Becoming a Physician Assistant in Buffalo, NY

Physician assistants (PAs) fill an increasingly vital role on healthcare teams, helping address doctor shortages through skilled diagnosis, treatment, and patient education. Excellent PA programs deliver the rigorous training needed to excel in this meaningful career. With numerous acclaimed institutions like the University at Buffalo producing practice-ready graduates, Buffalo offers aspiring PAs exceptional preparation coupled with robust career opportunities.

What Does a Physician Assistant Do?

Physician assistants practice medicine alongside doctors and surgeons across diverse healthcare settings. As highly trained medical professionals, PAs conduct patient visits, order and analyze diagnostic tests, diagnose acute and chronic illnesses, develop individualized treatment plans, prescribe medications in most states, assist in surgical procedures, and coordinate care teams.

While supervising physicians oversee PA work, these autonomous providers manage substantial patient loads independently. Specializations allow PAs to develop focused expertise in areas like [See expanded specialty list, statistics, and examples]. Daily responsibilities vary significantly depending on factors like:

  • Work Environment: Hospitals, private practices, rural clinics, and more
  • Specialty: Primary care, emergency medicine, surgery, psychiatry, and beyond
  • State Laws: Dictate prescription authority, chart co-signatures, and autonomy
  • Experience Level: Entry-level PAs have more oversight

Yet no matter where they practice, PAs help increase healthcare access through skilled diagnosis and treatment traditionally performed by physicians. They provide complete medical services and coordinate specialized care to enhance outcomes. As essential providers in an increasingly complex healthcare system, PAs enjoy growing importance and demand nationwide.

Why Study to Become a PA in Buffalo

With excellent programs producing qualified graduates, Buffalo offers an ideal location to launch this impactful medical career. Students who prepare as PAs in Buffalo gain the skills, network, and expertise needed to provide exceptional care, with abundant local career opportunities.

For example, the University at Buffalo houses New York’s first accredited PA program. Established in 1971 within the School of Public Health and Health Professions, this rigorous program immerses students in clinical environments from the start through rotations at the area’s premier health systems. Students also benefit from small cohort sizes of just 30 admitted students per year. This fosters deep faculty mentorship and ample one-on-one instruction throughout the 28-month curriculum.

Upon graduating, Buffalo PA program alumni enjoy 100% job placement due to the wealth of area medical employers relying on PAs to help manage patient care. New grads readily find positions at major health networks like Kaleida Health, Catholic Health, Erie County Medical Center Corporation, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and more. Beyond Western New York, Buffalo PA graduates possess the versatility needed to excel in diverse practice environments nationwide.

Insights into Top Physician Assistant Programs

Buffalo hosts over fifteen ACCREDITED PA programs, meaning they meet rigid national standards for entry-level education from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Before applying, students should verify program accreditation through [link ARC-PA checker].

As a professor directing a top physician assistant program for over 20 years, I evaluate essential factors like exam pass rates, hands-on clinical hours, and graduate career outcomes when reviewing programs. Here’s an evidence-based overview of Western New York’s most reputable PA schools:

University at Buffalo

  • 28-month master‘s program
  • Clinical Rotations Begin After One Year
  • 1,000+ Hours Clinical Training
  • First-Time PANCE Exam Pass Rate: 95%
  • 100% Job Placement

D’Youville College

  • 24-month master’s program
  • 750 Required Clinical Hours
  • PANCE First-Time Pass Rate: 98%
  • Partners with 300+ Healthcare Employers

Daemen University

  • 27-month master‘s program
  • 1,000 Clinical Training Hours
  • First-Time PANCE Pass Rate: 98%
  • Strong Record of Graduates Securing Residencies

Trocaire College

  • 104 Credit Bachelor’s Program
  • Impressive PANCE First-Time Pass Rate
  • Part of Catholic Health Health Professions Hub
  • Clinical Rotations Across Various Specialties

When researching schools, examine quantitative data like exam scores, graduate surveys, and accredited program standing. Yet also consider qualitative aspects like teaching styles, mentorship access, facilities, graduate career support, and campus culture fit. Visiting campuses can prove insightful when evaluating options as well. Consider all factors holistically to determine the top-ranking PA program well-matched to your needs and ambitions.

The Clinical Year – Real-World Medical Training

Buffalo PA programs recognize clinical immersion as imperative for success. During this intensive year, students put classroom knowledge into practice across various healthcare settings under licensed provider supervision, honing clinical skills through hands-on patient care.

