How To Become A Physician Assistant

what is a physician assistant?
physician assistants are medical professionals who work under the supervision of physicians and surgeons within a hospital setting. their primary responsibilities involve providing basic treatment and diagnosing the injuries of the patients. the healthcare industry is experiencing a high demand for qualified medical professionals who can bridge the gap between doctors and patients. according to the us bureau of labor statistics (bls), physician assistants are expected to see a 30% rise in employment between 2010 and 2020. if you are interested in a career in this field or just want to know how to become a physician assistant, read through our guide to help you understand what it takes.

what does a physician assistant do?
typically, these professionals are involved in conducting physical exams needed to assess patient health; using this information, they may make preliminary diagnoses on injuries and prescribe medicines where needed. they are also responsible for maintaining paperwork and recording patient progress. these responsibilities are similar to those of a medical assistant with the exception of one basic factor: physician assistants practice medicine whereas medical assistants do not. the full amount of duties assigned to a physician assistant may vary based on the place he or she is working and the supervising physician.

how to become a physician assistant
if a person is interested in this career, then the person needs to earn a bachelor's degree and have some pre-requisite experience in working in a healthcare facility. the most preferred route is to first finish an undergraduate program to become a registered nurse, and then gain work experience by working in a hospital or smaller healthcare facility.

physician assistant (pa) programs are master's level degrees which typically last for 2 years. according to the bureau of labor and statistics, the year 2011 saw the accreditation of over 165 education programs which offered pa training. your training will involve a combination of classroom-based lectures and laboratory training, which will supplement your existing knowledge of medicine. topics covered include human anatomy, clinical medicine, and medical ethics. you will also be supervised in clinical training for family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics. the main focus of your program will be to provide you with the industry-specific skill set you need to effectively carry out your duties.

what personality traits should a pa possess?
because a large part of your duties involves obtaining and maintaining records of data, you must be detail oriented and have a diligent work ethic. the information you compile may form the basis of the patient's health. you must also be able to handle pressure effectively and not let it stand in the way of your duties. since the job also involves communicating with patients on a daily basis, you must have good interpersonal skills and a compassionate attitude. if you feel that you possess these qualities, a highly promising career awaits you.

pay outlook:
median annual salary for the year 2010 as reported by the bls was $86,410. this amount will vary depending on your employer, geographic location, and your prior experience in this field.

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