Entering the medical industry as a physician assistant can be a very rewarding career choice. Physician assistants share many of the same responsibilities as MDs, though they work under the supervision of a physician or surgeon. Before you can become a physician assistant, you’ll need a solid education and must make many of the same decisions as students considering entrance into medical school to earn their MDs. The best place to begin your career path is with one of the many certified physician’s assistant schools.

What should you know about these schools and what they offer?

Price for physician’s assistant schools matters

All education comes at a price; there’s simply no way around it. However, you will find that not all physician’s assistant schools have the same tuition costs. The old saying “shop around” is a good mantra to live by here. You need to ensure that you compare several different physician’s assistant schools within your state in order to make an informed decision regarding your education. In addition to comparing the total cost of tuition, you need to consider the tuition payment schedule and any additional fees that might be required by the school.

Any physician’s assistant schools you consider must be accredited. A school that lacks accreditation will not provide you with the education you need to pass your state exam and get your license. In addition, you need to make sure that the school is accredited by a recognized organization in the industry. A school that is accredited by an organization that is not recognized by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and Council for Higher Education Accreditation should be avoided, as chances are they are just as bad as an unaccredited school.

Does the PA school offer accelerated learning?

Some students do not have time to spend two full years training to become a physician assistant. If this is the case for you, you need to consider physician’s assistant schools that offer accelerated learning. However, you should be aware that accelerated courses only work if you have extra time to commit to study, so be prepared for this. If you currently work a full-time job or have other obligations that limit your free time, an accelerated course might not be the best choice for your needs. Still, for those who can involve themselves in intense study, accelerated programs do offer benefits.

Making the right choice from the many physician’s assistant schools available is important, but by following the tips listed above, you can feel confident in your decision.

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References and resources

All Allied Health Schools offers information about physician’s assistant schools

Weil Cornell Medical College provides a Master of Science in Health Sciences (MSHS) for physician’s assistants

Keck School of Medicine of USC has a primary care PA program

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