Physician assistants (PA) are medical practitioners licensed, who work closely with physicians. Among other tasks, they help doctors evaluate test findings and treat and diagnose minor injuries. The profession generally pays well, so for people who want to deal with patients but do not want to go all the way to medical school, it can be really satisfying.
Getting the Necessary Experience
1. Meet the required prerequisites for services with physician assistants. You need to graduate from an approved school of assistant physicians. Nonetheless, most services require that you first fulfill those standards of education and experience.
- Most physician assistant programs are very limited, and in particular areas, they require around two years of college coursework. Research the requirements for admission to the physician assistant program you are interested in well in advance. Some programs require a bachelor (usually in sciences) degree.
- Doctor assistant programs generally want to see that you have taken science courses in such areas as chemistry, anatomy, microbiology, physiology, and biology. These classes, like a hospital or doctor’s office, train you to work in a healthcare environment after graduation.
- When you’re a college student, it’s a smart idea to start studying physician assistant programs. That way you can make sure that you are taking the right courses.
2. Gain experience in healthcare. Before applying for a physician assistant program, you would definitely need to have healthcare experience. Most of the services would require that.
- By working with non-profit organizations, such as the Peace Corps, you might get such experience. In addition to other health-related activities, some physician assistant services require a minimum number of hours of non-clinical volunteer service. Check with the specific program you are interested in as entrance requirements may vary.
- You’ll need to serve in non-volunteer positions that also give you experiences in health care, such as a paramedic, a research assistant, a doctor, or a registered nurse.
3. Open an account with the Central Physician Assistants Application Service (CASPA). Many of the services that you’ll find will ask you to apply via this tool.
- It takes a long time for CASPA applications to complete so submit early. It helps collect all of your knowledge about your schooling and jobs before applying.
- Owing to its unified nature, CASPA simplifies the application process for several physician assistant programs.
Apply for an Assistant Physician Program
1. Apply for a licensed doctor’s Assistant program. These programs typically last from two to three academic years. At the end, you’ll be earning a Master’s Degree. By 2010, there were 154 such accredited PA systems in the United States.
- In a classroom environment, you’ll be taught in science fields like behavioral science, anatomy, pharmacology, medical ethics, and other courses.
- Some plans mandate that applicants often undergo clinical rotations. These are often at least 2,000 hours, and they could put you in a number of real-life settings, including a family medicine office, or facilities specializing in such things as emergency medicine or psychiatry. The clinical rotation typically takes place in the program’s second year.
- You may want to consider joining a four-year, accelerated program. These allow you to obtain a bachelor’s degree and then a PA certificate at the graduate level in a four-year sequence. You will definitely be required for letters of recommendation to be admitted into the physician assistant program, and you will need to reach a minimum overall grade-point requirement.
2. Obtain physician assistant certification. After you have graduated from the accredited PA program you will qualify (and need) to become certified.
- PANCE is the name for the certification test. This stands for National Certification Exam as a Physician Assistant. If you pass it, you can receive the designation of PA-C or Physician Assistant-Certified.
- A lot of people read books and other articles before sitting for the exam that is intended to better prepare people for taking the exam.
- Before you take the actual exam, you can take the practice exams. You won’t be allowed to function as a medical assistant if you don’t pass this test.
Finishing the Process to Become a Physician Assistant
1. Obtain a license to the State. State license standards vary based on where you reside, but all states allow you to pass the PANCE test and graduate from an approved Physician Assistant program. All states require Physician Assistants licensing.
- It’s suggested you submit a request for a state license early, and start working on it. The requirements could include things like fingerprinting and reference letters. States also use State licensing boards to manage their licensing procedures.
- There are State chapters of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. Your state chapter will be able to help assist you in finding out more about the licensing criteria for your state. Some states may allow licensing credits for continuing education. Study the laws of your own Country!
2. Keep your certification on hold. You will be asked to retain your certification once you become a certified physician assistant.
- Physician assistants began complying with a 10-year certification cycle, divided into two 5-year segments in 2014. Doctor assistants are expected to record 100 continuing credential education credits every 5 years.
- The segments are shorter before 2014; look up the rules for your own specific situation.
3. Apply for jobs as an assistant doctor. The good news is that doctor assistants get well paid. And due to an aging population, the work is highly in demand. Many of them work full-time and can work long hours.
- The typical doctor assistant is paid in excess of $90,000. Doctor assistants work in many settings of health care, from emergency medicine to doctor’s offices.
- These programs are competitive; however, the government has reported that physician assistant employment is expected to grow 38 percent from 2012 to 2022. For most professions, this is considered to be faster job growth than the average.