Parents rely on pediatric physician assistants (PAs) to provide their children with preventive, therapeutic and diagnostic medical treatment. A physician assistant performs these functions under the direct supervision of a doctor who is fully trained and holds a medical license. In order to get a job as a pediatric physician assistant, a prospective candidate has to undergo a pediatric focused course that carries accreditation. The prospective physician assistant is required to complete the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE).
Educational requirement of a Pediatric Physician Assistant
Most physician assistants embark on their career path by earning a college degree in health-related areas such as emergency medical technology or nursing. Medical workers interested in becoming pediatric physician assistant that enrolls into school courses, it will take about two years to complete the physician assistant programs. Hospitals, military schools, community colleges, medical and allied health schools, and four-year colleges are among the educational institutions that offer PA programs. A successful candidate who completes a PA course can earn an award that can range from a certificate to a master degree. In order to become a pediatric physician assistant, they will need to obtain a certificate from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), apart from having to undergo specialized postgraduate training.
Coursework includes medical courses with topics such as pharmacology, physiology and anatomy. In addition, students are required to learn about cardiology, neurology, pulmonology, oncology, pediatric gastroenterology and neonatal care. Additionally, coursework focuses on pediatric orthopedics, and pediatric and neonatal intensive care apart from supervised hands-on training in emergency, in-patient and in routine care. Pediatric physician assistants receive training in effectiveness of drugs, toxicity and complications that it has on children. In some states, they are allowed to prescribe specific drugs to children; this is subject to strict regulations.
Wage Information for Physician Assistants
In May 2009, all physician assistants earned an average annual salary of $84,420 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). In August 2010, the all-inclusive average annual salary for a typical physician assistant ranged from $71,678 to $94,173 (source: PayScale.com). The income potential increases with experiences; those who have been in the field for less than a year can expect an annual median wage ranging from $63,967 to $77,262. The annual average wage for those with over twenty years of experiences will exceed $100,000; however, it depends on their continued education level as well as experience.
Job Responsibilities of Physician Assistants
In inner-city and rural settings, the pediatric physician assistants may be the only available medical care provider, except during a supervising doctor visits either once or twice a week. Pediatric physician assistants must be self-motivated and able to work closely with their young patients; PAs must have a degree of emotional soundness and the capacity to remain composed in an emergency. Parents of children who need health care may call upon PAs to make house calls; similarly, a hospital may require PAs to check on patients and let the hospital’s primary physician have the report on their discovery. In performing their primary duties, PAs examine, diagnose and treat children in hospital or clinic settings. They help mend minor wounds with the application of casts, splints or sutures. In other duties, they interpret x-rays and lab tests; additionally, they perform various types of clerical work.
Physician Assistant Job Growth Projections
A job growth of thirty-nine percent is expected for physician assistants in the decade from 2008 to 2018 (source: BLS). They are likely to have the best employment opportunities in rural areas and inner cities, which have a shortage of qualified physicians who find more lucrative offers in medical centers located in cities. The optimistic job growth projections are owed to attempts being made across the industry to reduce burgeoning medical expenses. In 2009, physician assistants held approximately 76,900 jobs; however, this statistic does not account for several physician assistants jobs done simultaneously by some individuals. Although experience and knowledge will lead to higher wages and responsibilities, there is a limitation for all physician assistants because the job always requires supervision by a physician.