How To Become A Physician Assistant In California?
Physician Assistants, known as PAs, practice medicine under the direct supervision of doctors and surgeons. Physician Assistants perform many duties; some are listed below for reference.
Physician Assistants specifically work in all areas of medicine, including family practice, oncology, geriatrics, pediatrics, and psychiatry. They work in hospitals, outpatient centers, private clinics, health care centers of private companies, and military or government agencies.
The specific duties of physician assistants depend upon their specialties and the task assigned to them by their supervising doctors.
Apart from this, a surgical physician assistant can also close incisions and monitor the patient’s condition during the procedure.
Whereas in rural areas and inner cities, Physician Assistants may serve as the primary care providers due to the lack of licensed doctors in those areas. Some Physical Assistants also make house calls to those who cannot leave their homes or visit nursing homes under essential circumstances like age and care for their residents.
What are the Duties of Physician Assistant?
- Performing physical exams
- Reviewing medical histories of the patients
- Ordering diagnostic tests and procedures like blood work or x- rays
- Consulting with doctors regarding appropriate methods of treatment
- Making a preliminary diagnosis of the patient’s condition
- Prescribing appropriate medications
- Completing insurance paperwork
- They scrutinize the progress of the patient and make entries into medical charts.
Counseling patients and their families about maintaining a healthy lifestyle in terms of nutrition, preventive care, and exercise.
Education and Training
Those who intend to enroll in the Physician Assistant Program in California should have two years of college with coursework in chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, and behavioral science. Most of the applicants, though, only possess a bachelor’s degree and have approximately three years of experience in health care as a nurse or paramedic.
The Physician Assistant Program in California takes two years of full-time study to complete. In 2011, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant accredited 165 programs. Most of the programs offer a master’s degree. Other programs offer a bachelor’s degree, with a few offering an associate’s degree or certificate. Maintaining a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is advised to be competitive in obtaining an entry-level job. A master’s degree is frequently necessary for promotional opportunities and a pay increase.
Physician Assistant Programs are offered in colleges and universities, health centers, medical schools, and hospitals. Programs include a study in subject areas like pathology, physiology, human anatomy, clinical medicine, and health care principles. Specialties are available in family medicine, emergency medicine, geriatrics, pediatrics, and cardiology. Other accredited programs include medical schools’ affiliations so that students can access hands-on experience. In most cases, students will also rotate through different specialties so that they can recognize the areas which interest them the most and can pursue them.
Also, browse California Trade Schools, which include programs for Physician Assistants, or search by zip code for a trade school near you.
Licensure and Certification
California and all other states, including the District of Columbia, require that physician assistants be licensed to practice. To become licensed, students should pass the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE) administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). After completing the exam, students can use the designation ” Physician Assistant-Certified” ( PA- C).
The PANCE is a multiple-choice exam that tests students’ basic medical and surgical knowledge. Then applicants must submit an application and payment in advance to choose around 200 Pearson -Vue testing sites throughout the country.
For more details regarding initial Physical Assistant Certification, Click Here.
The California Department of Consumer Affairs: Physician Assistant Board requires that the applicants for the state licensure should complete the Board’s application and should also pass a background check which will include fingerprinting. The application fee for the same is $25, and also you need to pay $200 for an initial license.
Skills To Become A Physician Assistant
Some of the major skills that will help you in becoming a Physician Assistant include:
- Compassion: The desire to help people is one thing that urges many physician assistants to pursue this field. Those who want to help other people will excel in this career.
- Communication skills: Physical assistants should communicate with the patients in such a way that they can comprehend. They should also communicate with other healthcare workers to ensure that proper patient care is being taken.
- Detail-oriented: Physical assistants should be focused on treating the patients correctly and evaluating them properly
- Problem-solving skills: Physician assistants must evaluate their patients’ symptoms to provide proper treatment. It is also essential to be active while inspecting the patients to avoid medical issues and determine the best service for each individual.
- Emotional Stability: Physician assistants should be able to work well under pressure. Even in an emergency or surgery environment, they should be active in offering quality care to the patients. They should also remain calm during stressful situations.
How to Advance
Additional education in SCM is pursued, having achieved a specialty in this field. There are also postgraduate programs available in surgery, psychiatry, and emergency medicine to excel in this field.
After obtaining clinical experience and knowledge, physician assistants can earn higher wages and new responsibilities. Experienced physician assistants can supervise phase and assist students and other staff members.
You can have a thorough insight into how to become a Physician Assistant, and you can opt for this position after you find yourself compatible with the role a Physician Assistant needs to play.
1. How long does it take to become a physician assistant in California?
Earning your bachelor’s and master’s degrees, gaining health care experience, and studying for and passing the PANCE, you will have to spend around seven to eight years on becoming a physician assistant in California.
2. Is PA higher than RN?
PA means Physician assistant, and RN means Registered Nurse. PA is authorized more work-related duties than RN. Hence, PA is higher than RN.
3. What is the salary of physician assistants in California?
As PAs require more education and training, their job responsibilities also tend to be higher. Hence the salary of a Physician Assistant in California is $115,390.
4. What bachelor’s degree do I need to become a physician assistant?
To become a physician assistant, you must enroll in a bachelor’s degree in health care and sciences. However, some universities offer pre-PA programs at the undergraduate level. Other students also enroll in physician assistants with a bachelor’s degree in mental health-related fields.
5. What do PAs do in surgery?
Surgical PAs are trained to provide diagnostic, surgical, and therapeutic preventive care under the supervision of a physician or a surgeon.