How to Become a Pediatrician Assistant

Learn how to become a pediatrician assistant. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements and find out how to start a career in pediatrics. View article »

View 10 Popular Schools »

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

94% college-bound high school students
…said it was important to communicate with colleges during the search process. (Source: Noel-Levitz 2012 trend study)

Select a school or program

View More Schools
Show Me Schools
 Replay
  • 0:03 Pediatric Assistants
  • 0:32 Career Requirements
  • 1:33 Steps to Become a PA

Find the perfect school

Video Transcript

Should I Become a Pediatric Assistant?

Pediatric physician assistants (or PAs) work in clinics, community health centers, and hospitals. Under the supervision of a pediatrician, these PAs provide care to children and adolescents. They interpret diagnostic tests, diagnose illnesses, conduct routine physical exams, and counsel patients and their families about treatment; they also write prescriptions in most states. PAs are required to spend a great deal of time standing.

Career Requirements

Degree Field Physician assistant
Prerequisites 4.5 years of experience and a bachelor's degree
Degree Level Master's degree or equivalent accredited PA program
Licensure/Certification Licensure is required by all states and the District of Columbia
Key Skills Attention to detail, ability to work on a team, compassion, knowledge of medical software, such as electronic medical record software and ChartWare; ability to use the Internet, word processing, and spreadsheet programs; ability to use medical tools and equipment such as spirometers, catheters, surgical dissectors, and forceps; appealing bedside manner; knowledge of medical terminology; ability to interact with children
Average Salary (2015) $98,180 (for all physician assistants)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants, O*NET OnLine.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Anesthesiologist Assistant
  • Chiropractic Technician
  • Clinical Laboratory Assistant
  • EMT Ambulance
  • Health Aide
  • Home Health Aide
  • Medical or Clinical Assistant
  • Medication Aide
  • Occupational Therapist Assistant
  • Pathology Assistant
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Respiratory Therapy Technician
  • Veterinary Technician

Steps to Become A PA

There are six steps to becoming a successful pediatric assistant:

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

PA programs require applicants to have a bachelor's degree. While PA programs do not have specific required majors, they do have coursework requirements. Undergraduates should plan to take coursework in chemistry, anatomy and physiology, biology, calculus, physics, and psychology. It is also important to maintain a GPA above 3.0, because this is also a common admission requirement for PA programs.

Success Tip

Get adequate preparation for a job in healthcare. All PA programs either require or prefer candidates to have work experience in healthcare. Taking required and elective healthcare courses helps college graduates qualify for positions in the field after graduation.

Step 2: Gain Experience Working in Healthcare

According to the American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants, successful applicants to PA programs have 4.5 years of prior healthcare experience. PA programs want to ensure applicants have the experience necessary to know what is required for a career in healthcare. An applicant demonstrates his or her commitment to the profession by serving as nurse, nurse aide, paramedic, or in another similar healthcare role.

Step 3: Complete a PA Program

PA programs are housed in medical schools, community colleges, 4-year universities, and hospitals. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) accredits PA programs. Choosing an accredited program helps to ensure graduates attain certification and licensure.

PA programs take two years to complete, but some programs take up to three. Students complete one year of didactic coursework followed by one year of clinical work. In-class work includes courses in basic sciences, diagnostic methods, patient assessment, pharmaceuticals, and behavior medicine. Clinical work involves preceptorships, which are clinical rotations in a healthcare center's emergency care, primary care, internal medicine, and surgery departments. Pediatrics is included as a rotation in many programs.

Step 4: Apply for Licensure

To become certified, graduates of PA programs must pass the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE). The PANCE is a computer-based exam available at testing centers across the U.S. It is administered by the NCCPA. After passing the exam, graduates become certified and are eligible to apply for licensure. Most state licensure applications require a transcript from a PA program and a passing score on the PANCE.

Step 5: Complete Continuing Education to Maintain Certification

To maintain certification, PAs are required to pay a re-certification fee to the NCCPA and submit documentation of 100 continuing medical education credits every two years. In addition, PAs must take a recertification exam every six years. Beginning in 2014, the NCCPA is transitioning to a 10-year recertification cycle.

Step 6: Join a Professional Organization

Organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society for Physician Assistants in Pediatrics, offer membership to pediatric PAs. Benefits of membership include networking opportunities and updates on new developments in the field of pediatrics. Discounts on conference rates, industry books, and publications are also offered to members.

After completing a bachelor's degree, gaining some healthcare experience, completing a PA program, and passing a licensing exam, pediatric assistants can earn an average of $98,180.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • Medical Assistant-Certificate
    • Pharmacy Technician-Certificate
    • Physical Therapy Technician-Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Medical Assistant Technology
    • Medical Assistant

    What year did you graduate High School / Receive GED?

    • MS in Nursing
    • Master of Healthcare Administration
    • BS in Health Science
    • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN
    • BS in Healthcare Administration
    • BS in Health and Wellness

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MSHS in Clinical Microbiology

    What is your highest level of education?

    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    • MBA: Health Systems Management
    • MS in Health Care Administration
    • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
    • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
    • BS in Health Care Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your age?

    • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
    • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?