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Physician Assistant as a career

Physician assistants or PA are those healthcare professionals who practice medicine as part of a team with a surgeon or a physician. To become a Physician assistant, an individual need a master's degree. Most of the applicants to physician assistant master's programs usually have a bachelor's degree with a background of experience as emergency medical technicians (EMTs), registered nurses, or paramedics. There are almost 165 accredited education programs throughout the country conducted by academic health centers, 4-year colleges, medical schools and schools of allied health.

Completing a Physician assistance programme takes almost 26 months of full-time study during, which the students has to take up classroom and laboratory course in medical and behavioral sciences, such as anatomy, microbiology, clinical medicine, hematology, pathology, pharmacology, pathophysiology, and physical diagnosis. This is followed by rotations in family medicine, internal medicine, surgery, gynecology, emergency medicine, obstetrics, pediatrics, and geriatric medicine along with elective rotations. After graduating from the PA program, the individual must clear the NCCPA-administered Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) before using 'Physician Assistant-Certified' designation. Irrespective of the state an individual wants to practice PA in, this licensure is a must.

Every two years PAs are required to complete 100 hours of continuing medical education in order to maintain his or her PA certification. For further advancement in the career some PAs go for specialty, such as rural primary care, pediatrics, emergency medicine, internal medicine, occupational medicine and Neonatology.

Even though, a PA is not fully trained doctor but there are plenty of job opportunities for PA. More than 50% of physician assistants work under the supervision of physicians. While in the surgical and general medical hospitals employ about 24 percent and the remaining find jobs in the health maintenance organizations, the Federal Government and public or private colleges, universities as well as professional schools.

The average salary of a physician assistant is $84,420. The salary also depends upon the specialty, geographical location, practice setting and the experience. Along with the basic salary, employers also pay for employees' professional liability insurance, State licensing fees, registration fees and credentialing fees. Some of the top paying states for the post of physician assistant in the US includes Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, Arizona, Alaska and Minnesota.

It has been predicted that the employment opportunity of physician assistants is expected to grow 30 percent by the year 2020. This growth rate of PA is much more than the average for other occupations. With the entry of more and more physicians in the specialty areas of medicine, the need for primary health care providers, which includes physician assistants, is also on the rise. Apart from this, as the population is increasing, there is a greater need for primary health care providers like physician assistants. It works out to be more economical to have a physician assistant than a physician and so they need in the routine care is increasing. The states allow these assistants to do various procedures and so healthcare providers are expected to use more physician assistants.

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