How to Become a Physician Assistant in New Hampshire
Outlook for Physician Assistant Jobs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected job outlook the demand for physician assistants will increase by 38% between 2012 and 2022, a very positive projection. With the aging of the Bay Boomer generation, the development of life-extending procedures and medicines and the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the demand for healthcare professionals is growing rapidly. Qualified physician assistants will provide a critical buffer to absorbing some of the imminent pressure by reducing the workload on physicians, surgeons and nurses. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assistants.htm
The median income for a physician assistant, also reported by the BLS, was $90,910 per year, far above the national mean for all jobs in the United States at $34,750. Physician assistant salary in New Hampshire is $99,725 is about 10% higher than the national average. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assistants.htm#tab-5
Typical Functions of a Physician Assistant
Physician assistants operate in hospitals, clinics, surgical facilities and just about anywhere that medical services are provided. Some of the functions included in the role of the certified physician assistants are conducting physical exams, making tentative diagnoses, prescribing therapy with the physician approval, administering diagnostic tests, obtaining patients’ historic medical data, instructing patients on recommended therapies, conducting hospital rounds and updating records, providing surgical assistance, suturing, and administering immunizations and injections.
To become a physician assistant in New Hampshire requires a master’s degree from an accredited university. Currently there are two physician assistant schools in New Hampshire.
Applicants should already have a bachelor’s degree and many have been in the healthcare profession as registered nurses, EMTs or paramedics. Usually completion of the post graduate program requires two to three years of classroom study and on-site experience.
A license to be a physician assistants is required in all states. Successful completion of an examination by the NCCPA (National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants) is required.
Further, to maintain certification, the individual must complete 100 hours of related classwork every two years. And, a recent modification, recertification is required every ten years.
Universities in New Hampshire for Physician Assistant Candidates
There are two accredited institutions offering Master of Physician Assistant programs in New Hampshire. These are Franklin Pierce University in West Lebanon and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science (MCPHS) in Manchester.
Franklin Pierce University Master of Physician Assistant Studies
At Franklin Pierce University, the successful full-time student will complete the entire program in twenty-seven months. The faculty and staff are made up of medical doctors and experienced physician assistants who provide academic guidance as well as insight into real-life experiences.
Admission into the MPAS program requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a successful completion of around 30 hours of biology, chemistry, microbiology, physiology and mathematics. The candidate should have a minimum of a 2.8 overall GPA with at least a 3.0 GPA in the sciences.
In addition, three solid letters of recommendation are required along with a general resume. The University requests “shadowing” verification of at least 20 hours with a certified PA to better understand the role of the Physician Assistant.
Positive additional elements could be an undergraduate 3.5 GPA or better, foreign language skills, CPR and EMT Training, research publications the candidate may have submitted, military training and consistent work experience. An interview will also be part of the personal assessment process. http://www.franklinpierce.edu/academics/gradstudies/programs_of_study/mpa_admission_reqs.htm
Curriculum for the 27-month program requires completion of 126 credit hours. Courses are taken during nine three-month terms. The areas of focus for the program are Clinical Medicine, Pharmacology, Clinical Reasoning, Epidemiology and Public Health, and Clinical Skills. The academic efforts are capped by a Senior Seminar.
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science in Manchester (MCPHS)
At the Manchester, New Hampshire, Campus of MCPHS, students can achieve their Post-Baccalaureate Master of Physician Assistant Studies through a rigorous 24-month program.
Admission to the MPAS program requires a bachelor degree from an accredited university that includes the successful completion of at least 30 hours of biology, anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, psychology and statistics. The minimum GPA for the applicant should be 2.75 for all courses. It is also recommended that the candidate also have achieved a 3.2 GPA on his science courses, professional healthcare experience and shadowing of a licensed PA.
Two letters of recommendation are needed as well as official AP or CLEP scores.
Curriculum at MCPHS is similar to that of Franklin Pierce University The total number of credit hours to be completed in six trimesters are 101.
Much emphasis is placed on Healthcare, Patient Assessment, Pharmacology, Physiology, Clinical Medicine, and Professional Development. The final trimester requires a completion of a Capstone Project for Physician Assistants.
The faculty consists of MDs and Licensed Physician Assistants who have considerable real-life experience. The Manchester staff works in conjunction with the main Boston campus.
Candidates who have achieved their Master of Physician Assistant (MPAS) must pass the NCCPA Certification exam. As of 2014, licensing is good for ten years, as long as the individual keeps current on the other requirements as described above.