Physician Assistant Masters Degree Programs
Students interested in a career in medicine may choose to pursue a physician assistant master's degree. Master's degree programs in the field prepare students for a wide range of employment options in medicine, including positions in hospitals, doctor's offices and community health clinics.
Physician Assistant Master's Degree
A physician assistant master's degree is an advanced degree program that provides working professionals or bachelor's degree holders access to a graduate course of study in the field of medicine. Most programs lead to the Master of Science (M.S.) in Physician Assistant Studies and require approximately 36 hours of coursework, but some may lead to the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree. Graduates of these physician assistant programs are able to provide direct clinical assistance to patients in doctor's offices, clinics and hospitals.
Nearly all master's degree programs require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution before applying. Regardless of the field in which a student earned their degree, most institutions require certain prerequisite courses to enter the program, such as several hours of chemistry, biology and medical terminology.
The curriculum of most physician assistant master's degrees involves a combination of medical coursework and hands-on, clinical experience. Below are some of the topics that may be included in the curriculum of such a degree program.
- Physical diagnosis
- Ethical concerns in medicine
- Patient assessment
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (www.bls.gov), the employment of physician assistants is expected to grow by 30% between 2010 and 2020. The BLS also states that, as of May 2012, the median annual wage for physician assistants was $90,930.
Continuing Education Info
All 50 states require physician assistants to be certified before practicing. Certification involves passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination, which is administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Students must have graduated from an accredited physician assistant program before being eligible to take the certifying exam. Physician assistants may choose to further specialize in fields like pediatrics or occupational medicine.
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