Here’s How to Become a Physician Assistant
Do you want to work closely with patients, change and even save lives in healthcare, but don’t want to take on the massive cost and time commitment of medical school? Then you might consider becoming a physician assistant.
Physician assistants do many of the same things doctors do, like examining, diagnosing, and treating patients. Annually, a PA’s average salary is between $86,000 to $130,000. Physician assistants complete 26 months of education before becoming certified. That education includes both classroom time and clinical rotations.
PA education is disease-centered, which means it focuses on pathology. Physician assistants pick a specialty and are also trained as generalists, making them versatile and high in demand.
Are you interested in pursuing the path of a PA? Here’s what you need to know.
The Path to Becoming a Physician Assistant
A physician assistant is a trained medical professional that can, according to Staff Care, “many of the services that physicians provide.” While PAs are not doctors, they do work collaboratively with doctors and can do many things doctors can do, including prescribe medication and even perform procedures.
To become a physician assistant, you must first complete your bachelor’s degree, making sure to take classes in chemistry, physiology, anatomy, microbiology, and biology. Once you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree, it’s time to apply for graduate school.
According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants, many PA master’s programs require 1,000 hours of healthcare experience before being admitted. You can get this experience by working as an EMT, a medical assistant, or in a variety of other fields.
Once you have completed these prerequisites, you must enter into a three year accredited PA master’s program. These programs involve a great deal of hands-on work, but there are some options for online classes, according to Learn How To Become. According to That PA Life, the average cost of a physician assistant program for an in-state student is $71,369, while the average cost of tuition for an out-of-state student is $89,975.
After graduating from your program, you must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam — administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants — and then obtain a license in the state you plan to practice in.
Finding Your First Physician Assistant Job
When you complete these requirements, you are ready to jump in and find a job as a PA. Most physician assistant positions involve some amount of on-the-job training. In fact, training is part of maintaining certification. To stay certified as a PA, you must complete 100 hours of continuing education every two years and take the recertification exam every 10 years.One way to find a great job that matches your skills and your goals is to work with a recruiter. A recruiter can make sure you find the best job you can. Ready to start your search? Contact PA Solutions and they can help get you started.