How to Become a Physician Assistant in New Jersey
Becoming a physician assistant is no easy career path. It takes several years and rigorous training to complete the necessary coursework. However, it does provide the benefits of a stable income source and optional career advancement. If you want to become a physician assistant in the state of New Jersey, here’s what to expect.
Job Duties Of a Physician Assistant
PAs function in collaboration with other medical care members including a licensed physician. They care for patients by performing diagnostic measures, contributing to treatment plans, and assisting physicians with surgical procedures. PAs also make regular rounds in hospitals to gather vital signs and other pertinent data that are critical for precise and effective treatment.
Depending on the industry you are working in, the tasks may vary. Basically, PAs obtain patient specimens and interpret the results from blood exams. They may also operate medical equipment and machinery if the physician orders a procedure, such as X-ray.
Despite prospective PAs having the option to major in any area, a degree in health science offers the foundation needed when you apply for entry-level work or enrolling in an advanced study. An undergraduate program may require relative courses, such as healthcare ethics, statistics, and medical terminology.
Majority of physician assistant programs in NJ require that applicants have at least 36 months of healthcare experience. Students may need to find ways to get that experience while still enrolled in school. Many prospective PAs achieve this by working as EMTs, paramedics or nurses prior enrollment in an advanced program.
Following the completion of a bachelor’s degree, PAs can then take a 2-year master’s physician assistant program. Before deciding which physician assistant schools in New Jersey to enroll in, make sure the coursework is accredited by the ARCPA, or the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.
Upon graduation from an accepted program, students are now qualified to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam. The test has a 5-hour tie limit and consists of 300 questions all of which are in multiple choice format.
How Much Can You Make?
The yearly salary for physician assistants vary depending on numerous factors including company size, field, location, and years of experience. For example, PAs working in established primary hospitals may take home larger salaries and bonuses compared to PAs employed in small clinics, although workloads for hospital PAs are likely greater than the latter. Reports show the average physician assistant salary in New Jersey is $94,500, with 50 percent of PAs expected to make less than this mark.
The job market for physician assistants is projected to increase by up to 37 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is quicker than other healthcare professions due to the steady growth in the aging population and widespread chronic illness that require more complex care and management.
Additional Skills Required
Since PAs work on many sensitive cases, excellent communication skills are necessary to relay important information to other members of the medical team as well as provide clear explanations to the patient.