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How to Become a Physician Assistant

Master's degree

Physician assistants often counsel and instruct patients and perform therapy. They may order therapy via other means. Physician assistants usually require a master's degree from an accredited education program. It takes approximately 2 years of full-time postgraduate study to earn this degree. The majority of those applying to physician assistant education programs have a degree of healthcare related work experience and a bachelor's degree. Licensure is required for physician assistants.

Education & Training

The majority of physician assistant applicants have some healthcare related work experience and a bachelor's degree. Each program has a variety of admissions requirements that vary. The majorities of programs focuses in science and require 2 to 4 years of undergraduate work.

Numerous applicants have experience as paramedics or EMTs and registered nurses prior to applying to a physician assistant program.

Most individuals complete the physician assistant courses within 2 years of full-time study. The ARC-PA or Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. accredited 170 education programs. A master's degree is offered by the majority of these programs.

Education includes laboratory and classroom instruction in subjects including: pharmacology, anatomy, clinical medicine, medical ethics, physical diagnosis and pathology. There are hundreds of hours of supervised clinical training in a variety of areas such as pediatrics, emergency medicine, internal medicine and family medicine.

Students may serve in one or more of these specialties and work in a supervised atmosphere under a physician who is considering hiring a physician assistant. The rotation may lead to permanent employment.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

A physician assistant must be licensed. In order to accomplish this, they must pass PANCE or the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination from the NCCPA or National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. A physician assistant who passes the exam may go by the credential PA-C or Physician Assistant-Certified.

Every 2 years, physician assistants must finish 100 hours of continuing education. The recertification exam is required every decade or ten years.

Skills and Qualities that will Help

Communication skills: Physician assistants need to communicate technical medical issues to patients in a manner they can comprehend. They must be able to communicate with other healthcare workers to make sure the best patient care possible is available.

Compassion: Having the desire to help people is something that drives many physician assistants to pursue this field. Those who enjoy helping other people will excel in this career.

Detail oriented: In order to treat patients correctly and evaluate them properly, physician assistants should be focused.

Emotional stability: Physician assistants should be able to work well with individuals under pressure; particularly those in an emergency medicine or surgery environment. In order to offer quality care, they should remain calm during stressful situations.

Problem-solving skills: Physician assistants need to evaluate the symptoms of their patients in order to provide the correct treatment. It is vital to remain diligent when investigating complex medical issues in order to determine the best course of action for each individual.

How To Advance

Additional education in a specialty can be pursued. There are postgraduate educational programs available in the following: psychiatry, emergency medicine and surgery. In order to enter one of these particular programs a physician assistant must be a graduate of an accredited program and have NCCPA certification.

As clinical experience and knowledge is gained, physician assistants can earn higher wages and earn new responsibilities. Experienced physician assistants may supervise physician assistant students and other staff.