How Physician Assistant Doctoral Programs Prepare PAs for Success
As more people enter the physician’s assistant (PA) profession, the opportunities for further education continue to multiply. Physician assistant doctoral programs provide PAs the opportunity to take their expertise to the next level.
Touro University Worldwide offers one of the only online Doctorate of Physician Assistant (DPA) degree programs, representing the highest educational level a PA can reach. By obtaining a DPA, PAs join the ranks of other healthcare professions such as occupational and physical therapists, audiologists, and nurses earning doctoral degrees.
Graduates from a DPA program have the knowledge and expertise needed to excel as leaders in the PA profession. Leadership skills are critical as PAs increasingly take on responsibilities in healthcare with a significant impact on patient care outcomes.
The Growing Need for Physician Assistants
Federal government data show 125,500 PAs in May 2019 with an expected 31% increase in the number of PAs by 2029. The number of PAs continue to increase across the country.
Physician assistants now handle many of the duties once done by medical physicians. PAs have become essential to providing healthcare services in rural and urban areas. PAs take on the tasks of meeting with patients, assessing and diagnosing conditions, and prescribing treatment, often under the supervision of a physician. The federal government projects this team-based approach to healthcare will grow in the coming years.
- Reasons for the growth of PAs include:
- Growth in the overall population
- An aging population where Baby Boomers require more medical care
- An increase in patients with chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease
- Increased incomes may provide more access to medical care for many
Innovative medical technology will increase the types of treatments available
Why Should a PA Seek a Doctorate?
PAs earning a Doctorate of Physician Assistant learn concepts that can increase their problem-solving skills and lead to improved patient care. Earning a doctorate also prepares a PA for leadership within a healthcare setting. This is especially important as more PAs experience a higher level of autonomy than they had in the past. A PA may also be invited to sit on hospital advisory boards or for advancing in an academic career.
How the TUW Program is Different
The TUW DPA program prepares graduates for leadership roles and teaches them the skills needed to deliver healthcare services more effectively. Some of the differences with the program include the following.
- The program is 100% online, allowing students the convenience to advance their degree while maintaining professional and personal schedules
- It takes an average of just 18 months to complete the program
- No residency is required
- No GRE is required
- Students can transfer in up to 6 credits
- Instructors in the program are scholar-practitioners with expertise as PAs or MDs with active involvement in their professional work or research
- The curriculum is directly applicable to PAs. It allows students to focus on their area of interest in the global healthcare industry
Courses in the DPA program include advanced studies in the scholar-practitioner model, evidence-based medicine, pharmacology and therapeutics, healthcare law and professional practice, healthcare management, and contemporary professional issues in medicine.
For PAs who want to reach the upper echelon of their growing profession, earning a Doctorate of Physician Assistant can help them attain their career goals. The DPA will also sharpen their patient care skills, leading to improved patient care across various environments.
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