Physician assistants working in Virginia face improving the prospects of a local population whose death rates from cancer to heart disease are significantly higher than the national average. Besides encouraging healthy lifestyles and exercises as preventive measures among their patients, PAs in Virginia also regularly assist doctors in surgery, make hospital rounds, perform physical examinations, coordinate technical assistants, order lab and other diagnostics tests, and counsel patients and their families on medical treatments and options.
PAs in Virginia expect to see a higher than normal job growth rate through the year 2018, which is partly due to the declining number of doctors in the state. Many physicians are retiring or will not be working in rural or low income areas, leaving 14% of Virginia’s population without access to quality medical care. This leaves an opportunity for PAs, who can practice and treat patients where no Physicians can or will go.
How to Become a Physician Assistant in Virginia
Physician assistants need to have a strong high school education as a foundation for their profession. GED and high school students who are planning to become physician assistants should take classes in human anatomy, general biology, English, chemistry, communications, algebra, psychology, statistics, health and sociology, and start exploring college programs before they graduate.
Students interested in becoming physician assistants in Virginia should major in nursing, or pre-medicine, genetics, sociology, psychology, organic chemistry, biology, and volunteer in hospital, institutional, or clinical setting. It’s perfectly acceptable for students to major in other subjects, but life and social science students will complete their classes earlier, as these majors satisfy the pre-requisite requirements of many graduate programs.
Physicians Assistants Licensure in Virginia
When applicants apply for Virginia licensure, they must provide the State with an application fee, a completed application, documentation of successful completion of an AMA accredited education program, a brief description of the purpose and approach of their future practice, verification of NCCPA test scores, and the contact details of their supervising physician. What’s more, you will also be required to prove that you are of a good moral character and you must provide the board with information proving that you have not had any other PA certification or license repealed in another State before being allowed to work as a physician assistant in Virginia.
If applicants meet all the requirements for licensure, have already applied for licensure and are waiting to receive their NCCPA test scores, they can be allowed to apply for temporary or provisional licensure and be allowed to apply for PAs jobs in Virginia. Temporary licenses are only valid for thirty (30) days after applicants receive their test scores. You are only allowed to apply for temporary licensure once.
Salary and Career Info
The interactive chart above is a visual representation of the annual salary of 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 Schools in Virginia
The physician assistants program at Jefferson College is a master’s degree program with 15-months of classwork followed by 12-months of clinical training. Potential applicants must submit transcripts, personal statements, and references from employers and teachers. Physician assistant program applicants must have at least 500-hours of volunteer or paid health care experience before beginning their studies. The physician assistant curriculum consists of core units in clinical skills and anatomy, which are supplemented with clinical rotations in areas, such as psychiatry, women’s health and pediatrics. Clinical rotations are conducted at clinics and hospitals throughout South-West Virginia.
The PA program offered at Eastern Virginia Medical Schools is a master’s degree in physician assistant (MPA) program. Potential applicants need to have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 for admission. Health care experience is not a requirement, but competitive applicants usually have at least two years of health care experience. The seven semester program consists of units in clinical skills, pharmacology, and medical ethics. During the last three-semesters, students have the chance to put their clinical knowledge to test in rotations in internal medicine, emergency medicine, family and pediatric medicine.
James Madison University PA program admits a maximum number of 25 students every year. Potential applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. In addition, accepted students must have a minimum of 1,000-hours of volunteer or paid health care experience. Physician assistant students spend 16-months completing classes such as clinical medicine, physical diagnosis and anatomy. Classwork prepares students for the hospital or clinical part of the program, which consists of 12-months of rotations in specialties, including general surgery, pediatrics, and family medicine.
List of All 4 Accredited PA Programs
The accrediting agency is ARC-PA and they have 4 fully accredited AL programs listed as of November 2014.
1. Eastern Virginia Medical School
Initial Accreditation Date: October 1, 1998
Next ARC-PA Review: March 2016
2. James Madison University
Initial Accreditation Date: April 1, 1999
Next ARC-PA Review: September 2016
3. Jefferson College of Health Sciences
Initial Accreditation Date: April 1, 1997
Next ARC-PA Review: March 2020
4. Shenandoah University
Initial Accreditation Date: August 1, 2001
Next ARC-PA Review: March 2015