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Urology Assistant: Job Description & Career Requirements

Read on to see what urology assistants do. Get details about education and training requirements. Learn about career prospects and earning potential to see if this job is right for you.

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Career Definition for Urology Assistant

Urology assistants are specialized physician assistants who have medical expertise in the male and female urinary systems and male reproductive systems. A urology assistant does not have an M.D., even though he or she is responsible for examining, diagnosing, and treating patients. According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants, www.aapa.org, in every state physician assistants, including urology assistants, can prescribe medicine. Though urology assistants must work under the supervision of physicians, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, recognizes that many urology assistants are primary care providers and they consult with urologists as needed and as mandated by law.

Required Education Master's degree in physician assisting
Job Duties Examining, diagnosing, and treating patients
Median Salary (2015) $98,180 for physician assistants
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 30% growth for physician assistants

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Aspiring urology assistants must complete a 2-year master's degree program in physician assisting. The American Academy of Physician Assistants, www.aapa.org, reports that most students entering the programs already have both a bachelor's degree and work experience in the medical field. Before entering the field of urology assisting, a student must complete courses in microbiology, biochemistry, pathology, physiology, medical ethics, and disease prevention, among classes specializing in the human urinary tract and male reproductive systems.

Licensing Requirement

Physician assistants are required to hold a state license. State licensing typically requires at least a passing score on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination.

Skills Required

Though they must work under the supervision of physicians, the College Board, www.collegeboard.com, recommends that aspiring urology assistants be comfortable working independently as primary care providers. In addition to confidence in their medical skills, urology assistants should be able to communicate well with their patients and flexible enough to continue improving their education throughout their careers as medical science advances.

Career and Economic Outlook

Physician assisting career opportunities, including in urology assisting, are expected to grow rapidly - 30% from 2014-2024 - as a way to help cut health care costs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Growth in the field will be especially great in areas where the ratio of physicians to patients is low, such as inner-city areas and rural towns.

The national average salary in May 2015 for all physician assistants, including urology assistants, was $98,180 as reported by the BLS. The highest paying states were New York, California, Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida, with average annual wages between $102,020 and $101,480 in 2015.

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Alternate Career Options

If you're looking for a different career in this field, here are some options:

Physical Therapist

A physical therapist helps patients with illness or injury maintain or improve their body's range of motion and improve pain management. Physical therapists evaluate patients' abilities and develop treatment plans; patients may see a physical therapist for help with problems like arthritis, sports injuries, and stroke. Treatment can include use of exercises, application of heat or cold, or equipment like walkers. Physical therapists have a bachelor's degree and then complete a 3-year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree program before earning a required state license. Post-graduate residencies and fellowships are available for physical therapists who want to specialize. Physical therapists can become board-certified in a specialty area through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, which requires additional experience and an exam. The BLS estimates that jobs for physical therapists will increase 34% from 2014-2024. The BLS also reports that physical therapists earned average pay of $84,020 in 2015.

Occupational Therapist

An occupational therapist works with patients who have illnesses, injuries, or other conditions that affect their ability to perform common daily tasks. They review these patients' needs and abilities, as well as develop care plans designed to help patients maintain or expand their abilities to live and work independently. Therapeutic help can include exercises, adaptive aids, and modifications to work and living spaces. Occupational therapists have at least a master's degree in occupational therapy; they must also take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) test to earn the required state license. Professional specialty certifications are also available through the American Occupational Therapy Association. Per the BLS, jobs in this field are expected to increase 27% from 2014-2024. These workers earned an average salary of $80,150 in 2015.

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