There are several physician assistant requirements that one needs to obtain to be qualified as an assistant of a physician. Working in this medical profession can be hard work because one has to help the doctor in a multitude of different tasks.
What Is A Physicians Assistant?
Before we get to the physician assistant requirements, lets first briefly look at what is a physician assistant? A PA is considered as a mid-level health care provider. They are supervised by a licensed physician who is available for consultation. The physician does not need to be physically present, meaning they could be communicating through telephone or internet. In some instances the physician’s assistant is the only person in the clinic or hospital. A PA must be very good with their duties and instructions because they must follow the exact directions of the physician.
What Are The Duties Of A Physician Assistant?
There are a lot of duties in physician assistant jobs and the following are some of the things that the physician asks the assistant to do:
- Asking the patients about their medical history so as to find out possible causes of diseases.
- Performing examinations and scans to eliminate possible causes of disease.
- When the disease is already known, they order treatments for the illness.
- They help diagnose the illness.
- Prescribing the proper and recommended drugs to the patient.
- Assisting in the interpretation of the tests and scans conducted on the patient.
- Finding out or keeps up to date with the hospital course of a patient.
- Assisting in surgeries and operations done by a physician.
These are only some of the duties and responsibilities of a physician’s assistant. The doctor may also ask the assistant to do other things.
The profession of becoming a physician assistant is relatively new. It started in the 1960s when there was a lack of available physicians or doctors. On October 2011, it was documented that there were 156 accredited physician assistant programs in the United States.
This is a graduate program which would result in getting a master’s degree, so it is required to have a bachelor’s degree. There are only a few programs that are still awarding bachelor’s degrees in this field, but they are already transitioning to master’s degree programs.
Some programs also ask for hands on experience on training in a medical clinic setting. The training can be as an emergency medical assistant, paramedic, nurse’s assistant or military medic.
Physician assistant school requirements can very depending on the actual school, so it is best to check with admissions before you apply. As mentioned before, most PA programs will require you to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. If you are in your senior year, you can still apply for the program as long as you graduate before starting the training.
Grade Point Average
Grades are important to be admitted into a physician assistant school and you must at least hold a 3.0 grade point average. Most PA programs also require you to have taken the GRE General Test and you must submit your scores.
There are certain courses you must have taken as prerequisites and achieved a grade level of C or better and you must submit your transcripts when you apply. Below are some of the common courses you must have taken and passed:
- General Chemistry – with lab
- Physiology – with lab
- Anatomy – with lab
- Microbiology – with lab
- Organic Chemistry – with lab
- Foreign Language
- Med Terminology
- Cellular Biology
The physician assistant must undergo two to three years of education in physician assistant training. They are taught in classroom environments as well as laboratories. Assistants are not required to have residency after their studies.
There are some residency programs being offered to those who want to continue their education after completing their training in one of the physician assistant schools. After taking the proper education, one must take the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) licensure examination and pass it. This is required in all stated of the United States.
Requirements For Certification
Every two years after passing the licensure examination, the assistant is still required to undertake one hundred continuing medical education hours. Then they also have to re-register their certificate with the NCCPA. On the other hand, every six years after passing the licensure examination they must complete the Physician Assistant National Re-certifying Examination to be re-certified.
A physician assistant must inquire from their state, to find out if they must take a different examination to become a practicing physician assistant in their corresponding state. In the United States, each state has their own licensing rules and regulations.
Other than the requirements mentioned above, a PA must be driven to be successful in this profession. Having a good bedside manner is a requirement of most hospitals since patients must be at ease with the assistant. Truly understanding how people are feeling is important, as you will be dealing with many people in poor health, and them feeling like you understand their pain will go a long way.
The most important qualification of a physician assistant is that he must have a passion and desire to help people. You will be working with people everyday and be in the position to help improve their lives. Hopefully this break down of the job and physician assistant requirements has helped you better understand pushing this career.