To work as a physician assistant, students first need to earn and then obtain their physician assistant degree. The career choice of a physician assistant is becoming increasingly popular these days as a solid career choice within the medical field for a number of reasons. A physician assistant is a healthcare professional who is in greater and greater demand these days and whose prospects for employment are only expected to continue growing and growing in the next decade. While physician assistants are not actual doctors, they, however, can earn quite a good deal of money by working in this profession.
By definition, a physician assistant is a healthcare professional who is certified, licensed and registered by the state of his residence to practice in the field of medicine as part of a team that consists of doctors. The purpose of a physician assistant is to be concerned with the prevention, maintenance and treatment of sicknesses as well as injury by offering a wide choice of healthcare services that usually are performed by a doctor.
A physician assistant is certified to perform examinations, diagnose and treat sicknesses, order and then interpret lab tests, give advice on preventative healthcare, issue medical orders, aid in surgery and even write prescriptions. But in order to be able to perform all of these duties and privileges, students first have to obtain their physician assistant degree.
- People interested in becoming a physician assistant ought to speak with physician assistant students to learn about the whole physician assistant education procedure. Before deciding on getting a physician assistant degree, prospective students should make use of all the available information to aid them in deciding if this career choice is right for them. For example, certain websites such as mypatraining.com and its forum are well worth examining.
- If prospective students have decided that a physician assistant career is the way they want to go, they should first obtain a good amount of medical experience prior to enrolling in a physician assistant program to get their physician assistant degree. The reason for this piece of advice is because a good many physician assistant programs look for applicants who already possess a wide range of medical knowhow. It is normally adequate for applicants to these programs to have about 2 years of hands-on patient care under their belt. People who normally apply for physician assistant programs are surgical assistants or technologists, nursing assistants, medical assistants, vocational nurses, physical therapy technicians, athletic trainers, military medics and emergency medical technicians.
- Students should see what classes and courses they need in order to gain admission into a physician assistant program. For example, prior to applying to a physician assistant program, students should get a bachelor’s degree in Health Science. However, other classes and courses that students may also pursue include Biology 101, English, Math, Microbiology, Physiology and Anatomy.
- Next up is researching the physician assistant program of choice. Students are advised to thoroughly examine each physician assistant program available to them because not all of them are designed the same, and they have to pick the one that is best suited to their aims. Doing research in this respect involves checking out any given program’s requirements as well as looking at each program’s website in detail.
- Students should also contact the program they are interested in directly. They ought to speak to a representative and inform him that they are interested in applying for said program. They should follow up by making sure to tell him to mail them an informational packet.
- Students are advised to also track down people who are actual graduates of the physician assistant program they are looking into. By talking to a newly graduated physician assistant, students can not only learn from him, but also potentially get their recommendation.
- Opening an account with CASPA (Central Application Service for Physician Assistants) is also a good idea. The majority of these physician assistant programs demand that you apply to them by way of CASPA. It is, though, quite possible that certain programs demand further applications like an application of admission to their specific university. These applications for CASPA take a long while to work through, so students are advised to apply earlier rather than later. One tip is to get together all the required employment and educational information ahead of applying.
- Getting recommendations is a big part of gaining entry into the physician assistant program of choice, which must be achieved before students can get their physician assistant degree. The minimum number of people writing recommendations is three, and at least one of said three has to be either a physician or a physician assistant.
- Students should then compose a personal statement. On the CASPA application, they are to read each question and attempt to answer it in a grammatically sound and clear manner. Students should also get someone to proofread this statement since it is going to be their first impression to the program of choice.
- Being invited to an interview is already a small sign of success. Prepare for said interview by performing a mock interview with a real physician assistant, and also ask him what he went through during his own interview. Finally, dress conservatively to the interview, arrive early and behave professionally.
All of the above steps are meant to give students the best possible chance to gain entry into the physician assistant program of their choice. After its completion, they are awarded their physician assistant degree, which is the final climax of their objective. However, students should understand that even after they get their degree, they are still expected to obtain certification in the state in which they work. Only after obtaining this certification through additional hard work can they finally get approval to work as physician assistants in their state of residence. All this means that the process to become a physician assistant does not end even after students have earned their degree.