Physician Assistant Programs In West Virginia

west-virginiaHow To Become A Physician Assistant In West Virginia

Physician assistants, not just in West Virginia but throughout all the United States of America, must undergo a consistent amount of formal training (both theoretical classroom teaching and practical, clinical experience in a live health care setting) before they can pursue their nationally-recognized certification followed by their state licensure and, if case, by the CAQ or the Certificate of Added Qualifications.

Having said that, the first step one needs to take in order to become a physician assistant in West Virginia is to graduate with good grades from high school, and then to enroll in one of the many accredited physician assistant training programs in the USA. These programs are accredited by the ARC-PA and represented by the PAEA, or the Physician Assistant Education Association, and most of them are graduate programs that lead towards a Master’s Degree. At the end of the training program, one can receive a degree in Medical Science, Health Science or Physician Assistant Studies, in order to be able to pursue a lucrative career as physician assistants in West Virginia.

The average length of the PA training program is of two to three years of full time study, which must be completed during the post-graduate training period. The curriculum of a regular PA training program typically includes courses in pathology, genetics, clinical medicine, physical diagnosis, hematology, pharmacology, immunology, pathophysiology, anatomy, behavioral sciences and such. There are some elective rotations that take place in all the medical specialties, generally towards the end of the physician assistant training program – each rotation tends to last, on average, around five years.

Physician Assistant In West Virginia – Job Description

As you may know already from the name of the profession, physician assistants are skilled and highly trained health care providers who generally work in the public sector (public hospitals or nursing homes, although they can sometimes work for private physician’s offices as well) and who work under the supervision of physician assistants and doctors. These health care providers interpret blood tests and x-rays, they conduct routine physical examinations, they can record the patient progress, monitor their symptoms and signs, take their medical history, diagnose the patient, prescribe and interpret laboratory tests, prescribe medications and therapies when needed and such.

From many points of view, a truly skilled and highly trained physician assistant is a very important and absolutely indispensable professional for the health care team, especially for teams located in the rural areas, mainly because of the fact that it tends to be a physician shortage in the rural areas of West Virginia, and the existing physicians have to face a tremendous amount of workload.

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Physician Assistant In West Virginia – Certification

It is crucial for every physician assistant who has just graduated from an ARC-PA approved physician assistant training program to pursue his certification and his state licensure, as this will allow him or her to switch from the PA-S credential (Physician Assistant Student) to the PA-C credential (Physician Assistant-Certified), which means that they will be one step closer to working in a health care environment in West Virginia. In order to become certified, every freshly graduated physician assistant must sit the PANCE examination and pass it with a good score – after that, the physician assistant must have his or her accredited schools send over the official transcripts to the West Virginia Board of Medicine, along with a negative drug test and a clear criminal background check, in order for you to receive the state licensure.

The physician assistant license is set to expire every two years in West Virginia, while the certification is set to expire every 10 years – at the end of the 10th year you will have to take the PANRE examination in order to renew your certification. Moreover, you also have to log in a minimum of one hundred continuing medical education hours, and you must also re-register your certificate with the NCCPA, the same institution which administers the PANCE examination and which can also provide you with the Certificate of Added Qualifications, if you choose to specialize in one medical specialty.

Salary and Career Info

The interactive chart above is a visual representation of the annual salary of West Virginia PA’s compared to the national annual salaries, all based on the latest May 2013 Occupational Employment Statistics figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Physician Assistant Programs In West Virginia

There are currently three different ARC-PA approved physician assistant training programs in the state of West Virginia – one of them is the Alderson Broaddus University, the other one is the University of Charleston located in Charleston and the third one is the West Liberty University which is located in West Liberty.

List of All 3 Accredited PA Programs

As of November 2014, the accrediting agency is ARC-PA and they have 3 fully accredited AL programs.

1. Alderson-Broaddus University

Initial Accreditation Date: September 4, 2010

Next ARC-PA Review: September 2020

Website: http://ab.edu/academics/master-science-physician-assistant-studies

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2. University of Charleston (Provisional)

Initial Accreditation Date: September 2012

Next ARC-PA Review: March 2015

Website: http://www.ucwv.edu/PA/

3. West Liberty University (Provisional)

Initial Accreditation Date: September 9, 2011

Next ARC-PA Review: March 2015

Website: http://www.westliberty.edu/physician-assistant

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