Is becoming a physician assistant right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

Overview
What do physician assistants do?
Career Satisfaction
Are physician assistants happy with their careers?
Personality
What are physician assistants like?

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How to become a Physician Assistant

There is often the misconception that a physician assistant and a medical assistant are one and the same. This is not the case, as there are significant educational differences between the two professions.

Medical assistants will typically earn a certificate or an associates degree from a vocational school or college that takes approximately one to two years to complete.

A physician assistant, on the other hand, needs to earn a bachelor's degree, is required to pass the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), then has to apply to a physician assistant program. The physician assistant program will lead to getting a master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS), Health Science (MHS), or Medical Science (MMSc). This can take five to seven years of post-secondary education to complete.

Certification is required for licensure, and all physician assistants must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam. In order to stay certified, they must complete 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years, and every six years, pass a recertification exam.