Physician Assistant Programs In The District Of Columbia

Last Updated on October 21, 2021 by admin

washington-dcHow To Become A Physician Assistant In The District of Columbia

If you have decided to work as a physician assistant in the District of Columbia, then you should expect to study at least two to three years in an academic environment (plus the clinical training that will help you get the practical experience) before you will actually be able to work under the supervision of a licensed physician. The career path you need to take is very simple: you will have to graduate from high school with good grades, to do your research and find all the ARC-PA approved physician assistant training program, to meet all the admission requirements and then to graduate from the PA training program. Upon graduation, you will receive either an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree in PA studies, and most of those who do usually choose to pursue a Master’s degree in the field as well, as this significantly increases their chances of getting a job in the field.

If you are still in school but you are absolutely sure that you want to pursue a medical career, then it is highly recommended to get additional training in biology, chemistry, physics as well as math, before you can apply for a program. Also, you must have a very competitive GPA and you should also have some amount of practical experience working in a clinical setting. Most PA training schools do require their applicants to complete several notable pre-requisites that will benefit them throughout the course of the training, such as pre-requisites in health, medical assistance, anatomy, nursing or biology.

Physician Assistant Job Description

A physician assistant is entitled to performing a variety of different medical tasks – considerably more than a nurse, yet fewer than a licensed physician. That being said, some of the most common tasks a PA must complete include taking the medical history of patients, conducting thorough physical examinations, assisting the surgeon during surgery, ordering and interpreting tests, diagnosing and treating illnesses, writing prescriptions for medications, counseling the patient and his or her family on preventive care, making rounds in nursing homes and hospitals and so forth.

Nowadays, physician assistants can be found in many different settings, ranging from correctional institutions, industrial settings, retail clinics and school-based facilities to nursing homes, urban and rural community health centers, hospitals as well as private physician’s offices.

Licensing And Certification

The certification and licensure processes are of utmost importance – the first thing every PA should do right after graduating from the ARC-PA approved physician assistant training school is to apply for certification with NCCPA, or the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants, which is the organization responsible for administering the PANCE examination, which is an acronym that stands for the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam. If you manage to successfully pass the PANCE examination, then the NCCPA will award you with the PA-C designation, or Physician Assistant-Certified. As soon as you receive your certification, you can proceed to applying for the state licensure with the District of Columbia’s State Board of Medicine.

Both the certification and the license are set to expire – the license will expire every even-number year (once every two years, in other words) while the certification is set to expire every six years. The DC Board of Medicine is the institution designed to oversee the medical activity of physician assistants in the District of Columbia, and it is also the one responsible with issuing and renewing the licenses whenever needed, provided that all the applicants meet the eligibility requirements.

Salary and Career Info

The interactive chart above is a visual representation of the annual salary of District of Columbia PA’s compared to the national annual salaries, all based on the latest May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Physician Assistant Programs In The District of Columbia

As mentioned above, the first and often most difficult step every student needs to take in order to pursue a blossoming career in the medical industry as a physician assistant is to find a trustworthy and ARC-Pa approved physician assistant training school. At the time being, there are only two accredited physician assistant training schools in the District of Columbia – one of them is offered by the Department of Physician Assistant Studies within the George Washington University in Washington, while the other one is offered by the Howard University which is also found in Washington, and it is provided by the College of Nursing, Pharmacy and Allied Health Science within the university. Both universities require non-native English speakers to take the TOEFL examination and to pass it with high scores.

List of All 2 Accredited PA Programs

As of November 2014, the accrediting agency is ARC-PA and they have 2 fully accredited AL programs.

1. George Washington University

Initial Accreditation Date: November 1, 1972

Next ARC-PA Review: September 2020


2. Howard University

Initial Accreditation Date: November 1, 1973

Next ARC-PA Review: March 2021