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Physician Assistant Programs & Courses in Florida

Get to know what qualifications you will need to become a physician assistant. Read about what you will learn in a physician assistant program. Learn about some of the programs and courses for physician assistants that are offered in Florida.

Enrolling in a program to become a physician assistant will expose you to a combination of theoretical and clinical courses. Read on to see what qualifications you will need to enter this career, which is expected to be in high demand in the US in years to come.

What Qualifications Do I Need to Become a Physician Assistant?

Becoming a physician assistant will require at least two years of postgraduate study that usually leads to a master's degree. Programs are accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. As of April 2019, there were 11 programs in Florida with full or provisional accreditation.

Each program has its own admission requirements. Most require between two and four years of prior undergraduate study with a science focus. Another requirement is some practical experience working with patients. Many applicants for physician assistant programs have been working as nurses or paramedics, or they have been volunteering at hospitals or clinics.

Please note that there is a difference between physician assistants and medical assistants. The latter perform routine administrative and clinical tasks and do not practice medicine.

What Will I Learn in a Physician Assistant Program?

These programs have classroom modules as well as laboratory and clinical modules.

Classroom and laboratory subjects include medical ethics, pathology, diagnosis, pharmacology, anatomy, physiology and clinical medicine.

Clinical training, under the supervision of qualified physicians, includes pediatrics, internal medicine, emergency medicine and family medicine.

Which Schools in Florida Offer Physician Assistant Programs?

Not all schools offer a program that leads to a master's degree, but the following all do:

  • AdventHealth University, in Orlando, offers a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies that takes 27 months to complete.
  • The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University, in Miami, offers a Master in Physician Assistant Studies.
  • Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, has a Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant program, and also offers an option to combine it with a Master of Public Health degree.
  • Keiser University, also in Fort Lauderdale, offers a Master of Science in Physician Assistant program.
  • The 27-month program at South University - Tampa culminates in a Master of Science in Physician Assistant.

What Are the Licensure Requirements for Physician Assistants in Florida?

All states, including Florida, require physician assistants to be licensed. You will have to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, after which you can present yourself as 'Physician Assistant-Certified.'

Physician assistants also have to have an agreement with a supervising physician and undergo 100 hours of continuing education every two years to keep up to date with developments in their field.

What Will My Job Prospects Be as a Physician Assistant?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of physician assistant jobs is projected to grow by 31% between 2018 and 2028.

An aging population means that there is a growing demand for medical professionals. Members of the baby boomer generation are now entering old age and will increasingly need healthcare services, especially for chronic conditions like diabetes.

Physician assistants can provide some of the services that physicians also provide; however, the former can be trained more quickly, and this will also lead to an increase in demand.