How to Become a Physician Assistant in Kentucky
Regardless of where you live, doctors have the ability to make a significant amount of money. Becoming a doctor, however, takes nearly a decade of schooling and often hundreds of thousands of dollars. Individuals who still wish to enter into engaging and lucrative careers in the medical field should consider a career as a physician assistant.
What Do Physician Assistants Do?
A physician assistant’s job duties will vary greatly depending on their work location, background, training and position within an organization.
In short, a physician assistant can prescribe and practice medicine in a limited capacity. They often assist doctors with their daily tasks and consult with patients before and after a doctor examines them.
Physician assistants normally perform the following functions within a healthcare setting:
- They can write prescriptions for patients.
- Conduct medical exams in a limited capacity.
- Physician assistants often make rounds with a doctor or in lieu of one if he or she isn’t available.
- They can diagnose and treat patients.
- Many assistants also have the ability to order tests and determine the results.
What Type of Education is Needed to Become a Physician Assistant in Kentucky?
In most cases, prospective physician assistants must complete at least a bachelors degree to become employable. To obtain a license, you must have graduated from one of the many accredited physician assistant programs in Kentucky before you can continue with examination process.
Often times, employers look for candidates who have completed a masters degree in a relevant area of study.
Are Physician Assistants Required to Be Certified?
The state of Kentucky requires all physician assistants to gain and maintain proper licensing.
A candidate for licensing must have graduated from an approved educational program, be of good moral character, have maintained a clean criminal background and have passed the board examination within three attempts.
Assistants who currently have a license in another state may be endorsed to practice in Kentucky. They must show proof of at least two years of continuing education with a minimum of 100 hours per year. These continuing education programs must be approved by the American Medical Association or by a similar governing body.
Once all fees have been paid, the background check has been completed and the exam has been passed, the state of Kentucky will issue a license to the individual. The license must be renewed every two years with proof of continuing education and moral correctness.
What Type of Continuing Education is Required?
There are many physician assistant schools in Kentucky that can help current assistants fulfill the continuing education requirement.
The program must be approved by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Physician Assistants or a similar organization. While the curriculum will vary each time you take a continuing education course, the state of Kentucky requires that you brush up on your current skill set, and that new and improved medical techniques be introduced before you complete the course.
Because ethics and medical practice standards are both hot issues, some of the continuing education will focus on questionable decision making and how to avoid major problems with patients.
How Much Does a Physician Assistant Make in Kentucky?
The physician assistant salary in Kentucky varies greatly by geographic area, expertise, employer and other factors.
The average entry level salary for a physician assistant in Kentucky is $56,000 per year. Individuals with more than five years of experience can expect to earn at least $70,000 on an annual basis.
While hospitals often provide the highest salaries for physician assistants, smaller family practices offer a less hostile work environment and a consistent work schedule. If you plan on working for a small medical practice, expect your salary to increase to $86,000 per year after at least five years of service.
Top physician assistants who work in a supervisory capacity can earn in excess of $126,000 per year with a large hospital.
Is being a Physician Assistant Right for You?
The road to becoming a licensed physician assistant is long and difficult. You must have a drive to succeed and be able to work well with others and take direction from doctors.
Once you’ve completed your high school diploma or are looking to make a career change, consult with other people you know who put in the time needed to finish a physician assistant degree. The financial rewards are great, you’ll be able to help people in need without spending the years it takes to become a doctor, and you’ll enjoy job security for years to come.
If you think you have the dedication to finish school and obtain your license, becoming a physician assistant in Kentucky might be the right career path for you.