Physician Assistant Schools

When the United States goes through tough economic times, almost all industries are affected. Whether in housing or manufacturing, jobs are lost. One industry that weathers the ups and downs of a financial storm is health care. The aging of the American population virtually ensures that the industry will expand for the foreseeable future. Not only will physicians be in high demand, but there will also be a need for all the other job titles on a health care team. One of the most promising career titles is physician assistant. Physician assistants perform many of the diagnostic and prescriptive duties of a doctor, the exception being that they do so under the supervision of a licensed physician. The educational burden of a physician assistant is less than that of a physician. There is a lot of education and training needed, which also means that the salary of a physician assistant is quite healthy. Browsing physician assistant schools is a good way to investigate whether the career is possibly right for you.

There are a variety of ways that physician assistants gain certification and start working in a hospital or in private practice. Attending a physician assistant program at a respected physician assistant school is the surest way to secure a job in a thriving medical practice. When browsing physician assistant programs, there are several ways narrow down your choices: by degree, school rank, accreditation, time and cost, and internship opportunities.

There are a couple of degrees that can be taken that lead to a career as a physician assistant. One option is to earn an MPAS (masters in physician assistant studies). This degree requires that the candidate already has an undergraduate degree, but it can be in a non-medical discipline. It is possible to get a bachelorís degree from select physician assistant schools, meaning that your training would be over in four years as opposed to six. A handful of physician assistant schools offer a certificate in lieu of a degree.

Many publication rank physician assistant schools. Print publications offer college rankings for every kind of program. U.S. News and World Report, for example, publishes extensive listings by region, cost, and faculty type. There are also rankings made by physician assistant professional associations. Choosing a highly ranked program is a good way to create a sterling professional resume.

One of the most important factors to consider when browsing physician assistant schools is accreditation. Employers favor schools that are accredited because accreditation implies several facts about a school beyond its reputation. First, it shows that the curriculum provided meets the accepted professional standards of the larger health care community. During the accrediting process, physicians, physician assistants, professors of medicine, and others meet with faculty and staff to determine what is being taught and how the instruction is given. They interview students to determine whether the grades assigned matched essential knowledge for physician assistants. Accreditation means that your physician assistant school is legitimate and not a so-called diploma mill.

Depending on which degree program you want to enter, a major difference among schools is cost. Another major factor is the time required to get a degree. Some masterís programs can be completed in two years. For working students taking courses part-time or at night, this time frame might be longer. A shorter program can mean lower overall costs as well. Even if the tuition is the same, a shorter program means less time you will have to pay for housing, food, and transportation before youíre working and earning money instead of spending it.

Last Updated: 05/22/2014