- What Does a Physician Assistant Do? A physician assistant (or PA) is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional. PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers. They practice and prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and the uniformed services.
- Consider Becoming a Physician Assistant . The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that the average yearly salary for a physician assistant is about $90,930. The need for PAs is expected to rise 38%, much faster than the average for all occupations. Increased demand for healthcare services from the growing and aging population and widespread chronic disease, combined with a shortage of physicians, will result in increased demand for healthcare providers, such as PAs.
- Alternative: Become a Nurse Practitioner. Nurse practitioners (NPs) are some of the most highly educated individuals in the nursing profession! NPs perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat chronic health issues and injuries, administer immunizations, prescribe medications and different forms of therapy, and educate patients and families about further treatment and overall healthy lifestyle choices. Nurse practitioners can work in hospitals, physicians offices, and in their own private practices (which almost 15% of all NPs have). An extensive list of PA programs and requirements can be found on the PAEA Program Directory. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that a NP earns an average of $95,350per year.
You’ll have a B.A. or B.S. from Middlebury – How to become a PA:
- Now that you have an undergraduate degree from Middlebury College, you must apply to an accredited graduate program, where you will receive a Master’s Degree.
- Before being able to legally practice, a Physician Assistant must pass the National Board Certification Exam. After passing the exam, PAs must apply individually through the state for other certifications.
- Research PA programs before you apply—The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) has a helpful online directory.
- Complete requirements (such as chemistry, physiology, microbiology, and biology). Determine ahead of time whether there are classes not offered at Middlebury that are required for a specific program (e.g. Anatomy).
- Gain hands-on experience as a Medical Assistant, EMT, Paramedic, Certified Nursing Assistant, Surgical Tech, or Emergency Room Technician.
- Take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) if the programs you are applying to require it.
- Personal Statement: The personal statement is a critical component of your application to physician assistant school. The personal statement can either significantly help or harm your chances for success, so it is important to take it seriously. This is your chance to let the Admissions Committee understand who you are. Once you have a draft of your personal statement, bring it CCI to be reviewed by one of the Peer Career Advisers or schedule an appointment with Mary or Hannah.
- American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)
- Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)
- Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)
- National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)