How to Become a Physician Assistant in Vermont
A physician assistant is a licensed health care provider who can diagnose health problems and treat patients under the supervision of a physician. If you’re Vermont resident and are interested in physician assistant programs in Vermont, upon completion of the program, you’ll be able to work with physicians in a primary care practice.
Physician Assistant Programs for Vermont Residents
Anyone who is interested in becoming a physician assistant should enroll in a graduate program. It’s more of a challenge for a student in Vermont to become a licensed PA because there aren’t currently any physician assistant schools in Vermont that offer the graduate program on campus. However, it’s possible to enroll in an online program.
Coursework For A Physician Assistant Program
Students who are physician assistant majors learn how to treat everything from minor to life-threatening medical problems. A student in Vermont enrolling in a graduate program should have two semesters of chemistry, human physiology, and biology. Prerequisites include one semester of biochemistry, psychology, and microbiology. The prerequisites depend on the program in which you enroll. When students complete the prerequisite studies, the requirement is for 24 to 30 months in a Master of Physician Assistant Studies program. Programs for physician assistants in Vermont offer a curriculum of:
- Clinical Care Pharmacology
- Ethics and Professional Issues
- EKG Training
- Disease Management
- Primary Care Psychiatry
- Gross Anatomy
A student clerkship must be completed at the conclusion of the program and may last up to 48 weeks.
Is Any Prior Education Or Training Required?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that most students who enroll in a physician assistant program already possess a bachelor’s degree in science or health-related fields, and many of them have experience working in a health-related profession. The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) states that most students who enroll in a graduate program should have prior medical experience. Even though prior experience isn’t a requirement, nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists or emergency medical technicians that have earned an associate’s or bachelor’s degree continue their education and enroll in a physician assistant program.
Requirements for Undergraduate Study
Most programs for physician assistants require at least two years of undergraduate study prior to enrolling in a graduate program. However, most schools require four years of study. The emphasis in the undergraduate program is on anatomy, biology, chemistry, and physiology. Core courses related to the healthcare profession are part of the program. A lot of physician assistant students have earned a degree in biology or chemistry.
Are Physician Assistants Required To Be Certified?
The requirements for licensing and certification vary from state to state. However, in order for a student to be certified and have the designation PA-C, they must fill out and submit an application with the designated fee. They must submit to a criminal and financial background check, be photographed and fingerprinted, and pass an exam. The exam may be taken at a testing center in the state in which you reside. The exam lasts between four to six hours and is multiple choice, with 360 questions.
Is Continuing Education Necessary?
In order to maintain a PA-C, the physician assistant must earn 100 hours of credit of continuing education every two years. The PA-C must also take an exam every six years in order to be recertified.
Physician Assistant Salary
The physician assistant salary in Vermont is in the 90th percentile and is somewhat higher than the national average salaries for physician assistants. Most PA salaries in Vermont average around $91,000. However, salaries may be higher depending on the region in which you work and your educational background.
Physician Assistant Job Duties
A licensed physician assistant can perform some of the duties a physician can. The PA can evaluate patients, diagnose medical problems and treat patients under the direct supervision of a physician. As a physician, the PA can prescribe medications and educate their patients. The PA can read and interpret lab results and conduct research. While PA education is primary care focused, a certified PA can practice medicine in a variety of specialty areas including general and sub-specialty surgery.
What Tasks Is A Physician Assistant Legally Allowed To Perform?
The PA can legally examine patients and diagnose medical problems. They may perform diagnostic testing, treat patients and order referrals if necessary, and they may prescribe medications. According to the American Association of Physician Assistants, 25 percent of all PAs have a general specialty in surgery or a subspecialty in surgery. A PA can legally practice at any hospital or surgical facility where the supervising surgeon has admitting and practice privileges.