The healthcare industry is booming right now, with nearly all medical professionals in high demand. Physician Assistants are among the most highly sought after graduates and it's a great career choice for people that want to be heavily involved in diagnosis and treatment, but might not want to spend the time and money to become a physician.
One of the benefits of becoming a physician assistant (PA) as opposed to a nurse practitioner (NP) is that a physician's assistant often has more flexibility in his or her career choices after becoming a certified PA. NP's are trained within a specialty, and so if they were to move between specialties, additional training would be required.
Physician assistants require a master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies, Health Science, or Medical Science. To get into a PA program, the applicant has to take the GRE or MCAT, and also needs a bachelor's degree. Typical bachelor's degrees for PA students include nutrition, sports physiology, psychology, biology, and other science majors. Not only will a science based major look better when you're applying to a PA school, but it will also ensure you have taken the required classes and help you on the GRE or MCAT more than a non-science major. Finally, most PA students have a work background in health care, including technicians, medics, nursing assistants, medical assistants, and more.
PA school is usually a two to three year program. According to U.S. News & World Report these are the top 25 PA programs in the country:
- Duke University
- University of Iowa
- University of Utah
- Emory University
- George Washington University
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Oregon Health and Sciences University
- University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey–Newark
- University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center–Dallas
- University of Washington
- Quinnipiac University
- University of Colorado–Denve
- Interservice Physician Assistant Program
- Northeastern University
- Stony Brook University–SUNY
- University of Nebraska Medical Center
- University of Oklahoma
- Philadelphia University
- University of Texas Health Science Center–San Antonio
- Wake Forest University
- Yale University
- Drexel University
- Midwestern University
- Shenandoah University
- DeSales University
You should pick a handful of schools you are interested in attending and do your research into their requirements for admission to maximize your chances of getting in.
Salaries & Schedule
PA's typically work on salary, as opposed to a nurse that typically works on an hourly basis. If you need the flexibility of an hourly schedule, pursuing an NP career might be more suitable. Your level of pay as a PA will largely depend on the state that you are practicing in and the demand for that particular area, but the median in the United States is $90,000/year according to PayScale.com.MMAR Medical is a medical equipment retailer that specializes in bracing, DME equipment, diabetic footwear and more. Visit our store for our complete selection.