Being a physician assistant can mean something different depending on the focus in which you belong and the state in which you live. However, many find it to be an interesting and fulfilling career overall.
They are sometimes confused with other occupations like nurses or medical assistants, but the career actually calls for a different skill set and various daily tasks. Physician assistants are not required to attend nursing school for their degree, but they are more trained and developed than those of a regular medical nature.
This career lies somewhere in between nurses and doctors in the amount of authority that they have within the medical environment, so they are usually considered as “mid-level” professionals or providers. They can see patients and charge them without needing the supervision of a physician or doctor.
Some states require indirect supervision of this type of medical professional; in other words, they must be present within the building or be part of the same practice. They may also have to sign off on charts and prescriptions that the physician assistant has written.
The job itself does require a good amount of schooling; it will call for more specialization than a career as a nurse but not as much time or years in school as becoming a full-fledged doctor. Most individuals prefer to receive a Bachelor’s degree in something relating to the medical field, like biology, anatomy, health, or exercise sciences.
After the individual has moved on from their undergraduate, they are then required to go through a Master’s program. This is done through a program in Physician Assisting and must be earned at a school that has an accredited medical or academic program.
Having a Bachelor’s degree in a medical field definitely helps to make the process go faster and will potentially keep you from having to take any extra or pre-requisite classes. Therefore, if you really feel like this may be a career option for you, choose one of the undergraduate studies aforementioned.
Otherwise, you may find that you are behind an entire semester from the start because of all of the makeup coursework that you must get finished and submitted. Most of these courses will be lab sciences, which tend to be difficult, costly, and time consuming.
Most P.A.s work in offices where they are able to see and assist patients. They can diagnose illnesses and also prescribe medications to help cure or alleviate these conditions’ symptoms.
They do experience a good amount of medical authority, but they will not have as much or as much freedom as a certified physician. P.A.s can practice in all different branches of medicine, including surgical, family, internal, and orthopedics.
There are two different viewpoints regarding this career; many find them to be extra useful because of a shortage of good or well-qualified physicians within the field or industry. However, many also feel that because they are not as skilled as their counterparts, they should not have as much freedom in their work and should be monitored carefully.
Doctors must attend four years of schooling and then take three years of residency to perfect their craft, while P.A.s only call for two years of schooling and clinical. Therefore, they do not always get as much respect as those that go for the higher degree.
Applying for this type of program is very similar to any other type of medical or graduate school. You must spend a good deal of your undergraduate focusing on your grades and taking the courses necessary.
It will also be necessary to take part in some kind of standardized testing and go through the standard application process. The career outcome for this position looks good, and most should find that they make around eighty to one-hundred thousand dollars each year.
The benefits that go along with this career also tend to be very good, including medical care and great retirement benefits. Those that are contemplating becoming a physician assistant should perform as much research as they possibly can to understand the job and what will be required of them.
Schooling will be difficult, and they will need to work hard to get into academic programs; once you have made it in, it is still necessary to make it through courses and clinicals. When you decide that this is the career for you, do as much research as you can to prepare yourself!
Tommy Greene has worked in the medical industry for years and recommends (http://www.mdc.edu) for Physician Assistant Programs in Florida.