chadsurgtech

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Hi, I am new to this site, but noticed some very informative threads. I hope this question doesn't clash with any others as I haven't read them all. I am a biomedical science major at Western Michigan University and am taking two semesters off this fall to complete a surgical technologist certificate. I am thinking of applying to physician assistant school following my biomedical science BS degree. Am I doing a smart thing by completing the surgical technology program? I have heard that once in the field it is a very educational experience and you learn a lot about the surgical field and the health care industry in general. I know most PA schools require many health care hours for admission and I am very tired of working dead end jobs, flipping burgers, etc. My ultimate goal is to become a surgical physician assistant. Does anyone have any information on this subspecialty? What are your duties? Salary? Job availability? Positives/Negatives of the surgical PA? Thanks a lot!
 

CTS-PA

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"I am a biomedical science major at Western Michigan University and am taking two semesters off this fall to complete a surgical technologist certificate."
Is it possible to complete the requirements for you surgical tech certificate while you still complete the course work for your BS?


"Am I doing a smart thing by completing the surgical technology program?"
Yes, I think this is great way for you to get your feet wet in the healthcare field and see first hand what you could be doing as a PA, all while earning a decent living.

Does anyone have any information on this subspecialty?
Currently, two PA programs have a surgical focus (University of Alabama and Cornell); as you may already know, all PA programs are rooted in primary care because of funding ($$$) issues. In any event, during PA school you will have opportunities to do additional training in Surgery (i.e. Elective Rotations). Once you graduate you can also attend post graduate residencies in various specialties of surgery; they offer an intense training experience where you get a lot of exposure in about a year or so. These residencies are not mandatory but some people elect to attend them. For more info on Post grad residencies in surgery check out Association of Post Graduate PA Programs

"What are your duties?"
Resposibilities vary depending on the specialty of surgery you work in, but generally speaking PAs are involved with patient care preop,intraop, and postop. To find out more about what exactly we do in different specialties check out AASPA - Speciaty Practice Section

"Salary?"
This varies depending on geographic location, years of experience, and type of specialty. Look at the 2004 AAPA Census Highlights which may help out a little.

"Job availability?"
Generally speaking the PA profession is expected to be one of the fastest growing professions from now until 2012 as projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, with the recent limits in resident work week and the growing attrition of candidates filling available surgery slots throughout the country, the job outlook for PAs in Surgery is expected to be very good.

I hope this helps.