Are you wishing to learn how to become a physician assistant? If so, you are not alone. Employment is projected to rapidly increase in this area and many are choosing to turn to health care for their new career. Admission training program requirements vary greatly and most will require that you have a minimum of a college degree.
Some work in the health care field is also beneficial. Once your education is complete, you must pass an exam before you may become licensed. Those who live in rural areas or inner cities will have the most job opportunities.
Education of a Physician Assistant
If you wish to learn how to become a physician assistant, the first step is to complete an educational program. This program in most cases takes two years to complete if you attend full time. Medical schools, four year colleges, academic health centers and allied health centers offer this type of program.
You may also be able to find one at a community college or through the military. As of 2008, 142 physician assistant programs were accredited or provisionally accredited. Out of these programs, 113 offered a master’s degree program, 21 offered a bachelor’s degree and three offered an associate degree. Five programs give you the option of obtaining a certificate.
Physician Assistant License
The next step in the path of how to become a physician assistant is to obtain your license. Once your education has been completed, you will need to pass an exam known as the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination. This exam is overseen by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.
Once you have successfully passed the exam, you will then be able to call yourself “Physician Assistant-Certified”. Continuing education is also required. Every two years you must take a minimum of 100 hours of continuing medical education and every six years either a re-certification exam or alternative program must be completed.
Salary of a Physician Assistant
The annual median wage for someone who has learned how to become a physician assistant is $81,230. This figure was accurate as of May 2008. Those in the lowest 10% earned less than $51, 360 while those in the top 10% earned more than $110,240. If you choose to work in a general medical or surgical hospital, you can expect to make more than if you choose to work in a college, university or professional school.
Your wages will vary by where you choose to work, how many years of experience you have, your practice setting and specialty. Consider all of the above when determining if a career as a physician assistant is right for you.
Check out this interesting video from Youtube from a working PA. She explains the difference between a nurse practitioner and a physician assistant. She also gives a little info on what made her choose this career path. Valuable stuff. This particular PA works in a cosmetic surgeon’s office. Obviously this is highlighting a private practice’s environment. As you can see, this setting allows you to work in a smaller environment with more responsibility.