How to Become a Physician Assistant | Prerequisites and Certification.
How to Become a Physician Assistant – Prerequisites and Certification. A physician assistant is one of the most important careers in the medical industry. Kamerpower.com
Generally, there are five steps to becoming a PA:
- Complete your bachelor’s degree (a science or healthcare related major is usually best).
- Gain experience either working or volunteering in a healthcare setting.
- Apply to ARC-PA accredited programs.
- Complete a 2-3 year, master’s level program.
- Pass the PANCE licensing exam.
Requirements to Become a Physician Assistant PA
Because the word “assistant” is in the job title, it can be easy to assume that physicians assistants don’t need a whole lot of education. Maybe a two-year degree, right?
Obtain a bachelor’s degree and complete common prerequisite courses.
Generally, it takes about four years to get a bachelor’s degree, but some future PAs take an additional year to ensure that PA school prerequisites are completed.
Consider majoring in a science-based field; your required coursework will count towards PA school prereqs.
Keep in mind there are some common classes like statistics, ethics, and physics that may be required by your PA program, but not required for your undergraduate degree. You may need to take some additional classes to fulfill these requirements.
Accrue healthcare and patient care experience hours (HCE/PCE).
All future PAs need healthcare experience. PA programs look for two types: healthcare experience (HCE) and patient care experience (PCE).
Healthcare experience is work in which you are not directly responsible for a patient’s care; patient care experience is when you are directly responsible for a patient’s care.
Best Online PA Programs – Physician Assistant
There are limited only programs that deliver a high-quality physician assistant education, but this one is our favorite.
The Master in Physician Assistant Studies Bridge Program (MPAS) is an online program that allows practicing physician assistants with a Bachelor’s degree to seek a Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies allowing them to continue working while completing their course of study.
The awarded degree will be a professional Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).
Faqs How to Become a Physician Assistant | Prerequisites and Certification.
After they get their bachelor’s degree, an aspiring PA attends a two- to three-year PA program. An aspiring doctor attends medical school for four years. After they complete their program, an aspiring PA needs to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). Then they can officially begin working.
The main difference between a doctor and a physician assistant is that a PA works under the supervision of a doctor, whereas a doctor has full responsibility for a clinical situation. Both are qualified medical professionals, and very much work in collaboration with one another.
PA programs usually take three years to complete. As you may expect, they include both classroom and clinical work. All PA programs are required to provide 2,000 hours of clinical rotations, giving students a wide variety of clinical experiences.
Master’s Degrees. A master’s degree is the minimum education requirement for becoming a physician assistant. The first half of the three-year program is typically devoted to courses such as health care ethics, health care policy, and health care management, while the remaining time is spent gaining clinical experience.
Physician Assistants made a median salary of $108,610 in 2018. The best-paid 25 percent made $127,220 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $90,150.
Dermatology is the highest paying PA specialty. On average they earned $126,084 each year. The median (midpoint) salary was $115,000. These professionals evaluate, diagnose and treat skin conditions, medically and surgically.
Steps to Become a PA
Step 1: Get prerequisites and health care experience
Application to PA school is highly competitive. Look into PA programs you want to apply to as early as your freshman year in college. You’ll typically need to complete at least two years of college coursework in basic and behavioral sciences before applying to a PA program, which is very similar to premedical studies. The majority of PA programs have the following prerequisites: Chemistry, Physiology, Anatomy, Microbiology, Biology.
Step 2: Attend an accredited PA program
Most programs are approximately 26 months (3 academic years) and award master’s degrees. They include classroom instruction and clinical rotations. As a PA student, you’ll receive classroom instruction in: Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Clinical laboratory science, Behavioral science, Medical ethics, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Physical diagnosis, Pathophysiology
Step 3: Become certified
Once you’ve graduated from an accredited PA program, you’re eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). If you pass the PANCE and maintain your certification, you may use the title Physician Assistant-Certified or PA-C.
Step 4: Obtain a state license
Before you can practice, you need to get licensed in your state. All states require that PAs graduate from an accredited PA program and pass the PANCE.
Step 5: Maintain your certification
To maintain national certification, you need to complete 100 hours of continuing medical education (CME) credits every two years and take a recertification exam (the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam, or PANRE) every 10 years. Learning Central – 500+ credits of AAPA Category 1 CME.