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Becoming a Physician Assistant in Massachusetts

Steps to Become a Physician Assistant in Massachusetts

There are a number of steps required to become a Physician Assistant in Massachusetts, but for dedicated students of medicine, it’s well worth the effort. 

Much like other states, there is a centralized board of licensure which regulates the profession, doles out licenses, and ensures compliance among its members.  The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Physician Assistants requires that all applicants for licensure complete the following steps:

  1. Complete a Bachelor’s degree and training at an accredited Physician Assistant program.
  2. Take and pass the PA National Certifying Examination (PANCE).  This test costs $475 to take, and is a 360 multiple-choice exam.  There are five locations in Massachusetts where you can take the exam.  Once you pass the PANCE, you can use the PA-C initials after your name.
  3. Apply to the Massachusetts Board of Registration Physician Assistants for your license.  The license application fee is $225, and the process takes approximately three weeks once the Board has all your information.  Within 30 days of being awarded a license, you must have a supervising physician and workplace named, so it is important that you time your licensure application around the time you are hired for a job.  The supervising physician is legally responsible for the work you do on the job, but is not required to be present for you to perform medical procedures.

As you can see, there are quite a few hoops that those interested in knowing how to become a physician assistant in Massachusetts must go through for start-up and maintenance.  The payoff, however, is in the job security and salary all your schooling, certification, and licenses will afford you.  The U.S. Department of Labor estimates there will be approximately 2,500 employed PAs in Massachusetts by 2016, a 17% increase over a decade.  The average annual salary for a Physician Assistant in Massachusetts is $101,000.  This, of course, can vary by specialization, workplace, and level of responsibility or management.

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