Physician Assistants work in collaboration with physicians to provide therapeutic and diagnostic patient care in every field of medicine.
In 1967 at Duke University, the first Physician assistants started their training, the program started with the aim of allowing Vietnam veterans who had served as medics, to transition into civilian life by certifying them and allowing them to use their relevant training and skill to serve the general population.
By becoming a Physician assistant, you will be able to render help to several people using your medical knowledge. Also, you stand to gain a lot, as professionals in this field are paid handsomely for their services.
This article will expose you to some of the best pa schools in Colorado. Their admission requirement, official website, application link, and deadline are also available for aspiring applicants.
Why Become a Physician Assistant
If you are searching for an answer to why you should pursue a career as a Physician Assistant, I will give you nine.
- You are never going to have a problem finding a job as the Bureau for Labor Statistics predicts this job market to increase by 38% before the end of 2022.
- With the mandatory 100 hours of Continuing Medical Education (CME) you have to do every 2 years as a physician assistant, you are able to stay up to date on the latest research, guideline, and practices.
- This profession fosters and encourages inter-professional collaboration. So you get to work with a team of professionals from another medical discipline.
- For those who are patient-centered, this profession allows you to give direct quality care to patients of underserved populations.
- For those who are passionate about serving humanity, this is a great way to give to society. By providing compassionate and competent medical services to people.
- The average number of months of study for a PA master’s degree is 27 months right after you earn your bachelor’s degree. This means that in no time, you are already diagnosing and treating patients.
When compared to a Physician’s degree would require an extra 4 years of medical school and a minimum of 3 years of residency, you realize the length of course study for pa is great. However, if you are considering a Physician’s degree, view it here.
- According to the report by AAPA, the average salary for professionals in this field is $105,000. While several factors affect the exact amount you earn as a pa, like your specialty, employer, location, etc., you can be certain of being able to afford a standard and comfortable lifestyle.
- This is a Job that gives you enough time to enjoy the things you love. The time required at work is not so much as to deprive you of quality time with your family and friends.
- Physician assistants are able to specialize in any and multiple medical fields. This means that you are able to explore and serve in these various fields, delivering quality medical service to patients in need.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Physician Assistant
Physician Assistants perform the following functions:
- They perform physical examinations on patients
- They order diagnostic studies
- They order laboratory studies
- They take patient histories and organize treatment plans for patients.
- They prescribe medications for patients
General Admission Requirements
Prior to acceptance, applicants are expected to have fulfilled the following requirements.
- 2-4 years of completed undergraduate coursework. A minimum of C grade is permitted.
- A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. However, if you do not have one, you need a high school diploma to begin the process of getting one.
- 1000 hours of direct patient care experience is required.
- Official transcripts
- 3 letters of recommendation from a professor, healthcare professional and supervisor.
General Curriculum for PA Degree
At the master’s degree level, the curriculum combines direct lectures and work experience such as mock patient exams which trains you on how to perform your physician assistant duties.
Areas that will be covered include; medical ethics, physiology, anatomy, physical diagnosis, and pharmacology. Clinical experiences in areas like internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatric care are also taught. You will also be exposed to carrying routine tests necessary for diagnosing patients.
Where Do Physician Assistants Work?
Physician assistants are able to work in various areas. Some of these areas include:
- State, local, and private educational services that enable them to teach other people about essential medical topics e.g. infection control.
- Outpatient care centers where are able to offer medical services like suturing of wounds.
- State, local and private hospitals where care for patients in need and work together with Physicians.
- Offices of physicians where they carry out therapeutic and diagnostic patient care.
Important PA Organizations and Associations
Some important associations every PA or aspiring PA should take know about include:
- Association of Physician Assistants in Oncology
An advantage of joining this association is you have access to attend live meetings and network with other professionals. Also, you get updates on job postings which will help your career.
- National Commission On Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)
This body is responsible for certifying you as a physician assistant. They also provide specialty certificates that will help you advance in your career.
- Association of Physician Assistants in Cardiology
Physician assistants who specialize in cardiology can join this association so as to stay abreast of the latest medical research and guidelines concerning heart treatment.
- Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA)
The aim of members of this association is to improve the quality of education received by Physician assistants. The Pi Alpha Honor Society is run by this association to award students who display academic excellence.
- American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants (AASPA)
For physician assistants who specialize in surgery, this is the perfect association to affiliate yourself with. You will receive important information pertaining to training and certification.
- American Academy of Physician Assistants
This provides members with a portfolio where they can upload and store certificates acquired, and a list of experiences and training acquired.
