How to Become a Physician Assistant in Utah
If you are someone who is searching for their dream career, it is likely that you are looking for two primary aspects in an ideal job. The first thing that many people are curious about when researching careers is how much money that career will provide. The second is how much it will help society. The ideal career for many is one that combines a good salary with an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of others every single day. Becoming a physician’s assistant is one way to fulfill both of these desires. However, the road to becoming a physician’s assistant is not easy. The following is a guide for how to become a physician assistant in Utah.
Physician Assistant Schools in Utah
Any potential candidate to become a physician assistant must first obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. The major of the candidate will preferably be one that is in the sciences. However, for those who have a degree in a different discipline, you can still take the required classes to enter into the program at a local university or community college. Having previous experience in the healthcare industry will also be helpful.
Once you have earned a bachelor’s degree, the next step toward becoming a physician assistant is to enroll in a physician assistant program that is approved by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. These programs usually take approximately 26 months to complete. During the first year of studies, students spend a majority of their time in a classroom setting studying medical science and clinical preparation. Following a successful first year, candidates will then move on to clinical rotations in places like general surgery, gynecology and behavioral medicine.
Physician assistant programs in Utah are fairly easy to find. Here is a list of a few schools that offer the program:
- Utah State University
- University of Utah
- Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions
All physician assistant candidates are required to become formally licensed and certified by the state in which they would like to practice. Once students have completed their program at their respective university, they then must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination. This test evaluates whether or not the candidate holds the fundamental medical and surgery knowledge necessary to become a physician assistant.
Continuing Education Requirements
As with many other professions, physician assistants must keep up with the required amount of continuing education credits. Physician assistants are required to obtain 100 continuing education credits every two years. In addition to this requirement, physician assistants must also pass the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam every six years.
Physician Assistant Salary in Utah
While becoming and remaining a physician assistant requires a lot of hard work and determination, the pay often makes it worth it for those who make it this far. The average salary for a physician assistant in Utah is around $79,000. However, many people who have been working in the field for some time earn over $100,000 a year. There is also good news for those who are wondering whether there will be opportunities available in the future. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the market for physician assistants is expected to increase by as much as %30 in the 2010-2020 period.
Physician Assistant Job Duties
Becoming a physician assistant is a big step in anyone’s life, and it is important to first understand exactly what a physician assistant is expected to do on a daily basis. A physician assistant will work closely with a licensed medical doctor to take care of duties that range from taking medical histories and information to setting minor fractures. In some states a physician assistant may even be licensed to prescribe medicine. Physician assistants are often used in underserved areas, and they treat all the patients they can before referring the rest of the patients to a doctor.
Many physician assistants decide to specialize in a specific area of medicine. For example, a physician assistant could specialize in an area such as pediatrics. Specializing allows the physician assistant to become more marketable and be viewed as an expert in a specific field.
If you are interested in a career in the sciences and are interested in working in a career that directly shapes the future of people on a daily basis, then becoming a physician assistant may be for you. It requires a little less training than becoming a doctor, but the benefits are very similar. You will enjoy a much higher than average salary and will likely enjoy a high standard of living.