Here’s How to Become a Physician Assistant

It can be extremely hard trying to become a physician assistant, but its still a very rewarding career to get into. The first step that should be taken in deciding to become a PA is asking yourself why you want to be one in the first place. You definitely should do this because you’ve chosen to get into this career when there are plenty more to choose from. You could have chosen to become a nurse, nurse practitioner, medical assistant, and there are many PAs who have already been employed in these careers before they even became a PA.

As a PA, you will find that this career has a lot of autonomy even though you will be working collaboratively with a physician whose supervision you are going to be under. So take a minute and ask yourself “Why on earth do I want to be a PA instead of a registered nurse, a physician or get into another medical career?” If becoming a PA is something you’re certain you want to do then you are going to have to make sure that you meet the requirements that are needed to get admitted into an accredited physician assistant program.

Almost all PA schools, at least the best PA schools, are going to require that you gained some experience working in direct contact with patients. You can get hours working as a orderly in a hospital, working as a emergency medical technician, respiratory therapist, or even as a volunteer for the American Red Cross. To get into these PA schools you will have to at least have a bachelor’s degree and you must a grade “C” or better in subjects like biology, chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, and college math. If you haven’t done these courses or you didn’t get the necessary grade then it would best that you take these classes and get the right grade.

When you decide that you are ready to choose a PA school you will have a lot to choose from. Its going to be your current living situation that will truly be the determining factor in which school you apply to. Factors like your finances, your relationship status, and where you live will all play into determining what physician assistant school is best for you. All these PA schools have deadlines for their applications, and applying early is definitely going to put you in good graces. After you apply and if you make it to the second phase, you will go to an interview at the schools that you applied to you.

Be ready to explain to them why you want to be a PA, and why you’d make a good candidate for admission into their school. PA programs usually last only 2 to 3 years and it is going to be very demanding. Most students aren’t even going to be able to work part-time at a job. The first half of the program will have students doing coursework, and the second half will involve them doing clinical rotations working alongside medical students.

After you are done and have graduate from the PA program, then you will have to take the needed licensing exams so that you can work in your state as a physician assistant. It takes intelligence, determination, fortitude and commitment to become a PA and to work as one. All the best in your journey to have a successful career as a PA.

Here are 10 Schools That Have Great Physician Assistant Programs

Its great that you have decided to become a physician assistant because it really is a phenomenal career to get into. Now that you have made this decision, its time to decide which school you want to attend. Here are 10 schools that have the best PA programs in the country……

University of Iowa – This schools offers PA programs that are very different from other schools because of the fact that its curriculum has been created to allow students to complete more than 60% of their academic studies with the aid of sophomore medical students.

Duke University – This school offers aspiring PA students programs that are split into two sections. The first part of the program deals with academic studies and the second does hands on clinical rotations.

Emory University – There is a 28 month PA program that comes with this school, and it has a great focus on primary health care. Their academic curriculum is splint into 3 different sections which are academic studies, hands on clinical rotations, and advanced academic studies.

George Washington University – There are 2 graduate level programs that are given out of this university. There is the usual and traditional 2 year physician assistant program and there is the 3 year joint program where two students complete the course together. There is also community service that is necessary to finish the program.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas – This university offers aspiring students a PA program that has students take four academic semesters with an added semesters of them doing clinical rotations.

University of Utah – Their PA program is another one that is splint up into 2 phases with the first year being academic coursework and the second year involving hands on clinical rotations.

University of Washington – Both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree is offered to students at this university. Students are going to be working on different projects, they’ll will be doing clinical rotations, and they’re going to be doing academic coursework.

University of Colorado in Denver – Has a specialty program for PA students that focuses on pediatrics, and its curriculum is prepared so that students learn how to provide treatment for kids of all ages.

Baylor College of Medicine – This program is offered to students who have a master’s degree. It will take 30 to 34 months to complete the PA program offered here. Its divided into 2 sections in which the first is academic coursework, and the second is hands on clinical work.

Oregon Health and Science University – The PA program that is offered here lasts for 26 months, with a first section involving coursework and the second working to get hands on experience doing clinical rotations.

These are the top 10 physician assistant programs in the nation! That’s right, and if you still decide not to attend these schools you can still get a great education elsewhere.

Here’s How to Prepare to Fill Out Your CASPA Application

When you get ready to take a seat and fill out your physician assistant CASPA application what you should have in front of you is all the documentation that you need. What you’re going to need in front of you is a copy of your transcript, you’re going to need to know all the dates when you were employed in a medical field, you need to have all the names and addresses of the people that you plan on asking to give you a letter of recommendation, and you need to make sure that you have the contact information for the universities that you attended and you’re going to need a copy of your personal statement narrative.

You always have the option of being able to print out your letters of recommendation and sending it by the mail. Sending your recommendations by mail isn’t encouraged because of the fact they can be lost, so sending your recommendation letters by email is far better. This is better because of the fact that you will be able to track it by email, and you don’t have think that the person who is evaluating your application forgetting to send the letter.

Sending everything electronically is a good idea also because of the fact that you know instantly when your application is complete and has been forwarded to the physician assistant schools you decided to apply to. Its important that you make sure that the people you get to do your recommendations are know that they are going to be contacted by an email the moment that they are finish entering in the information.

