Are you a psychology graduate who is considering becoming a physician assistant? If so, you may be wondering whether it is possible to pursue this career path with your degree.

The answer is yes, you can become a physician assistant with a psychology degree. However, there are certain steps you need to take in order to achieve this goal.

What Is a Physician Assistant?

Before we delve into the details of how to become a physician assistant with a psychology degree, let’s first understand what this role entails. A physician assistant (PA) is a healthcare professional who works under the supervision of licensed physicians. PAs are trained to diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, prescribe medications, and counsel patients on preventive healthcare practices.

Steps to Become a Physician Assistant with a Psychology Degree

If you have completed your psychology degree and wish to pursue a career as a physician assistant, there are several steps you need to take:

Step 1: Complete Prerequisite Courses

In order to be eligible for PA school, you must complete certain prerequisite courses. These courses typically include biology, chemistry (organic and inorganic), anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and statistics. While your psychology degree may have covered some of these courses, it is important that you check with the PA programs you are interested in to ensure that you have completed all the necessary prerequisites.

Step 2: Gain Healthcare Experience

Most PA programs require applicants to have some healthcare experience before they can be considered for admission. This can include working as an emergency medical technician (EMT), medical assistant, or nurse. If your psychology degree did not provide any healthcare experience opportunities, consider volunteering at hospitals or clinics in your spare time.

Step 3: Apply to PA Programs

Once you have completed the prerequisites and gained some healthcare experience, you can start applying to PA programs. There are over 250 accredited PA programs in the United States, and each program has its own admission requirements and deadlines. It is important that you research the programs thoroughly and apply to those that best match your interests and qualifications.

Step 4: Complete PA School

PA school typically takes two years to complete and includes both classroom instruction and clinical rotations. During this time, you will learn about various medical specialties, diagnostic techniques, treatment options, and patient care. You will also complete clinical rotations in various healthcare settings to gain hands-on experience.

Step 5: Pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)

After completing PA school, you must pass the PANCE in order to become a certified physician assistant. This exam is administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and tests your knowledge of medical concepts, diagnostic techniques, and patient management.

The Benefits of a Psychology Degree for a Physician Assistant

While a psychology degree may not seem like an obvious choice for someone who wants to become a physician assistant, it can actually be quite beneficial. Many aspects of psychology are relevant to healthcare, such as understanding human behavior, communication skills, and cultural sensitivity. Additionally, having a background in psychology can help you better understand patients’ mental health needs and provide more holistic care.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is possible to become a physician assistant with a psychology degree. However, it requires completing prerequisite courses, gaining healthcare experience, applying to PA programs, completing PA school, and passing the PANCE exam.

A psychology degree can also provide valuable skills for this career path. If you are passionate about healthcare and helping others, becoming a physician assistant may be an excellent choice for you.