Guide A Guide from Graduation from Physician Assistant (PA) School until Getting Your First Job

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Maintaining a calm demeanor will help you get through the emotional rigors of a physician assistant career. You should also be detail oriented and work well with little to no instruction. However, you must also work well in groups, as you will need to collaborate with doctors, nurses, patients, patients' families, surgeons, and medical professionals of all types. Add in a strong dose of problem solving and you have the makings for a world-class physician assistant.

Technically, a prospective physician assistant can have a four-year undergraduate degree in any field, but you will be better served if you choose something that closely relates to medicine or science. Ensure your bachelor's degree is regionally accredited in order to make your application to graduate school as seamless as possible. Common undergraduate degrees for physician assistants include:. View a list of accredited programs here. Most physician assistant programs will take two to three years to complete.

Throughout your classes, you will get both medical science and clinical experience, with courses covering diagnosis techniques, emergency medicine, pharmacology, and pathology, and well as many other topics.

What Does a Physician Assistant Do?

Around the second year of studies, you will begin to focus on even more detailed topics, such as general surgery, gynecology, and behavioral medicine. Once you complete the physician assistant education, you should be well prepared to pass the licensing exam and become a full-fledged physician assistant. One of the best options for becoming a physician assistant is to seek your education online.

There are many top-notch online programs that can prepare you for this rewarding career, and most are built to fit the busy schedule of a working professional or single parent. Admission requirements will vary depending on the specific program. However, you can expect the programs at least the high-quality, ARC-PA accredited programs, which is what you should be seeking to require at least a 2. Other admission requirements will include some or all of the following:.

There are many fantastic online programs that deliver a high-quality physician assistant education, but these are our three favorites. During this program, students will take courses that include Integrative Care, Geriatric Medicine, and Clinical Methods. To complete the program, you will have to finish 55 credit hours of courses and complete a clinical year, which consists of 38 credit hours.

The program is designed to be completed in 30 months—18 months of coursework and 12 months of clinical work. GRE scores are required for admission. It is a private, not-for-profit institution that offers a wide variety of online degrees, including an Advanced Master of Science Physicians' Assistant program. To enter, applicants are required to have three letters of recommendations, which can be provided by employers, faculty members, or health care practitioners. The online PA program at A. Still University is also hybrid, meaning that there is an in-person clinical component of the program where students will complete clinical rotations in various disciplines under the supervision of instructors and hospital staff.

This program does not require the GRE for admission but does recommend a minimum of community service hours. Why did we include it here? Drexel University has been a leader in medical education for over years and the online programs are taught by the exact same faculty as the on-campus programs ensuring the highest education quality. This program is well suited for practicing PAs that want to launch their careers to the highest potential. Best of all, this program can be completed entirely online, giving you convenient access to all the classes while allowing you to take the program at your schedule.

No matter where you live in the United States, you will be required to complete specific licensing to become a physician assistant. All states and the District of Columbia will have their own licensing system, so the specifics may vary, but you will be required to complete this step regardless of location. Therefore, after graduation, you will need to complete the licensing requirements to become legally eligible to work as a physician assistant. The examination will involve many different topics related to the profession.

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The test takes five hours to complete and includes multiple-choice questions that are given in five blocks of 60 questions. You will also have an allotment of 45 minutes total for breaks during your testing. You will have six years after completing schooling to pass the exam. During these six years, you may take the test up to six times if needed. If you take the test six times and fail, or if the six years after graduation is completed, you will be ineligible to take the test again. If this happens, you will have to complete an unabridged program all over again to become eligible.

In other words, study hard, focus during your studies, and learn as much as possible so you pass the test quickly. In addition to the examination for licensing, state law will require a physician assistant to hold an agreement with a supervising physician. This agreement will include required collaboration between the assistant and the physician, although the doctor does not need to be working on site with the assistant at all times.

Throughout your career, you will need to continually educate yourself on the latest techniques and information about the physician assistant profession. I am really interested in family practice or a surgical subspecialty. This is disheartening and I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps my expectations are too high. Granted, I have just begun the search and have plenty of time. Please share as much as you feel comfortable, or PM me if you do not want this public.

A few questions:. Yes, you may have to broaden your search from away from a surgical subspecialty in the city of your choice. Boatswain2PA - You're right. I shouldn't compare myself to others.

Best Major for PA school

I was just curious if it's a common experience finding a position that has patience for a new grad. Two of my friends just received very desirable offers from places that were exclusively seeking new PAs. I'm wondering if this is common. Also, I feel I miscommunicated my specialty preferences. I'm not looking for a specific surgical subspecialty. I'm seeking family practice or any sort of surgery whatsoever.

I would also like to stay in the same city as my home and family. Soulfari - That's a good point. I had great experiences at my sites, but none of them are hiring right now or know anyone who is. I really thought my rotations would offer this opportunity. I've made some good networks and fantastic feedback, but no open spots. How long did you search before finding positions you were interested in as a new grad? I enjoyed orthopedic surgery very much and inquired on a job opportunity. A couple interviews later I had the job.

Your First PA Job after Graduation | NPAE

Some places ask for experience as you mentioned, but others welcome new grads. This is because it gives the employer the opportunity to train and mold you to their system, possibly giving them a more efficient PA. None, but then again I only applied to one place and started working right away. My experience is probably not the norm. Did you have to broaden your search and apply to positions that weren't necessarily ideal? Don't underestimate your potential as a new grad. Most of my friends found positions they were very happy with.

A couple quit their first jobs within a year, but then secured job opportunities shortly after because they had a good network of contacts. They told me the main reason they quit wasn't because of disliking the specialty they had chosen, but because of not getting along with their attending physician or co-workers. This is something important to consider when you're searching for your first job as a PA.

