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Career and Education Opportunities for Physician Assistants in Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for physician assistants. About 570 people are currently employed as physician assistants in Iowa. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 23% to 700 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for physician assistants are expected to grow by about 39.0%. In general, physician assistants provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician.

Physician assistants earn approximately $37 hourly or $77,430 per year on average in Iowa. Nationally they average about $39 per hour or $81,230 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Nursing, people working as physician assistants in Iowa earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Nursing nationally. Jobs in this field include: surgical first assistant, midlevel provider, and neurosurgical physician assistant.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Des Moines where you can study to be a physician assistant, among fifteen schools of higher education total in the Des Moines area. The most common level of education for physician assistants is a Master's degree. You can expect to spend about six years training to become a physician assistant if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years starting with 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 Des Moines include:

  • 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.
  • Pharmacist. Compound and dispense medications following prescriptions issued by physicians, dentists, or other authorized medical practitioners.
  • Podiatrist. Diagnose and treat diseases and deformities of the human foot.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Physician Assistant Training

Des Moines University-Osteopathic Medical Center - Des Moines, IA

Des Moines University-Osteopathic Medical Center, 3200 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312. Des Moines University-Osteopathic Medical Center is a small university located in Des Moines, Iowa. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,729 students. Des Moines University-Osteopathic Medical Center has a master's degree program in Physician Assistant which graduated forty-one 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

Physician Assistant (PA)

Licensing agency: Board of Physician Assistant Examiners
Address: Bureau of Professional Licensure, Iowa Department of Public Health, Lucas State Office Building, 321 E 12th St, Des Moines, IA 50319-0075

Phone: (515) 281-4408
Website: Board of Physician Assistant Examiners Bureau of Professional Licensure Iowa Department of Public Health

LOCATION INFORMATION: Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa photo by BinaryBoyXP

Des Moines is located in Polk County, Iowa. It has a population of over 197,052, which has shrunk by 0.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Des Moines, 79, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Des Moines cost $175,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, one hundred sixty-five new homes were built in Des Moines, down from three hundred nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Des Moines are finance and insurance, health care, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 21.8% of Des Moines residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.5%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Des Moines is 7.1%, which is greater than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Des Moines residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 48.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Epworth United Methodist Church, Union Park Baptist Church and Seventh Day Adventist Church are all churches located in Des Moines. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Des Moines is home to the Activities Center and the Blank Park Zoo as well as M L King Park and Des Moines Botanical Garden. Shopping centers in the area include Merle Hay Mall, Des Moines Park Fair Mall and Southridge Mall. Visitors to Des Moines can choose from Palace Inn, Holiday Inn Express Des Moines and Casa Bella Motel for temporary stays in the area.