Information about Physician Assistant Colleges
A physician assistant, also known as a PA, practices medicine and treats patients under the supervision of a doctor. This position allows a person to treat patients and assist in surgeries without having to gain the medical degree required to become an independent practitioner. PAs are found in all healthcare settings and fill an important role in patient care.
What Physician Assistant Colleges can Offer
Becoming a physician assistant requires a Master•s degree and medical training. During your college years, you can expect to study in the following course areas:
• Medical science: An examination of current medical techniques and research and how they are applied to patient care
• Behavioral sciences: What you can expect from patients in different situations and how to deal with them respectfully
• Pathophysiology: A study of how diseases and other illnesses affect living organisms
• Physical diagnosis: How to diagnose a patient based on a physical exam and warning signs to look for that might indicate the need for further testing
• Pharmacology: The interaction of different medical drugs and how they affect patients suffering from different ailments
• Life support techniques: The essential techniques needed to keep a patient alive during an emergency situation
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Top Physician Assistant Colleges
The top schools in which aspiring PAs should study are generally universities with very good medical colleges and partnerships with local hospitals in which prospective PAs can get experience. The top schools in this field are as follows:
• Duke University in Durham, North Carolina
• University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa
• University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah
• Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia
• George Washington University in Washington, DC
• Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas
• Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland, Oregon
• University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Piscataway, New Jersey
• University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas
• University of Washington in Seattle, Washington
Most employers prefer a physician assistant who has hands-on experience and has personally interacted with instructors. However, online programs can be used to gain accreditation and are often used by existing professionals to meet continuing education requirements. Some online universities that offer education of this position are as follows:
• Grand Canyon University if Phoenix, Arizona
• Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut
High School Preparation and Admittance Procedures
In high school, you should prepare to become a physician assistant the same way you would prepare to become a doctor or any member of the medical field. This means putting a lot of effort into science, but also studying computers so you can work efficiently in different hospital systems. You should also study communications so you can effectively speak with patients and family members. Some of the courses you should study include:
• Anatomy and Physiology
• Computer Science
• Public Speaking
High grades are a must, with a GPA of 3.5 or better likely to land you in a good college. You also should take time to learn about the medical profession, which may mean volunteering at local hospitals and nursing homes.
Becoming a physician assistant requires a lot of effort but is a very rewarding medical position that will see many more opportunities in the coming years. By preparing yourself early, you can place yourself in good position for opportunities in the future.