Physician Assistant Requirements

Physician Assistant Requirements

Physician assistants, who are also commonly known as PAs within the medical community, provide direct patient care, administrative and clerical support within physicians’ offices, medical clinics, nursing facilities and even hospital departments. They work under the direct supervision of a licensed medical doctor but physician assistant requirements on the job include performing many of the same functions as physicians. The primary difference is that all job duties of PAs are completed under the management of the supervising physician to whom they report and that physician holds direct responsibility for all the patients under the care of the physician assistant in their charge.

Physician Assistants vs Medical Assistants

While they are sometimes confused with medical assistants, physician assistant requirements for education are much more extensive. Medical assistants do not perform any clinical duties in a medical office but instead focus entirely on providing clerical and administrative support. Physician assistants on the other hand are capable of performing many of the same job duties and responsibilities to those of a licensed physician, including examining, diagnosing, performing treatment procedures and prescribing a range of medical treatments and prescriptions for patients.

Considering the Physician Assistant Career Path

Physician Assistant Requirements

When considering becoming a PA, it’s important to realize that the physician assistant requirements for education are lengthy and similar in nature to those required of medical doctors. A Bachelor’s Degree is necessary for working as a physician assistant, as is hands on clinical training within a medical practice or teaching hospital. If you want to become a physician assistant in one of the many medical specialties, there may be additional training required in order to qualify for roles within the field. There are additionally licensing and registration physician assistant requirements to take into consideration when contemplating a career as a PA.

All in all, you are committing yourself to a path that is similar in nature to that of a medical doctor only will not take as long to complete. While physicians may spend four years in undergraduate studies, four years in medical school and another three to seven years in clinical training, physician assistants complete their formal education and training in about six years, on average – perhaps a little longer if going into a medical specialty practice.

Job Duties and Responsibilities for PAs

Physician assistant work requirements often put them in the highest level of medical authority within a clinic or private medical practice, second only to the doctor to whom they directly report and in some cases, they may be the senior medical professional onsite most of the time. PAs take patient medical histories and perform patient examinations. They order tests and complete some diagnostic exams themselves. They may interpret the results of tests or collaborate with other medical professionals in discerning the cause of patient complaints and conditions through the use of diagnostic test results as well.

Most job responsibilities for physician assistant requirements also include the writing of prescriptions and dispensing of medical advice in terms of lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, and other alterations to everyday practices in order to improve patient outlooks. They often refer patients to other medical specialists too, though the formal referral may actually be issued the physician to whom the PA reports, the PA is the one who recommends and communicates the referral.

Leadership Responsibilities and Reporting Relationships

While PAs report to a managing physician, in many instances, they are the senior medical professional on site most of the time. In many urban medical clinics and rural medical practices, the physician assistant requirements for job duties also include leadership responsibilities, as they are the top authority on site and are responsible for managing the everyday operations of the clinic or office for the majority of each work week.

In these kinds of offices, the managing physician to whom the PA reports is only in the office one or two days a week and may see some patients during that time but usually spends the majority of the work day reviewing the patient records and other activities of the PA instead.

Work Environments and Employers

Physician assistants can find employment in a range of medical facilities. These include private doctors’ offices, public and urgent care clinics, hospital departments, surgical practices and any number of other locations. They may also work in specialized medical practices in which the physician assistant requirements for education may be a little more extensive. Specialty practices in which PAs often work include pediatric offices, private internal medicine clinics, and physical therapy offices, to name just few.
The work schedule for physician assistants varied from one employer to the next, though in general, PA should expect to work the same basic hours as doctors, as they are providing the same kinds of medical care and attention to patients. Those PAs who work in hospitals and surgical facilities often have the most varied work schedules, working nights and weekends as well as early mornings during which they complete patient rounds.

Physician Assistant Requirements – Education, Licensing and Experience

Physician assistant requirements for education, experience, licensing and registration are also similar to those expected of licensed medical doctors, through not as long in duration. A Bachelor’s Degree is required for working in the field and PA must also complete at least one year of focused clinical training. Those who want to work in a more specialized field of medicine will put in two or more years in clinical training and may also need to obtain formal certifications in addition to their undergraduate degree in order to be qualified for employment in highly specialized medical practices.

Physician assistant requirements for licensing are nationwide. PAs must hold a Bachelor’s Degree in order to sit for the national certification examination. After passing that exam, a PA must register with the state medical board in the location in which they intend to practice. There are continuing education physician assistant requirements as well in order to maintain certification and PAs must also retake the certification exam every six years as well.

Previous post:

Next post: