What Can I Do With a Pre-Physician Assistant Concentration?
When most people think of someone working in the medical field, they picture a doctor or a nurse, but there are many options for those interested in health science.
No matter what your ideal area is in medicine, you will find a wealth of options at Grace College. Over the past 30 years, about 87% of Grace pre-health students got into medical school. In some concentrations, the number is as high as 95%. Our health science major has ten concentrations, including pre-physician assistant.
Dr. Rick Roberts, the pre-health professions coordinator, has seen many Grace College students pursue further education in pre physician assistant programs – including his son, Nathan Roberts, who graduated from Grace in 2016 and who got his Master in Physician Assistant Studies from Butler University, a nationally recognized university.
“I see being a physician assistant as a tremendous opportunity to serve in the healthcare field,” Dr. Rick Roberts says. “Grace’s pre-PA concentration focuses on preparing students to not only meet the admissions requirements for pre physician assistant programs, but to provide the foundational knowledge and skills needed to be successful in a PA program.”
Read more to find out if this career path is right for you.
What Is a Pre-Physician Assistant?
As a pre-physician assistant student, you are studying to be a physician assistant (PA). A PA works with doctors in diagnosing and treating patients. They can work with a variety of ages and specialities and help with many tasks such as patient exams, prescribing medication, developing treatment plans, and assisting in surgery.
There are many reasons you might pursue a job as a physician assistant, but for Nathan Roberts, he felt called to serve others. “I chose to be a PA because I was passionate about helping those in need around me,” Nathan Roberts says.
Specialties of a Physician Assistant
There are many specialities that a pre-physician assistant student can choose from, and it is easy to switch between specialties even after you enter the workforce. Once you start a new job, your supervisor can even provide direct training in the new speciality, eliminating the need to go back to school.
Possible specialties include:
“Just about any field of medicine that you can think of has PAs within that specialty,” says Nathan Roberts, who specializes in emergency medicine. “I love the excitement and unpredictability that emergency medicine brings, but it’s also very rewarding in being able to see the difference you are making in peoples lives on their worst days.”
Perks of the Job
All jobs come with their perks, and being a physician assistant is no exception. Here are just some of the benefits of being a PA:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of PAs is projected to grow 28% from 2021 to 2031.
In May of 2021, the median salary for PAs was $121,530.
Graduate training in pre physician assistant programs is about two and a half years, compared to four years plus residency for being a doctor.
The ease of changing specialities means you don’t have to go back to pre physician assistant programs to change jobs. The schedule for a physician assistant is also flexible. Some jobs are 9-5 on Monday through Friday, others are 12 hour days with one week on and one week off, and others rotate between day shift to night shift. You can choose a job that best fits your schedule.
Another cause for flexibility is freedom for a PA to work directly with patients. In Indiana, a PA works under a physician, but there isn’t constant supervision, leaving room for a PA to work freely with patients in prescribing medication and developing treatment plans. But working under a physician can also be a great help if you ever have any questions.
“While PAs are more than capable of caring independently for the majority of health concerns, it is nice knowing that I am not on my own and that there is someone that is always there to help me when I need it,” Nathan Roberts says.
As a PA, you will have the opportunity to work with patients and help them as they face medical diagnoses. You will often be the first person they come into contact with, which opens up opportunities for you to support them.
“One of the most impactful parts of being a PA for me is being able to be there and help people on their worst days,” Nathan Roberts says. “I can go from seeing a patient with a splinter in one room to the next instant seeing a dying patient in the next. Having been around these scenarios, I know that God has called me to be one of those working to do everything we can for a patient in their time of need.”
Pre-physician assistant is just one concentration you can have with a health science degree. Learn more about the health science major at Grace College.