The List of Best PA Schools In Colorado
Out of the 87 colleges and universities present in Colorado, 18 of them are nonprofit, 40 are for-profit and the remaining 29 are public institutions.
However, only 4 of these offer the PA program and they are listed below.
Colorado Mesa University
This university offers a 27 months intensive program to earn a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree.
Upon completion, graduates are eligible to sit for their national certification examination via the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistant (NCCPA).
After a successful examination, they are able to apply for their license to practice using the Board of Medical Examiners in whatever state they choose to practice.
This institution’s curriculum is student-centered and educates them on how to be empathetic and competent physician assistants in the areas in which they serve. This full-time course begins every January and consists of 112 credits.
View more on their official website.
Admission Requirements: Applicants need to have a Bachelor’s degree or higher when applying, a 3.0 CGPA minimum in undergraduate studies and must have completed all prerequisite courses.
A minimum of 500 hours of direct patient care experience is required, hours of community service are recommended and also CASPer test result is required.
Submission of personal essay or statement of purpose, 3 letters of recommendation (from a health care professional, supervisor and Professor).
Application is done via CASPA online and all application closes 1st of September.
Tuition: $76,000 for in-state program and $123,000 for out-of-state program.
8.2 Red Rocks Community College
This is a state-sponsored program that lasts for 27 months. It is a rigorous and thorough program that has been accredited since 1988 when it first began.
One peculiar detail about this school is that it is the only community college in America to confer its own master’s degree.
The degree earned upon completion is the Masters in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree. If you desire a school that will train you to become a competent and patient-centered PA then this is the one for you.
The average age of each class admitted into this school is between 28-30 years, and all applicants possess a baccalaureate degree before being admitted.
Graduates from this school go on to become successful professionals in various fields such as; physical therapy, medical assisting, radiographic technology, nursing, respiratory therapy, etc.
You can view more info on the official website.
Admission Requirements: Admission into this school is very competitive. All applications are done via CASPA.
Applicants are required to pass a criminal background check, all prerequisite courses must have been passed with a minimum grade of C, and a minimum CGPA of 3.0 is required.
Submission of transcripts and letters of recommendation is also compulsory.
The deadline for application submission is on the 1st of September.
Tuition: $68,556 is the total fee for in-state students and $81.588 for out-of-state students.
University of Colorado
This university offers a 3-year program that uses an innovative curriculum and is aimed at raising physician assistants that have deep knowledge and understanding of the theory and practical aspects of clinical and basic sciences.
Within the last 50 years, this school has been able to produce over 1200 physician assistant graduates who are now part of the workforce. Another added advantage is this 3-year program happens to be cheaper than some 2 years programs.
The curriculum is rich and covers areas concerning patient care, pediatric medicine, and behavioral health. For those who are interested in finding out more, visit their official website.
Admission Requirements: A verified CASPA application, 3 letters of recommendation, and a supplemental application to the school. All prerequisite courses must have been passed with a minimum grade of C, a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, and a minimum CGPA of 3.0.
This is one of the PA Schools in Colorado where health care experience is not required and the deadline for application is 1st September. Admission email: [email protected]
Tuition: $64,242 for resident students and $139,086 for non-residents.
Rocky Vista University
If your desire is to be in a school that will aid you to become collaborative, clinically competent, and empathetic, then this is the school for you.
Their curriculum is competence-based and it gives the students the structure to be innovative, conscious of patient safety and administer the best patient care. To access more information, click here.
Admission Requirements: Less than 40 students are given admission annually. Applicants must be a citizen or residents of the united states, they must possess a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, GRE scores are required and a minimum CGPA of 2.8 is required.
1000 hours of paid and documented health care experience is compulsory. Hours of shadowing are recommended but not compulsory, and 3 letters of recommendation are compulsory also.
The application deadline is on the 1st of September.
Tuition: $62,080 for full-time students Can I pursue a pa program online?
Answer: Yes, there are various accredited online pa programs that you can start and they take about two years to complete.
What is the average cost for a pa program?
The average cost for a resident student in a 27-month pa program is $50,289 and for a non-resident student, it is $88,6777.
Why should I attend an accredited pa school?
Pa program accreditation matters and it signifies that the program meets standards in terms of curriculum, infrastructure, and learning facilities. It also means that they are licensed.
What starting salary can I expect as a pa?
An annual pay of $60,690 to $120,060 for a start according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What are your thoughts about the PA Schools in Colorado? Please let us know in the comment section.