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Career and Education Opportunities for Physician Assistants in Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for physician assistants. About 550 people are currently employed as physician assistants in Alabama. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 43% to 780 people employed. This is better than the national trend for physician assistants, which sees this job pool growing by about 39.0% over the next eight years. In general, physician assistants provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician.

The income of a physician assistant is about $36 hourly or $75,190 annually on average in Alabama. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $39 hourly or $81,230 yearly on average. Earnings for physician assistants are better than earnings in the general category of Nursing in Alabama and better than general Nursing category earnings nationally. People working as physician assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: medical service technician, surgery technician , and emergency services physician assistant.

The Birmingham area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree as a physician assistant. The most common level of education for physician assistants is a Master's degree. It will take about six years to learn to be a physician assistant if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Physician Assistant

Physician Assistant video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, physician assistants provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. They also conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients.

Physician assistants examine patients to obtain data related to their physical condition. They also interpret diagnostic test results for deviations from normal. Equally important, physician assistants have to obtain, compile and record patient medical data, including health history, progress notes and results of physical examination. They are often called upon to make tentative diagnoses and decisions about management and treatment of patients. They are expected to prescribe therapy or medication with physician approval. Finally, physician assistants visit and observe patients on hospital rounds or house calls, updating charts, ordering therapy, and reporting back to physicians.

Every day, physician assistants are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for physician assistants to supervise and direct efforts of technicians and technical assistants. They are often called upon to furnish physicians with assistance during surgery or complicated medical procedures. They also order medical and laboratory supplies and apparatus. Somewhat less frequently, physician assistants are also expected to administer or order diagnostic tests, such as x-ray and laboratory tests.

Physician assistants sometimes are asked to perform therapeutic procedures, such as injections, immunizations, suturing and wound care, and infection management. They also have to be able to visit and observe patients on hospital rounds or house calls, updating charts, ordering therapy, and reporting back to physicians and instruct and counsel patients about prescribed therapeutic regimens, normal growth and development, family planning, emotional problems of daily living, and health maintenance. And finally, they sometimes have to supervise and direct efforts of technicians and technical assistants.

Like many other jobs, physician assistants must be reliable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Dentist. Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums and related oral structures. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting vitality of teeth.
  • Family Practice Physician. Diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases and injuries that commonly occur in the general population.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse. Care for ill, injured, or disabled persons in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.
  • Nuclear Medical Technologist. Prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies utilizing a variety of radioisotope equipment. Prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists. Subject patients to radiation. Execute blood volume, red cell survival, and fat absorption studies following standard laboratory techniques.
  • Optometrist. Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. May prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.
  • Pharmacist. Compound and dispense medications following prescriptions issued by physicians, dentists, or other authorized medical practitioners.
  • Registered Nurse. Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, or disabled patients. May advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required. Includes advance practice nurses such as: nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists. Advanced practice nursing is practiced by RNs who have specialized formal, post-basic education and who function in highly autonomous and specialized roles.
  • Respiratory Therapist. Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, and operate equipment.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Physician Assistant Training

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, AL 35294-0110. University of Alabama at Birmingham is a large university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 16,149 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Alabama at Birmingham has a master's degree program in Physician Assistant which graduated twenty-eight students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certification in Sports Medicine: The ABP in collaboration with the American Boards of Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Emergency Medicine offers a certificate of added qualifications in sports medicine.

For more information, see the American Board of Pediatrics website.

Certified Health Fitness Specialist: The ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist (HFS) is a degreed health and fitness professional qualified to pursue a career in university, corporate, commercial, hospital, and community settings.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist: Becoming ACSM Certified as an Exercise Specialistsays a lot about you.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Certified Flexible Endoscope Reprocessor: The CBSPD is committed to the certification of healthcare sterile processing and distribution personnel regardless of their workplace setting.

For more information, see the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution website.

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant: An IBCLE or International Board Certified Lactation Consultant is a specialist that has taken and.

For more information, see the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners website.

LDT's Lymphedema/CDP Certification - Level I: Lymphedema/CDP Certification - Level I (LLCC) completes the Lymphedema Certification process, which is designed to build awareness of lymphedema and ensure the quality of practitioners who provide manual lymphatic therapy and CDP.

For more information, see the Upledger Institute, Inc. website.

LICENSES

Anesthesiology Assistant

Licensing agency: AL State Board of Medical Examiners
Address: P O Box 887, Montgomery, AL 36101-0887

Phone: (334) 242-4153
Website: AL State Board of Medical Examiners

Physician Assistant

Licensing agency: AL State Board of Medical Examiners
Address: P O Box 887, Montgomery, AL 36101-0887

Phone: (334) 242-4153
Website: AL State Board of Medical Examiners

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.