dental-assistantHave you always been interested in health and medicine? If you want to work with and treat patients, but don’t want to go through the schooling to become a doctor, a physician assistant major could be a good choice. If you’re a curious and compassionate problem-solver, being a physician assistant will allow you to be on the frontline of patient care.

A physician assistant major often leads to a bachelor’s degree. You would train to practice medicine as part of a team supervised by doctors. Although physician assistants are supervised by doctors, many spend more of their time working on their own and are able to prescribe medications depending on the state. Additionally, expect courses in anatomy, clinical medicine, pharmacology, physiology, history taking and diagnosis, pathophysiology and behavioral sciences. You’ll spend at least one year studying medicine in an intensive classroom environment and spend another year completing clinical training. Classes in high school that are helpful to take include health science, biology, statistics, chemistry and psychology.

Questions to ask
Make sure the program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physical Assistant. You may have to complete college-level study before applying to the program, so ask about the process. Do you have to have work experience for acceptance into the program? Where will you be able to complete your off-campus clinical training?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a physician assistant made an average of $90,930 after completing their master’s degree in 2012.

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