California Physicians Assistant Programs

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Check current course listings for campus-based and online Physicians Assistant Programs available for California students.

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How to Become a Physician Assistant in California and Physician Assistant Programs in California

California is one of the best places in the United States to become and practice as a physician assistant! Unlike most other states, California has set up its own boards and professional associations to help physician's assistants become effective professionals and experience career growth. There are also private organizations that work on behalf of physician assistants to make sure their interests are represented in the wider world of California medical care. Part of the impact of this is to ensure that California medical assistants receive some of the best compensation packages in the United States and report high job satisfaction.

To practice in California, any physician assistant will have to be familiar with the California Academy of Physician Assistants and the state government's Physician Assistant Committee, which sets the state level standards. But wait! If you are just contemplating how to become a physician assistant in California, you have a way to go yet. Physician assistant programs in California are difficult and can be expensive, but they also set the national standard in education. A physician assistant in California will typically hold a master's degree conferring one or two years of additional training on top of a bachelor's degree in biology, pre-med or a related field.

Working under the supervision of a physician, a physician's assistant will provide a great deal of hands-on medical analysis and evaluation to a client. In many states, the physician assistant can also prescribe medications; in California, PAs are empowered to make drug orders, but may or may not be able to actually prescribe drugs depending on the locality. A California PA receives a median salary just under $100,000, making them among the highest paid medical professionals who are not full-fledged physicians or surgeons. This exceeds the national median for physician assistants by more than $10,000, a higher disparity from the national median than virtually any other profession.

It is easy to see why someone might choose California as the hub of their medical career if becoming a physician's assistant is his or her goal! In addition to the California state standards, which require submission of proof of completing an accredited program, a new professional should be aware of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. This association has nearly forty years of experience accrediting the academic programs that prepare students to become physician assistants. When you choose a program, make sure that it meets AAPA standards -- if it does not, you may not be able to practice as a PA in California.


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California Board of Registered Nursing
1625 North Market Boulevard, Suite N-217
Sacramento, CA 95834-1924
Phone: (916) 322-3350
Fax: (916) 574-8637

California Board of Vocational Nurse and Psychiatric Technicians
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 205
Sacramento, CA 95833
Phone: (916) 263-7800
Fax: (916) 263-7859

California Nurses Association

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