Why Become A Physician Assistant
Deciding to become a physician assistant is indeed a very important decision. It requires approximately the same amount of dedication and study as the medical profession itself. When looking into career paths in the field of medicine, it is common for people to think why become a physician assistant when one can become a doctor. The answer to this is simple; while the study may be similar the duration of study is a lot less and the cost is also significantly lower than a medical qualification.
What Do Physician Assistants Do
While it is common for most people to know of the term physician assistant it is not always very clear as to what the job description entails. The biggest different that separates a medical assistant from a physician assistant is the fact that the former do mostly research based work and clerical tasks while the later in involved in the practice of medicine. Mainly they work under the supervisor of a practicing physician, and are allowed to prescribe medication when needed. They are also in charge of conducting initial patient checkups to fill out preliminary patient charts for their supervisors.
They are also in charge of ordering medical test and reading diagnostic reports sometimes creating the write up note on patient test results. Some professionals are also in charge of processing insurance information of patients and also documenting patient progress. A good portion of their day is spent moving around clinics and hospital evaluating patients and their progress, updating charts and administering medicine dosage.
Typical Work Environment
It is common for assistants to work in physician's offices and clinics. This is also a surrounding in which they work independently for a good part of the week. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2012 54% of the physician assistants were working independently in offices and clinics. They also reported that 24% worked in government as well as privately run hospitals. 9% have been reported to work in outpatient centers and 4 % is also reported to work for the government.
In most states assistants in this field require a master's degree to begin working full time. Many master's degree programs require undergraduate degree holders to acquire some work experience in order to gain admission. They are then required to take accredited courses and exams which are spread over a span of two years. Once these courses are complete they can then acquire admission in a master's program and move onwards to acquire a license. Licenses are required by all states before individuals can begin practicing.
Salary And Career Advancement
When thinking about why become a physician assistant it is important to note that the career has great advancement potential. In the year 2012 BLS reports that most physician assistants earned $89,500 in hospitals, and $80,120 annually while working in government roles at different venues.