Another classmate of mine was determined to practice emergency medicine and moved from Florida to Chicago straight out of school for the job. In this case he had to make the sacrifice of moving somewhere new, but in the end was very happy with his decision. I think your first position, at the very least, will be a great learning experience regardless of where you go. If you could have a do-over from graduation, what would you have done differently. My first thought Just chill. You are still 3 months from graduating and then another before you take PANCE, hopefully pass and get started on credentialling.

That's 6 months. If you feel disheartened already I would recommend you grow some thicker skin again, no disrespect here. There will be plenty of jobs that come and go. I started my first job at 3 months after grad And I was one of the few that found one that quick. It was in ortho and turned out to be awful. After 6 months i resigned and took a job same specialty that paid wayyyy more with less hours and more earning potential. Not only that Work is fun and I get along great with my surgeon. Point is that you will find something, and it may not be what you thought it would be.

With a little persistence you will find the right place Whether you get it the first time or have to take another job at 6 months out. I won't guarantee that but if you know how to network and keep your eyes peeled then something will fall. I had an offer and accepted it pretty much right away, as soon as my family and I had moved to "new city" for husband's job.

I started interviewing a few months before and right after graduation. I was coming up on the train "from "old city" to interview with a surgical service at the city hospital before we moved to "new city". I did. I told her I'd need to at least go to the interview I had come up for, and went. I ended up wanting to stay there for the rest of my career, and if my SP hadn't ltragically ost a daughter and moved away, I would have.

Roughly 4 months. And I went to school out of state, the couple job offers I had from rotations I was not interested in because of location. The vast majority. I finally ended up in a position that "considered" new grads, however. I had a few other offers. One great offer in FM but I passed on it, preferring to work inside a hospital.

Another good position but 2 hours from where I wanted to live. And a handful of crappy urgent care and occ med positions. Yes, ended up taking such a position, then transferred within the system after several months to a job I wanted.

Recent Physician Assistant Jobs

However my first job was not bad, just not where I wanted to be. Do not waste time with occ med or urgent care interviews. Otherwise, I am happy with the way things turned out. My first non-ideal job allowed me to transfer to a position I wanted. No need to wait 2 to 3 months unless you really need that time to study. I was better off taking it sooner since the material was still fresh from our final exams and I was moving shortly after. Also, I'm not part of the "just chill" philosophy, though I totally understand where they are coming from.

It can be hard to balance finding a job you're actually interested in with needing a job ASAP to pay the bills. I agree with problem child, though - you may need the money, but avoid looking desperate and you still better negotiate! Why wait 3 months to take the pance? I took it a week after grad. Most my classmates within the month.. Then things might change. My response was the most likely route. Graduate December. Can't take it until January So let's assume OP graduates mid December say dec Take pance, wait a week or 2 to get results depending on the timing of your date. That's 1.

Take weeks and that makes 2 months. Wait for license Because yes, some states will need your score before getting a license Guess what? That can take a month. May take less, but I feel like that was the case for most people in my class who graduated in dec. Okay, okay. I looked at it again and it might be closer to 2 months if everything goes as planned.

Regardless, you can't bank on it being an easy, seamless process. It takes time. I would err on the side of it taking longer than expected. I actually commend the OP for seeing the bigger picture and preparing in advance as it is now becoming very common for employers to look for people with "at least years experience.

I had many challenges finding work. Looking back, I admit I was very desperate when I accepted my first job which was a mistake. That mistake led to other mistakes of simply accepting work out of desperation which led to abusive docs, etc. Now, I see it in a different light - one in which I'm interviewing my employer as much as my employer is interviewing me. Hopefully I have it right this time.

Never said OPs post isn't legit. It definitely is. I was looking for jobs 3 months before grad too. I guess I need to elaborate on what I mean by just chill. Don't stress out Don't feel "disheartened" as the OP mentioned. Not just chill as in "don't do anything" which I feel is how it is being interpreted. OP has lots of time to find a job. There will be employers that turn OP down because of lack of experience. I think it's important to not get down on oneself because of this.

Sam I am, you are definitely correct. I live in a supersaturated area and it took me 7 months to obtain a job offer. What is worse is that I have no guidance at all! I was hired as a hospitalist PA, however I take care of really sick people in the ICU also because the hospital does not have intensivists. My first day of the job, I was told to go to the hospital and start seeing pts in the ICU by myself!

The only training I got was computer training and I shadowed an NP for 5 days. Most of my classmates accepted the first job they could get because they were also having trouble. I would try to network as much as you can. Six months experience is better than nothing even if you don't like the position or feel it won't be a good fit. Once you get experience, it will be much easier. I strongly suspect that the unstated "rest of the story" here for "Will consider new grads" Something for new grads to take into account - just like getting into most PA schools, as a newly minted PA-C, while degree conferred C,B,or M may or may not come into play right off, relevant HC experience likely will.

I think it's reasonable for you to be looking for jobs at this point, and I agree with you that your expectations might be too high. I don't know anything about you beyond this post as I haven't gone to read any of your others, but AliB is correct. Many places "will consider new grads" but what they mean is that they "will consider exceptional new grads.

If you don't know anyone at the potential employer the usual way to prove you're worth training is by having a slamin' resume and the ability to translate that into value as a PA. AliB and greenmood - You two make some good points.


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Previous HCE is important and, unfortunately, mine was very limited. I'm a former low-income high school Spanish teacher with a lot of community involvement. I also have a couple phenomenal letters of recommendation from clinical preceptors. I'm hoping my minimal previous healthcare experience doesn't stop all employers from seeing the big picture of what I have to offer.

I found a job several months before I even graduated in spine, but it ended up being a disaster in terms of my low skill level, the practice demands, and the surgical lifestyle.