Online Physician Assistant Programs

Should You Become A Physician Assistant?

Friendly Physician AssistantIf you have decided to pursue a medical career yet you are not sure whether or not you should enroll in a PA training program and become a specialized physician assistant, then it is important to weigh all the pros and cons of this career before you proceed to meeting the eligibility requirements for a PA training program. First and foremost, it is important to say that physician assistants finish their graduate school four times faster than medical students and residents, which means that instead of spending more than a decade in school, then can get a degree of higher learning and start their postgraduate specialization program for the CAQ (Certificate of Added Qualifications) within no more than four years.

In addition to this, it must be said that nowadays, physician assistants enjoy a great degree of career flexibility – they can work across a plethora of different clinical settings and they have almost the same duties and responsibilities as a regular, licensed physician or medical doctor. Although these health care providers can only practice their profession under the supervision of a licensed physician, they can perform physical examination, diagnose and treat patients, prescribe treatments and medications and so forth. Physician assistants have a lot more independence than nurses, for instance, although they are always working in a collaborative relationship with a physician.

Last, but not least, just like a licensed physician a certified physician assistant can also choose to specialize in one of the many different fields of medicine, ranging all the way from paediatrics and geriatrics to psychiatry and internal medicine. These health care professionals take home a hefty salary that is very rewarding from a financial standpoint, given the fact that the median yearly salary for a primary care PA is around $80,000 a year, while those from other specializations can make as much as $130,000 or even more in certain states. That being said, if you are genuinely passionate about caring for people and you are preoccupied with the general health and health-being of your patients, then becoming a physician assistant is undoubtedly the best choice both from a financial and from a professional point of view.

How Do Online Physician Assistants Programs Work?

The number of PA students who have decided to enroll in online-based physician assistant training programs has sky-rocketed over the past year, and that is totally understandable given the fact that Internet-based PA training programs allow students to overcome the physical and geographic barrier most of them face. Besides this, an online physician assistant training program also offers the student considerably more flexibility, as opposed to a live-based program where the presence in the classroom is often compulsory, which is great for students who work full-time or even part-time, as it allows them to efficiently manage their schedule.

The mechanism of action of these distance learning PA training program is simple and straightforward: students can easily download their courses in an electronic format, they can attend online classes and webinars and they virtually go through the same amount of medical training as the students who have enrolled in a live-based PA training program, the sole difference is that online students are not physically present in the classroom. The degree curriculum is virtually the same and so is the admission criteria to an online PA training program: if you aim for a master’s degree for instance, then you will have to own a Bachelor’s with undergraduate coursework in chemistry, anatomy and biology, with a minimum GPA of at least 2.7 or even 3.0 on a scale of 4.0, depending a lot on the online program you have opted for.

Online PA program students can access assignments, lectures as well as online course material through the course management system that is set individually by each online school. Some of the most advanced distance learning programs also put e-mail, phone conferencing and discussion boards at the disposal of students, and also allows them to easily interact with professors and classmates in real-time. Nonetheless, online PA program students will still have to get the clinical experience by completing rotations or residencies, in live and approved medical settings.

Common Courses Taught In Online Physician Assistant Programs

In spite of the fact that the exact curriculum within the online PA training programs vary greatly depending on the degree you aim for, the basic courses are always the same: medical ethics, public health, medical research as well as clinical medicine. There are some courses in research design and methodology as well, where students will need to show their skills in terms of reviewing the medical literature and their technical writing skills. Moreover, some courses related to policies, medical systems and health care issues are also introduced in the curriculum, and so are leadership courses for the truly aspiring physician assistants who want to climb the success ladder and make the best of their careers.

How Do You Choose The Best Online Physician Assistant Program For You?

One might be tempted to think that given the wide variety of online physician assistant training programs available, choosing the most suitable one for them is a simple process, but the truth is that thee are several aspect every future physician assistant student should consider. Having said that, the overall cost of the program is only one of these things – given the fact that these PA programs are held in the online environment, they tend to cost considerably less than live-based physician assistant training programs. In addition to this, it is also important to opt only for well-established physician assistant training programs, preferably those that have been in the industry for a decade or even more.

The length of the online PA training program should not be neglected either – these programs last between 24 and 36 months in length, although one might also opt for an accelerated program as well. It is also very important for physician assistant students to pay attention to the PA school pre-requisites, as well as the style of the school’s curriculum.

Last, but certainly not least, an aspect of crucial importance that must be taken into account when deciding between online-based physician assistant training program is the first-time PANCE pass rates. Different schools have different PANCE pass-rates: some of them take pride in a 100% pass rate, while others have a considerably lower pass rate. Generally speaking, the higher the pass rate, the more reputable and professional the school.

Types Of Online Physician Assistant Programs

There are several different types of graduate-level accredited PA training programs that you can find in the online environment. Some of these are associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree-level training programs, which are enough for those who want to pursue an entry-level career in the medical industry.

Nonetheless, most of the online PA training programs are at a master’s level, and they do require applicants to already have a bachelor’s degree in the field and they require the exact same level of competency from their students as the live-based training programs. It is very important to say that just like the live-based physician assistant programs, the competition at a baccalaureate degree-level program is still extremely competitive, and applicants are highly advised to have sound backgrounds in fields like math, physics, biology as well as chemistry.

List of PA Programs By State