In order to become a licensed Physician Assistant, a person must successfully complete an accredited master’s level degree, and pass the licensing exam that is given by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. These degree programs take medical experiences and expand them with knowledge and training to be equipped to be a medial practitioner.
Physician Assistants work in a doctor office, functioning very similarly to the was the doctors do. They are qualified to examine, diagnose, and treat clients in the same manner that the doctors are. They do have requirements of communication with the doctor that they work under.
Different facilities operate under varying conditions. In larger offices in big cities, the Physician Assistant is likely to work hand-in-hand daily, always working to help eliminate some of the routine activities that take up the doctor’s time. In smaller, rural offices, it is common to have a doctor only be at the office once or twice during the week. In those circumstances, the Physician Assistant would be more autonomous and be much more charged with functioning as a doctor.
The job outlook for Physician Assistants is very high right now. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects thirty percent growth in this field by the year 2020. The average salary nationally for this job, as listed on CareerBuilder.com is $89,970.
After finishing up the degree program and getting licensed, many Physician Assistants go on to specialize in an area that suits their interests or their current position. There are many ways that they are able to build on their expertise, increasing their appeal to the market.
The following schools have programs known for preparing their graduates well for the workforce, and have high success rates in placing graduates in good, full-time positions:
- Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies: Keiser University (Highly Recommended!) offers a degree program for Physician Assistants. It involves a two year curriculum that involves intensive lecture and lab sessions, as well case studies to apply knowledge to real world situations. Completing a graduate project gives the student the opportunity to compile research and develop it into a written piece that shares those ideas with fellow practitioners.
- Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies: South University (Highly Recommended!) is known for a large variety of nursing degrees in their online curriculum. Most of the studies are able to be done online, but some of their programs do require campus time. Their program uses a broad approach to training and implements strategies and proficiencies to prepare the student for the positions they will enter as graduates.
- Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies: Pace University allows current board certified Physician Assistants with bachelor’s degree to use their prior classes can apply to the master’s program. This program is available online, allowing students to work while still keeping their current job. It is designed to be completed in one year, made up of three semesters.
- Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies: Arizona School of Health Sciences requires applicants to have been practicing Physician Assistants looking to expand their knowledge. They choose clinical medicine or education/leadership as their specialization, and coursework fills their desired direction. This program is entirely online.
- Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies: Mercy College has a full-time degree program that aims to teach each student a wide range of skills, giving them skills to work in many fields of medicine. Graduates of this program work in hospitals and doctor offices, in every department there is. It is very competitive and they have high standards for admission.
- Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies: University of Nebraska Medical Center offers an online program for Physician Assistants to move from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree while maintaining their current position. It can be completed in five semesters, and students are allowed five years to complete the degree program once they start.
- Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies: Grand Valley State University has designed a full-time program for bachelor’s degree holders who completed 500 hours or more of experience in medical settings and having one-on-one interactions with patients. That can be work, volunteer, or shadowing. The program accepts 48 students per year, and has eight faculty members just for this program.
- Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies: Drexel University offers an online degree program for working Physician Assistants who are looking to improve their knowledge for either promotion or for specializing in a particular part of the medical field. Specialization can be from: health promotion, clinical specialties, complementary and integrative healthcare information, or study in clinical research.
- Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies: Arcadia University created a dual-degree program combined with public health. Master in Medical Science degree combines the skills needed to be a licensed Physician Assistant with the degree in public health in order to consider a global view of medical practices and decision-making. They offer online textbooks, podcasts of lectures, and electronic note service.