How to Become a Physician Assistant in Delaware
Does the idea of assisting a physician in treating and diagnosing patients sound like an interesting career? If so, you may want to consider becoming a physician assistant. Learn about state requirements and how to find physician assistant programs in Delaware.
Physician Assistant Requirements
Physician assistants must meet education and certification requirements to work in Delaware. However, they must also meet other requirements. Many of the requirements must be met prior to being admitted into physician assistant programs in Delaware. Other requirements may need to be met prior to starting the clinical education portion of the training. Applicants must meet the following requirements.
• Social Security Number
• Must complete a Delaware Child Protection Registry Form
• Must submit to a criminal background check
• Must be 18 years of age
• Must submit a National Practitioner and Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank Form
Is Any Prior Education or Training Required?
Before you can work as a physician assistant in Delaware, you must complete a physician assistant formal training program. In most cases, these must be programs that result in at least a bachelor’s degree, although many PAs have master’s degrees. The programs may take from four to six years or more depending on the individual’s career goals. The training program must also be approved by the American Medical Association or accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA).
Students in the PA program will take a variety of medical courses such as health care systems, human gross anatomy, diagnostics and clinical procedures, behavioral health, emergency medicine, family health, evidence based practice and pharmacology, among others. Additionally, the student must complete clinical rotations in various areas of medicine, which may include pediatrics, surgery, orthopedics, emergency medicine, radiology, cardiology or trauma surgery to name just a few. Students are also required to complete internships to obtain hands-on training under licensed physicians. Although there are more than 145 accredited PA schools nationwide, there are currently no physician assistant schools in Delaware.
Are Physician Assistants Required to be Certified?
Physician assistants who wish to work in Delaware must first be licensed. To obtain a license, the candidate must show proof that he or she completed an AMA-approved physician assistant programs and must be nationally certified. National certification is obtained by passing the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination. Once this is completed, the individual can apply for a PA license. The license must be renewed every two years.
Is Continuing Education Necessary?
To maintain certification and licensure, physician assistants must complete continuing education requirements. They must earn a minimum of 100 CE credits every renewal period to keep their PA license. They must also earn 100 CE credits every two years to maintain certification. There is also a recertification exam that must be taken every ten years to continue to be nationally certified as a physician assistant. The continuing education must be AMA-approved courses.
Physician Assistant Salary in Delaware
The physician assistant salary Delaware offers is, for the most part, higher than the national average. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that physician assistants across the nation earned an average annual wage of $92,970 as of May 2013 while PAs in Delaware averaged around $100,870 annually. Annual wages may vary from city to city, however. According to Salary.com, physician assistants in Delaware City and Middletown earned an annual average wage of $102,397 as of February 2015 while those in Seaford and Milford earned $98,393 and $99,470, respectively.
Physician Assistant Job Duties
Physician assistants have many of the same duties as a licensed physician, but they cannot perform these duties on their own. They must be under the supervision of a licensed physician. Physician assistants can see patients, perform physical examinations, assess their medical records and provide diagnosis for illness or injury. They can also interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe medication and provide treatment. Physician assistants can also discuss treatment and provide medical counseling to patients and their families.
What Tasks is a Physician Assistant Legally Allowed to Perform?
Although physician assistants perform almost the same tasks as licensed physicians, there are restrictions regarding prescribing controlled substances for patients. If the physician assistant wants the right to prescribe medication, he or she must apply for Physician Assistant for Prescriptive Authority. In addition to the prescriptive authority, the physician assistant must get a Controlled Substance Registration from the state medical board. Physician assistants may not have their own office, bill patients or perform services if a licensed physician is not close enough to be consulted on the treatment. According to Delaware law, a licensed physician may not have more than four physician assistants working under him or her.