There are many requirements to become a physician assistant, and there are even more after you become one.
The PA programs that train these aspiring students usually last 2 to 3 years, and there are differences between the requirements for admission for all of these different programs located across the country.
Its often that these educational institutions offering these programs are going to require all applicants trying to get into the PA program to at least have 2 years of college prior to applying and also they’re going to need to have experience working in the health care industry. They could get their hours by working as a EMT, or volunteering for the American Red Cross on their blood drives. To become a PA, you are required to complete a program that has been accredited by the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).
While students are attending their PA program, they are going to find out that the first half of the program is going to deal with doing coursework and the second half will have them doing clinical rotations. Students are going to be doing coursework in subjects like biochemistry, pathology, human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, clinical pharmacology, clinical medicine, learning how to prevent diseases, and the ethics of medicine. Students also have the option of being able to specialize in an area of medicine.
They can specialize in family medicine, psychiatric medicine, internal medicine, surgical medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, and there are many more specialties to choose from. After students are finished and have graduated from their physician assistant program, they are going to have to pass their certification exam. The exam is called the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam or PANCE for short. This absolutely mandatory and the exam itself is only available to be taken by those who have graduate from a PA program that is accredited.
Once the aspiring graduate passes the certification exam then they are a full fledged physician assistant with the credentials of “PA-C” to put on their badge. To remain certified and continuing working as a PA, they are going to be required to complete 100 hours of CME which is continuing medical education. They have to do this every 2 years, and every 6 years PAs have to take a re-certification exam to make sure that they are knowledgeable of everything they should know. This is a phenomenal career and its going to be a lengthy journey but rewarding in the end of it all.
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