The email that comes in may be filtered as spam, so make sure you let them know to check their spam folder just in case they didn’t get it in their main inbox. Its extremely important that you fill out the whole application, and you don’t have to finish it once you start it. You can come back and finish later, but I would recommend that you finish it the first time you start. When you are done with the application print out a copy of it to keep for yourself.

Is Your Physician Assistant Interview Tomorrow? Get Prepared NOW!

So you have been waiting for tomorrow to come, the day that you plan to give an amazing interview so they you gain admission into the physician assistant school of your choice. You’re going to want to really impress them with your intelligence both academically and in conversation, showing them that you’d make an excellent student for their PA program. You should also want to show them that you are someone full of compassion, that you are humble, competent, and that you aren’t arrogant.

What should have been doing prior to the day of is rehearsing your answers to whatever possible questions they may have for you. The most important question out of any that they are most definitely going to ask you is “Why do you want to be a PA?” Whatever other questions they may ask you will most likely be based on your academic qualifications, your experience working in the medical field, whatever experience you may have shadowing a physician assistant, and there could be more questions they ask you.

Personal questions that will ask about what motivates you or what challenges you’ve ever had and how did you get through those challenges. You will be in front of a number of people interviewing you so that there will be a number of different opinions on who should get a spot into the PA program. There’s no way you can anticipate what questions they’re going to ask you, but what you do know is that you can’t stumble at a loss of words. You have to speak with confidence.

These questions that they’re going to ask you are going to be based on what they want to see in a candidate, or they’re going to be based on what they would like to know more about from what they saw on your application. What you should do is make sure you review your application and read over what you think they’ll probably ask. Maybe you have forgotten some of what you put on the application because of the fact that you sent a while ago.

Aside from looking at your application, you should also review transcripts and see what areas of interest they may have regarding that. I hope that you made sure you saved a copy of your personal statement because you need to go over that and see what they may ask about it. Even though you don’t know what they have said about you already you should still think about it. Look over everything you think may come up during your interview, and above all else….relax.

Relax, get some good food in you, and sleep well because tomorrow is a huge day for you. Stay positive knowing that you’ll do great and you should do just that without a doubt.

Here is How to Locate a Physician Assistant for Shadowing

Shadowing a physician assistant is one of the best ways for you to really decide whether or not going to PA school is the right course for you to take. If you are in anyway unsure of whether or not you know enough about this career or if you have a future in it, shadowing a PA will most definitely make it clear to you if its right for you. If you’re uncertain about it, when the interview comes around they will see the uncertainty in you and this could definitely hurt your chances of getting admission into the PA school you’ve chosen.

Almost everyone who is contemplating on starting a career should shadow someone who is already in it. You’ll find a physician assistant working in many different practices. With the information obtained the from bureau of Labor statistics, there were a recorded 74,800 available jobs for PAs in the United States in the year 2008. This is phenomenal because in that year, that number was greater than the number of actual licensed PAs in the country, and it’s a fact that physician assistants work more than one job at the same time.

The growth rate for the next 10 years for this profession is an amazing 39%. PAs are extremely busy on a daily basis, so finding a PA to shadow just might be one of the most challenging things you do and if its possible you should try and find multiple PAs to shadow work in different health care institutions.
As you are shadowing your physician assistant, its important that you remember to wear shoes that are comfortable. Working PAs stand and walk around whole day as they do task to task like clockwork. Do your best to observe and stay out of their way, and ask them where they’d like to observe from so that you aren’t in their way. Remember to dress appropriately, and remember that you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.

Just wear clothes that don’t set you aside from everyone else because you’re only going to be there to observe. Don’t wear cologne or perfume, and these are banned in most hospitals anyway due to the fact that they could be harmful to patients. Even though asking questions is important, wait until an appropriate time to ask them so that you don’t get in the way of their work. Remember that you aren’t supposed to discuss anything about the patients you saw outside of the practice because there are laws that uphold patient confidentiality. Here are three of the perfect resources to find a physician assistant for you to shadow….

1. Your Own Doctor – When you were in your Doctor’s office, there was probably a PA there and it was probably a PA who examined you. This is a great resource because of the fact that they will already know you on some level. Remember that even though the PA may agree to let you shadow them, you need to make sure you confirm this with the person who runs the office or practice.

2. The Local Hospital – PAs work in hospitals as well and finding you can definitely find one who may let you follow them around for a day. In hospitals, a PA can work in just about every department where a physician is likely to be found. When you go to the hospital, go to the human resources department and confirm that they will let you shadow a working PA. The human resources department should be able to give a lot of information and they may even be able to give you some names of PAs that would be willing to let you shadow them. If they have no names available for you, then you should ask for a staff directory so that you can find a physician assistant and contact them directly to ask.

3. Get in contact with your local PA chapter or organization – There is going to be a local PA association that is going to be extremely valuable for you. They will not only be able to get you in touch with a physician assistant, but they will also be able to give information about different practices and available jobs when you are done with PA school.

It may not be easy to find a PA to shadow, so don’t get discouraged if you are told “no” by a PA. The fact is there job is very fast paced and demanding at times, and they may not want a student following them around. There is bound to be someone who will say “yes.” When you are done shadowing your PA, make sure you thank them in a note because it will definitely be appreciated if you and it makes them remember you later down the road.