Physician assistants (PAs) are an essential element of modern healthcare, with hospitals and clinics hiring them in high numbers at competitive wages. To meet this growing demand for PAs, there are various pathways to becoming one – each with its own requirements. Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to become a physician assistant and the job opportunities available.
Educational Requirements to Become a Physician Assistant
Becoming a PA begins with earning an undergraduate degree in any field. However, some universities offer pre-PA programs that combine undergraduate studies and clinical experience, making them more desirable to potential PAs. After graduating from college, you can apply for admission into one of the hundreds of accredited PA programs across America. These programs typically last two years and include both academic coursework and clinical training in various medical specialties. Once your program is complete, you must pass the national certifying exam (PANCE) administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Passing this examination will grant you certification as a PA and allow you to begin practicing medicine.
Physician Assistants Have a Wide Range of Career Options
Once certified as a physician assistant, there are plenty of career options open to you. PAs typically work in family or internal medicine, emergency medicine, general surgery, pediatrics or obstetrics/gynecology or any other medical specialty they choose. Many experienced PAs choose administrative roles like patient care coordinator or practice manager; other career possibilities include teaching positions at universities or consulting for pharmaceutical companies or device manufacturers. Most roles for PAs work full-time hours; however some opt for part-time or call coverage when needed.
Physician assistants are in high demand due to technological advancements and an aging population requiring ever-expanding healthcare services. Becoming a PA necessitates dedication, hard work and offers many rewards such as competitive salaries and secure job security. With proper education, certification and experience, PAs can find rewarding careers across various medical fields that provide both personal fulfillment and financial security. Whether just starting out or looking for an exciting new challenge within your current role, exploring physician assistants could be just what you need!