Becoming a Physician Assistant in Texas
Physician Assistants (PAs) are a leading member of the medical team, working closely with Doctors and Nurses at clinics, Offices and in Hospital settings. In 2013, the National Commission on Certified Physicians Assistants, NCCPA, listed Texas in the top 5 States with the most practicing Physician Assistants, with over 6,000 Registered professionals.
What are the requirements to become a Physician Assistant in Texas?
While the requirements to become a PA vary from state to state. In Texas, the Medical Board has listed the qualifications as:
- Completion of an Accredited Educational Program for Physicians Assistants or Surgeons Assistants.
- Successful passage of the Physician Assistants National Certifying Exam (PANCE) within 6 attempts.
- Any Healthcare License held not subject to any disciplinary action what so ever.
- Good Professional and Moral Character.
- Passage of the Jurisprudence (JP) exam.
- Ability to perform both mentally and physically as a PA.
- Documented Medical practice of at least 20 hours per week for 40 weeks in one of the two years preceding application.
Education and Training
There are several Physician Assistant Programs in Texas that are ranked among the top 20 in the country, including:
- Baylor College of Medicine in Houston (Ranked #6 National)
- University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center – Dallas (Ranked #8 Nationally)
- Interservice Physician Assistant Program (Ranked #13 Nationally)
- University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio (Ranked #18 Nationally)
To be accepted into a PA program, prior Certification or License in a healthcare field is required, though education is trending towards Master Degrees. By the year 2020, all PA programs must offer at least a Master Degree’s level program to be accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA.)
Students the Nation over travel to Physician Assistant Schools in Texas, which have proven relatively affordable at approximately $6,000 – $8,500 (not including monthly living expenses) and convenient with most programs offering completion within 2 years.
Certification and Continuing Education
PAs are required by the Texas Medical Board to obtain Certification by passing the Physician Assistants National Certifying Exam (PANCE), which any of the above programs prepare students for.
To maintain Certification, the Texas Medical Board requires PAs to earn 40 hours of Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits per year, divided into type 1 and type 2. Up to 80 hours can be earned in a single year and rolled over to the following 2 years. CMEs can be earned via online courses, hospital sponsored conferences, national conferences and other recognized means. Re-certification must be sought every 6 years in order to ensure up-to-date education, methods and medical practices.
Physician Assistant Salary in Texas
Becoming a PA can prove a lucrative prospect for many medical professionals, offering an annual salary between $70,000 to $100,000 and sometimes more, depending on City and Specialty.
Physician Assistant Responsibilities, Duties and Legal Capabilities
As an integral part of the healthcare team, PAs work directly under the umbrella and supervision of a Medical Doctor.
Duties that PAs may legally perform may include, but are not limited to:
- Perform physical exams
- Diagnose and treat illnesses
- Order and Interpret medical tests
- Perform various procedures
- Assist in Surgery
- Advise and Counsel Patients
- Prescribe Medication under a DEA number where Legally allowed by the State