As a type of physician assistant, a dermatologist PA works under the supervision of a certified and licensed dermatologist in a medical office setting. As an assistant, he or she may examine patients with skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and acne. He or she may also assist with biopsies and perform skin cancer screenings. Since patients also consult dermatologists for cosmetic procedures in addition to skin conditions, dermatologists PAs might also work with licensed dermatologists to perform tattoo removal, chemical peels and dermabrasion procedures.
Like other physicians assistants, dermatologists PAs must spend a good amount of their time standing, and the job can be physically demanding. The career also takes much more education and training than that of a medical PA. Nevertheless, working in the medical industry can be rewarding, and dermatologists PAs in general face strong job prospects over the coming ten years, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How to Become a Dermatology Physician Assistant
In order to start practicing as a dermatology PA, you must follow the steps below:
Enroll in a PA program that is approved by the Accreditation Review Commission of Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). These programs offer bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees, but in order to increase your chances of getting employed, it’s highly recommended that you complete a physician assistant program offering master’s degree. These programs will have different acceptance requirements that range from a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, prerequisite courses, official Graduation Record Examination (GRE) scores, immunizations, clinical experience, and drug test, among others.
Pass the physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) which comprises of 600 questions.
Apply for certification and licensure through the state that you live in.
Being that it may be difficult to find a dermatologists PA employment out of a PA program, completing a dermatologist residency can improve your odds in securing a dermatology PA job a lot faster.
Dermatology PAs Job Description
After you complete the above requirements, you will be a Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C) which will enable you to work anywhere in your state. As far as the dermatology PA duties are concerned, the following responsibilities are the main overview of the daily job schedule:
- Place order for various medical equipment and supplies
- Order different tests for diagnostic purposes, such as lab tests, X rays, CT scans, electrocardiograms among others
- Forming different plans for treating patients which comprises of diagnosing diseases and deciding which care plans are best suited
- Carry out patient examinations to collect information about what condition the patient is in physically
- Assisting dermatologists during times of surgery
- Supervising and coordinating duties of procedural assistants
- Advice patients on matters like; what to expect as far as normal growth and development, maintaining their health, emotional challenges that come with everyday life and therapy routines
- Providing patients with injections as well as certain shots and immunizations, along with wound care is also a main dermatology PA job duty
- Collecting different information on a patient like; results of tests, past medical history and noting signs of progress
- Prescribe medication to patients under the supervision of a licensed dermatologist. This also include prescribing therapy and referrals
- Checking in on patients during rounds and reporting any changes in health statuses to the dermatologists
The certification for dermatology physician assistant is provided by the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCC-PA), and it shows that the physician assistant in question has a high level of education, skill and training. In addition to continuing education which is important to this career in order to maintain your license, dermatology PAs must understand that there are a lot of additional resources and training programs from texts to dermatology CME conferences they can attend and dermatology journals.
PAs a have been a fixture in modern medicine for almost 40 years. Originally created as a solution to a shortage of primary medical care providers, the physician assistants’ career has made incredible strides in physician acceptance and public recognition since inception. Physicians acknowledge their medicinal system of education that is similar in structure to their own medical school training, and further acknowledge that physician assistants are dependent specialists that are only certified to practice medicine under their supervision.
Over the last ten years, physician assistants have spread out to almost every field of medicine, including dermatology. Given the current growing demand for dermatologist services, physician assistants are once more branching and enhancing access to those services.