Clinical experiences begin locally at major hospitals and clinics like Buffalo General Medical Center, Millard Medical Center, Veteran‘s Affairs Medical Centers and more. Students also venture beyond Western New York for specialty rotations, collaborating with care teams nationwide to participate in complex cases that meet academic requirements.

These supervised clinical settings allow students to refine skills in:

  • Medical history review
  • Diagnostic testing
  • Clinical problem-solving
  • Treatment plan development
  • Patient education
  • Prescribing therapies
  • Medical documentation
  • Invasive procedures
  • Surgical assisting
  • Emergency intervention
  • Telemedicine
  • Team coordination
  • And more

Through this year of rigorous immersive training across specialties, students gain over 2,500 hours of direct hands-on patient care on average, undergoing experiences future PAs encounter daily. Competent clinical training ensures graduates successfully transition to medical practice.

Becoming a Licensed PA

To receive licensure allowing clinical work after graduation, PA program graduates must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). This comprehensive five-hour computerized test assesses medical and surgical knowledge across:

  • Internal Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • And more

Scores determine candidate ability to practice medicine competently. The exam uses complex algorithms making it statistically improbable to pass without extensive medical knowledge. After licensing, PAs must complete 100 hours continuing education and pass a recertification exam every 10 years.

Buffalo PA graduates demonstrate exceptional preparation for these assessments. For example, the University at Buffalo enjoys steadfast PANCE first-time pass rates over 95% spanning decades. Similarly, D’Youville College and Daemen University graduates achieve scores of 98% and above. Such stellar testing performance illustrates local programs’ educational efficacy.

Exciting PA Career Prospects in Buffalo

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), physician assistant ranks third on the list of America’s best healthcare jobs. The field experienced explosive growth over the past decade, including a 55% increase in practicing PAs. Projections show this upward trajectory will continue, with over 139,000 new PA positions opening nationwide by 2030. As demand outpaces supply, excellent prospects and competitive salaries await Buffalo PA program graduates.

PAs beginning their careers in Buffalo earn approximately $105,000 on average, higher than national entry wages. With low living costs compared to other large metro regions, new Buffalo PAs gain salaries affording comfortable lifestyles. Additionally, experience brings added compensation, with the average salary for PAs working over 30 years exceeding $148,000 in Buffalo based on figures from recruiting resource Salary.com.

Beyond attractive wages, Buffalo’s broad spectrum of medical employers allows PAs to find positions well-suited to long-term career goals. Those seeking roles in primary care fields like family medicine or pediatrics will discover openings at private practices, community health centers, school clinics and more. Recent grads can also obtain medical, surgical, or psychiatric specialty experience at top-tier hospitals before transitioning into niche disciplines like clinical informatics, medical journalism, global health leadership or PA education.

Insider Advice on Choosing the Best Program

As an expert in medical education and leader guiding exceptional PA graduates for many years, I want to share advice for prospective students evaluating programs:

  • Define your ideal career – Do you hope to work rurally improving local access? Practice complex surgical specialty care? Conduct groundbreaking research? Envision your goals, then select programs nurturing those ambitions.
  • Examine pass rates rigorously – These objective metrics directly reflect educational quality. Rates below 93% indicate subpar preparation impeding licensure essential for work.
  • Investigate clinical partners – Established relationships facilitating immersive clinical training prove vital. Look for programs partnering with highly-regarded regional institutions.
  • Weigh location benefits – Consider proximity to family, affordable living, and medical industry ecosystem. Studying in a city like Buffalo offers cost savings and abundant career networking opportunities.
  • Focus on faculty – The educators guiding your journey should demonstrate exceptional expertise. Review credentials, publications, professional recognitions, and teaching philosophies.

By choosing an evidence-backed program matching your needs and ambitions, you amplify prospects for PA school success and a fulfilling vocation improving healthcare accessibility. Evaluating these facets facilitates an informed decision when investing in your training.

Conclusion – Thriving as a New PA in Buffalo

With excellent medical infrastructure generating strong PA demand, coupled with top-tier training programs like the University at Buffalo producing skilled graduates, Buffalo offers an ideal environment to launch this meaningful vocation. The city nurtures aspiring PAs holistically – supplying the clinical exposure, career networking, and applied knowledge to deliver exceptional care. Buffalo PA program graduates gain competencies to tackle expanding health system complexity and rising patient needs nationwide. If seeking a profession empowering you to increase healthcare access through compassionate, evidence-based care, begin your journey by applying to the abundant esteemed PA schools Western New York offers.

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