Physician Assistant CareersPhysician assistants perform many of the same duties as doctors, and they have many of opportunities to interact with patients. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that physician assistant is one of the fastest growing occupations in the country. With the high and rising costs of healthcare, physician assistants become more and more valuable for the low-cost, high quality care they can provide.
Degrees and Training Programs for Physician AssistantsMost physician assistants enter their training programs having already earned their undergraduate degrees. However, this is not a requirement for all physician assistant degree programs. Students must have completed at least two years of undergraduate coursework and have worked at a job in the healthcare industry to gain admittance. Typical courses for physician assistant training programs include anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology, pharmacology, medical ethics, and disease prevention. Physician assistant training programs generally take two years to complete. Upon graduation, students must pass the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants' Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination.
Responsibilities of a Physician AssistantPhysician assistants work under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. They diagnose diseases, treat patients, take medical histories, and conduct examinations. They can treat minor injures that require splints, casts, and sutures. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, physician assistants make $69,410 per year on average. Thanks to an attractive salary, the chance to work closely with patients, and the short time needed to earn a degree, physician assistant is an exciting career option.