Schools For Aspiring Physician Assistants

There are currently as of 2011, 159 different accredited physician assistant schools, accredited meaning they are accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) which is a title that a PA program should have if students intend on taking the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE). These 159 schools are spread all over the US and allow graduating students to attain the PA-C title that will allow one to work as a physician assistant. If you are interested in finding an accredited program in your state, you can find it by clicking the following link, which is a link to all the accredited schools in the entire USA: physician assistant schools. According to the US News, the top 5 PA programs in the USA are:

1. Duke University Physician Assistant Program

2. University of Iowa Physician Assistant Program

3. Univerity of Utah Physician Assistant Program

4. Emory University Physician Assistant Program

5. George Washington University Physician Assistant Program

What Is Taught In PA  Schools

The curriculum that is taught in physician assistant schools is all geared towards preparing students to be able to pass the PANCE exam as well as prepare them for what life will be like on the job. This preparation is administered through both classroom teaching as well as experiences in a clinical setting. PA programs usually last anywhere between 24 to 36 months which at the conclusion a Masters Degree in Physician Assistant Studies or a degree similar is given out to graduates. As far as curriculum goes in colleges with physician assistant programs, here is an overview of the topics that are taught in class:

Didactic Training (In Class)

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Surgery
  • Assessment of Patients
  • Diagnostic Methods
  • Pharmacology
  • Therapeutics
  • Endocrinology
  • Lab, Emergency and Behavioral Medicine
  • Ethics of the Medical Field
  • Pediatrics
  • Neurology
  • Pulmonology
  • Oncology
  •  ENT
  • Research Methods & Clinical
  • Infections Diseases

Clinical Training (Hands On)

As far as the clinical training that is offered in physician assistant colleges, students will be experiencing rotations in multiple different areas of a healthcare setting, some of which may include:
  • Family and Emergency Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Orthopedics
  • Psychiatry
  • Surgery
  • Primary Care
  • Obstetrics/Gynaecology
The clinical training is set up so that physician assistant students get a feel as well as experience in all the different specialties that are involved in the PA profession.

Physician Assistant Job Description

Like it was said above, these physician assistant schools teach students curriculum that will give them the knowledge to become a successful PA. The knowledge learned will allow them to be able to succeed in all the physician assistant duties, which includes:

  • Diagnosing illnesses as well as prescribing treatment methods for patients that can include medicine as well as alternative therapy.
  • Taking patients medical histories and giving different patient examinations.
  • Assisting physicians during surgeries.
  • Ordering different tests for patients as well as explaining the results and any abnormalities.
  • Treatment of injuries which can include suturing and casting.
  • Monitoring patients progress of lack thereof.
  • Counseling patients on therapies prescribed as well as giving patients resource referrals to help them with their recovery.
This is a general look into the job description of a PA as well as what you will learn in physician assistant schools, but it should be known that the exact duties of a physician assistant are dictated by the physician as well as by laws of the state in which you live in. If you are interested in learning exactly what you will be able to practice on the job, the best thing to do would be to search from the regulations and laws that your state has.