WHAT DO PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS DO?
Also known as PAs, physician assistants work under doctors and surgeons and practice medicine, from assisting during surgery to emergency care, even psychiatry. Physician assistants are often the primary care medical staff in remote places or rural venues. They can supervise medical technicians and nurses, examine patients, administer drugs, order medical and diagnostic tests, diagnose illnesses, counsel patients and their families.
Physician assistants are highly trained and skilled medical practitioners. They do many of the things a doctor can do and work very closely with surgeons and physicians. Physician assistants work in hospitals and clinics, and sometimes make house calls. For the most part, they work full time, sometimes more than 50 hours per week.
HOW MUCH DO PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS MAKE?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the median income for physician assistants in 2010 was $41.54 an hour or $86,410 annually.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
You must have a master's degree to become a physician assistant, and most master's applicants have some sort of medical background, either with a bachelor's degree in a medical related field or through experience in the medical field, like EMT or registered nurse.
You must also become licensed by passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Continuing Education is required to keep licensure.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Compassion: Physician assistants should want to help people. They are there to help ease pain and suffering.
- Attention to Detail: Physician assistants must be focused. Prescribing medicine and surgery must be handled with the utmost care.
- Emotional Stability: Physician assistants will see people in various states of pain and trauma, especially in emergency room situations. The ability to keep calm will be needed.
THE FUTURE OF PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS
Physician assistant jobs will grow greatly between now and 2020, according to the BLS. The rising costs of medicine and the need for more care by the baby boomer generation are the biggest cause for this uptick.