How to Become a Physician Assistant in Tennessee
Becoming a physician assistant can open up lots of opportunities to work alongside doctors in a variety of health care settings without having to go to medical school. While the training is rigorous and the programs are competitive, this growing field offers lots of opportunities that appeal to many people interested in working in health care. The following information will prove useful to anyone who is interested in becoming a physician assistant in Tennessee.
Physician assistant job requirements
A Physician assistant must complete a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field. A physician assistant program then leads to a master’s degree. Upon completion of the master’s, a physician assistant must also become certified by taking an examination that leads to certification. In addition to having the proper degrees and certification, a physician assistant also must be available to be on-call at all times unless prior arrangements have been made. This includes evenings, nights and weekends. Because the job entails a great deal of direct patient contact, good communication skills are especially helpful in this field.
Education and training
A master’s degree is required in order to work as a physician assistant. A bachelor’s degree in a science-related field is usually a prerequisite for admissions into a two-year physician assistant program. At the end of the program, a master’s degree is awarded. These programs include classroom and lab training along with hundreds of hours of supervised clinical training. The Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination serves as certification that allows a person to work in this field.
Physician assistant schools in Tennessee
There are several schools that offer physician assistant programs in TN. Trevecca Nazarene University, Bethel University, South College, Christian Brothers, Lincoln Memorial University and University of Tennessee all have physician assistant programs. Trevecca Nazarene University, located in Nashville, is a private university. Christian Brothers, another private school, is also in Nashville. Lincoln Memorial University is a private institution located in Knoxville. Bethel University is a 4-year private school located in McKenzie,Tennessee. South College is in Knoxville. It is also a private school. University of Tennessee is a public institution with several locations throughout the state.
Physician assistant certification
All physician assistants must be licensed nationally. Passing the national exam certifies a physician assistant to practice medicine in all states, not just in the state where they plan to initially practice medicine. This is true for all 50 states, including Tennessee. The Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination, also known as PANCE, must be passed in order to gain certification.
How to become a certified physician assistant
Students who are in physician assistant programs will take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination after completing their studies. Those who pass this examination are credentialed as Physician Assistant-Certified, abbreviated as PA-C. Those who do not pass the examination must retake it at a later time in order to get another chance to become certified.
Continuing education requirements for physician assistants
Continuing education is required for a physician assistant. Physician assistants must complete 100 hours of continuing education courses every two years. A recertification exam is required every 10 years in order to keep one’s certification. This is a new requirement that went into effect in 2014 to ensure that all physician assistants have the proper knowledge to do their jobs using up-to-date knowledge.
Physician assistant salary in Tennessee
The average salary for a physician assistant in Tennessee is $61,000 per year. Because this is only the average, many physician assistants make more than this annually and some earn less. The pay scale often depends on the type of institution with which a physician assistant is employed
Job duties of a physician assistant
A physician assistant practices medicine under the direct supervision of a doctor or a surgeon. Their training allows them to perform a variety of duties that include examining patients, diagnosing injuries, diagnosing illnesses, and treating patients. They review patients’ medical histories, order and read the results of diagnostic tests, provide patient counseling and education relating to health conditions, and prescribe medications.
Legal restrictions on duties physician assistants can perform
There are few legal restrictions limiting the actual duties a physician assistant can perform. However, they must be under constant supervision of either a doctor or a surgeon. Practicing medicine without this supervision is expressly forbidden. A doctor must always be immediately available to deal with emergencies.
A career as a physician assistant is a lucrative job opportunity in the state of Tennessee. Most people who work in this field have a higher than average salary, but they must complete two years of education beyond a bachelor’s degree and pass the PANCE exam in order to qualify for certification. With six different schools across the state that offer physician assistant programs, there are several schools to choose from in each part of the state.