How to Become a Physician Assistant in Montana
In Montana, similar to other part of the country, the healthcare system is going through dramatic changes and experiencing a state of growth. Over the next decade, physician assistant positions are expected to grow at a rate that’s 20 percent faster than the national average. If you currently live in Montana and are looking for a rewarding career in healthcare, a variety of affordable physician assistant schools in Montana offer unique programs that fit any size budget or schedule.
Physician Assistant Job Duties
Physician assistants perform a variety of tasks directly related to diagnosing and treating patients with a healthcare setting. They often work in medical clinics and hospitals, and assist physicians and doctors on a daily basis.
Their specific job duties will vary depending on location, skill level, training and experience. State laws restrict them to only performing specific diagnosis and treatment functions. Some of the most common duties are as follows:
- Record medical history
- Diagnose and treat injuries and illnesses
- Write prescriptions for certain medications
- Assist with some types of surgeries
- Counsel patients on preventative care
What Type of Salary Can a Physician Assistant Expect in Montana?
The cost of living in Montana is significantly lower than other areas of the country, and physician assistant salaries directly reflect this.
The entry level physician assistant salary in Montana is $55,000 per year. Those who complete specialty training in orthopedics can expect to make $75,000 per year. If you have at least 5 years of experience and are qualified to hold a supervisory position, expect a salary of between $110,000 and $130,000 on an annual basis.
What Type of Education is Needed to Become a Physician Assistant?
In order to become a physician assistant, an individual must complete a four year degree program in a relevant subject. There are a variety of physician assistant programs in Montana that meet the qualifications.
In many cases, graduates go on to complete a Master’s degree before getting a job. This will increase a candidate’s chance of being selected for employment and will likely raise the potential salary they could take home.
Physician Assistant Certification in Montana
All physician assistants must obtain certification and a license to practice in the state of Montana. There are a number of basic requirements that must be met before the state of Montana will consider you for a license:
- You must be of good moral character.
- You must have graduated from an accredited program for physician assistants.
- All candidates must pass the examination given by the National Commission on Certification of a Physician Assistants.
- All assistants must hold a current certificate issued by the NCCPA.
Once the state of Montana issues a license, the physician assistant must practice medicine under strict supervision for at least one year prior to lifting relevant restrictions. A supervision agreement must be submitted to the Montana Board of Medical Examiners before a physician assistant may begin their probationary period of practice.
Is Continuing Education Required?
Similar to other healthcare-related positions, continuing education is essential to the success of every physician assistant.
Montana requires that physician assistants renew their licenses every few years. In many cases, new developments in treatment, diagnosis, reporting and ethics must be studied before a license can be renewed.
The NCCPA also requires that assistants update their certificates before the state of Montana issues a renewed license. Many educational requirements can be met by attending classes at your local university or community college. Your employer might also be willing to cover the expenses of continuing education.