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 system. 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 who 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 (2017)||$104,860 for physician assistants*|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||37% growth for physician assistants*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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 system.
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.
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 - 37% from 2016-2026 - as a way to help cut health care costs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 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 median salary in May 2017 for all physician assistants, including urology assistants, was $104,860 as reported by the BLS. The highest paying states were Washington, New Jersey, Nevada, North Dakota, and Hawaii, with average annual wages ranging between $120,200 and $116,660 in 2017.
Alternate Career Options
If you're looking for a different career in this field, here are some options:
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 earn 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 28% from 2016-2026. The BLS also reports that physical therapists earned median pay of $86,850 in 2017.
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