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Career and Education Opportunities for Physician Assistants in Charleston, South Carolina

There are many career and education opportunities for physician assistants in the Charleston, South Carolina area. About 470 people are currently employed as physician assistants in South Carolina. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 20% to about 570 people employed. This is not quite as good as 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.

Physician assistants earn approximately $36 per hour or $74,910 per year on average in South Carolina. Nationally they average about $39 hourly or $81,230 annually. Incomes for physician assistants are better than in the overall category of Nursing in South Carolina, and better than the overall Nursing category nationally. People working as physician assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: doctor assistant, physician assistant , and orthopedic physician assistant.

There are fourteen schools of higher education in the Charleston area, including one within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can get a degree to start your career as a physician assistant. Given that the most common education level 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 Charleston 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.
  • Nurse Practitioner. Provide advanced nursing care and treatment to patients. Perform physical examinations, order diagnostic tests, develop treatment plans and prescribe drugs or other therapies.
  • 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

Medical University of South Carolina - Charleston, SC

Medical University of South Carolina, 179 Ashley Ave, Charleston, SC 29425. Medical University of South Carolina is a small university located in Charleston, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,533 students. Medical University of South Carolina has a master's degree program in Physician Assistant which graduated sixty-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'S ASSISTANT

Licensing agency: S.C. State Board of Medical Examiners
Address: 110 Centerview Drive, Kingstree Bldg., Suite202, P. O. Box 11289, Columbia, SC 29221

Phone: (803) 896-4500
Website: S.C. State Board of Medical Examiners

LOCATION INFORMATION: Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina photo by AudeVivere

Charleston is situated in Charleston County, South Carolina. It has a population of over 111,978, which has grown by 15.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston cost $157,600 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, five hundred eight new homes were built in Charleston, down from eight hundred seventy-eight the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 37.5% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 10.5%, which is less than South Carolina's average of 12.0%.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 42.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Plymouth Congregational Church, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Charleston is home to the United State Department of Agriculture and the The Center as well as Harmon Field and Stoney Field. Shopping malls in the area include Church Creek Plaza Shopping Center, Citadel Mall Shopping Center and South Windermere Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from French Quarter Inn, Fulton Lane Inn and Budget Inn for temporary stays in the area.