Purpose of Physician Assistant Programs
A physician assistant program trains the aspiring students in preventing, maintaining and treating human illness with the help of a variety of health care services which were used by physicians before. With the help of these programs, a person learns to become a competent, competent and efficient physician assistant professional. A physician assistant is mainly a licensed health care professional who provides health care services to the people under the supervision of a physician.
The work area of a physician assistant is not only restricted to hospitals and clinics but, they can also serve the medical needy in schools or companies. For attaining license to practice as a physician assistant, a student needs a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree with clinical internship in the health care industry. The renewal of the license is also necessary after a gap of every few years.
Physician assistant programs teach the students with the help of a medical model instead of the nursing model used for nursing aspirants. The profile of a physician assistant should not be confused with medical assistants. Unlike medical assistants, the job of a physician assistant is not to perform administrative and simple clinical tasks but, they provide health services working as a team with the supervising physicians.
These programs generally follow semester system which is further divided into regular class teaching and hands on training for better understanding of the students.
The most important thing to be considered before enrolling for a physician assistant program is to check whether it’s certified or not. A certified degree always helps in getting better job opportunities in this field. Apart from this, there are various online physician assistant programs as well which can be taken by the students as per their own ease.
Top physician Assistant Schools
How to Apply for a Physician Assistant Program?
Due to the increased demand for physician assistants in the last few years, the number of physician assistant programs has also seen a steep rise.
As per the data, there are around 164 accredited physician assistant programs in the United States of America. The common feature of all these programs is the facility of intensive classroom teaching and laboratory study combined with clinical practice provided to the aspiring students.
Primary requirements of various training programs differ in a few aspects so; everything should be checked before enrolling in a physician assistant program. Many programs ask for prior health care experience in the health care industry.
Training programs which offer bachelor’s degrees require a minimum of two year college degree and programs providing master’s degree require a bachelor’s degree or an appropriate undergraduate degree with a good GPA. Though a college degree is not always necessary but, the student must have taken the college-level courses on basic sciences, math, English or writing. Apart from this, the students should also be aware about some specific science courses like anatomy or physiology, microbiology, physics, computer sciences and medical terminology.
Aspiring students should apply to a number of programs as each program has a limited number of seats and their selection criteria may also vary so, if not in one, the students will get a chance to study in any other institution. The application should be forwarded to the training programs in such a way that the previous education and employment experiences add to the chances for admission.
Students should apply through CASPA or the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants for the subscribed programs and post applications on the concerned websites for the concerned programs which are not subscribed by CASPA.
In both the cases, applicants should abide by the programs’ published application deadlines and try to complete the application process as early as possible. Students should also be ready with their reasons for choosing a program in physician assistance as some application committees ask such questions to judge the interest line of the student.
Qualification and Cost for Physician Assistant Programs
The qualification and the cost required for completing a physician assistant program varies according to the kind of program one enrolls in.
If a student is applying for a bachelor’s degree in physician assistance, then he should hold a minimum of two years of college degree with science as the main stream. For attaining a master’s degree in physician assistant program, the students should have a bachelor’s degree or any other equivalent degree with good grades in science stream.
So, in simple terms, it can be said that all prominent physician assistant programs give preference to the students who have prior medical experience. In total, there are almost 164 accredited physician assistant programs in the United States but, it depends on the discretion of the student how he chooses the best program according to his needs.
The expenditures involved in a physician assistant program play an important role in deciding the physician assistant program one wants to opt for. Apart from this, one should also be able to fulfill the extra expenses required for the program. The additional expenses include food, books and other living expenditures.
So, it’s very necessary to choose a program which suits one’s ability to spend. The fee charged by various physician assistant schools may also vary however; normally it ranges from $2,200 to $99,500. The difference in the fees is mainly due to the variation in the education level, practical training and other additional facilities offered by the training schools. The charge for private institutions is comparatively higher than the government training colleges.
The kind of courses or degree programs taken by the students also brings variation in the fee structure such as the expenditure for a master’s degree is different from the bachelor’s degree program. However, keeping the expenses in mind, various training programs for physician assistance also offer scholarship programs, funding programs and educational loans to the students.
Significance of Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam
As physician assistance is one of the booming professions these days due to the stable opportunities with lucrative salaries in it so, the aspiring students should try their best to clear the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam conducted by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants as it enhances the job opportunities to a large extent.
Best Schools for Physician Assistant Programs in USA
Physician assistants are authorized health care professionals who offer primary care to patients under the supervision of a physician. The curriculum of this program mainly consists of supervised clinical training combined with laboratory work and classroom teaching.
There are various schools, institutes, colleges and universities which provide physician assistance training in the United States of America. The three top most universities recognized all over the world for producing competent and efficient physician assistant professionals is Yale University, University of Florida and George Washington University.
Yale University of Connecticut
Yale University located in Connecticut State offers a master’s degree in medical science with the help of its physician associate program. It runs a 28-month program which comprises of didactic, clinical and research learning. The university stresses on teaching the students through lectures, group discussions and practical research activities. Students write thesis for their master’s degree which requires a lot of search. The staff tries its best to increase the searching skills of the students in order to increase their learning as well as understanding capacity. Apart from offering courses in anatomy, physiology, clinical care standards, surgical assisting, pharmacology and preventive medicine, the university also offers hands-on training in suturing and helps them to gain practical knowledge by practicing in dissection labs and role-playing as physician assistants.
University of Florida
Second is University of Florida located in Gainesville region of Florida state. This university also offers a master’s degree program in physician assistance studies. For enrolling in master’s degree program, the students must have a bachelor’s degree from any accredited school. The postgraduate program is a two year program in which the first year is for the didactic learning of the students and the second year consists of clinical trainings. The topics which are focused in clinical trainings include primary care, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, emergency care, intensive care and psychiatry.
George Washington University
Third is the George Washington University which provides master’s program to the students interested in attaining a post graduate degree in physician assistant studies.
The program is a perfect blend of classroom teaching and practical training. Students attend classes with health science program students which enhance their knowledge to a great extent. Due to the exposure of the students to inpatient and outpatient settings, they learn a lot. Apart from this, they also practice in areas like pediatrics, long-term care, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine and surgery to attain practical experience in dealing with variety of patients with different needs. For enrolling in the master’s program, the student must be a graduate. The best part of this program is that it offers options to the graduate students. They can either choose a Master of Science in Health Sciences degree or a 3-year joint program for Master of Public Health degree.