The orthopedic physician assistant is one who specializes in orthopedic surgery and works directly under the limited supervision of a physician and is currently one of the most popular specialties that current students are going into. The orthopedic physician assistant salary is also one of the top 3 out of all the PA specialties with incomes as high as anywhere in between $100,000 to $150,000 per year. If you are looking to get into the physician assistant profession as an orthopedic PA, there are a few requirements that you must meet in order to do so, which are discussed below.
How to Become an Orthopedic Physician Assistant
In order to find a job as an orthopedic PA, you must follow certain requirements, which are:
- Completing a physician assistant program that is certified by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant 9ARC-PA), which there is a total of 159 accredited programs spread across the US. The acceptance requirements for each program vary but often have similar requirements like a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, certain prerequisite courses, Graduation Record Exam (GRE) scores, a background and drug test, letters of reference as well as having a certain amount of hours of direct patient care experience.
- Pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).
- Apply for licensure through your state to start practicing.
- One can also choose to complete an orthopedic physician assistant residency which can better their chances in landing an orthopedic job, as it can often be tough to find a job that is willing to train the applicant in orthopedic surgery. These programs usually last a total of 12 months.
Orthopedic Physician Assistant Job Description
During times of surgery, an orthopedic physician assistant will be present for the entire time, assisting any of the physicians needs. Some of the surgeries that they help with are: knee replacements, repairing fractures, surgery on shoulders, treatment on spines, hand surgeries and arthroscopic surgeries on hands and knees along with shoulders. Other job duties that an orthopedic physician assistants do are:
- Wound treatment which can include suturing, casting, slinging along with the removal of staples and casts.
- Administering regional anesthetics, as well as wound repair that can include; closing wounds or tendon repair, and joint injections.
- Monitoring the progress of patients.
- Creating different treatment plans that cater to a patient’s health condition, as well as offering resources that will help them recover.
- Prescribing medicine to patients, if your state allows this.
- Take part in different research studies.
- Take tissue and blood samples.
- Ordering different tests for patients like; x rays, CT scans, MRI’s, electrocardiograms and more.
- Taking patients medical history as well as from a diagnosis from information that the patient provides.
Job Outlook For The Orthopedic Physician Assistant
The physician assistant job outlook in general looks excellent according to the information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in which they state that over the 10 year period between years 2008 and 2018 there will be an increase in PA employment at a rate of 39 percent.