on the lookout to hire a Physician Assistant. This way, per the BLS, clinical training could lead to employment.
Physician Assistant Salary Potential
While the Physician Assistant salary may vary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Median annual salary in 2020 was $115,390.
- Job outlook by 2029 is 31% growth.
The job outlook is much faster than the average for all occupations, and it may be a good sign for students who want to pursue a Physician Assistant career. Within this occupation, per the BLS, the states with the highest employment levels are: New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
If becoming a Physician Assistant is not for you, but you still want a career in allied health – explore other careers.