The Miami Dade College Physician Assistant Program is a two year (24 months) educational program consisting of 56 semester credits. During the first year, students complete course work in the basic and applied sciences including, clinical medicine, pharmacology, history/physical examination techniques, and surgical technical skills. Several of these courses have both a lecture and a laboratory component. During the second year, students are provided the opportunity to develop their clinical skills and expand their knowledge by participating in supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPE) under the supervision of medical professionals such as physician assistants and physicians. To provide students with a broad range of clinical experience, the program utilizes numerous hospitals, primary care centers, and free standing clinical settings within the State of Florida.
Physician assistants (PA) are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine in collaboration with their physician partners. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, physician assistants conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and can write prescriptions. Within the physician-PA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. A PA's practice may also include education, research, and administrative services. Physician assistants have a close working relationship with physicians. They are educated in the medical model designed to complement physician training. Upon graduation, PAs take a national certification examination developed by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). To maintain their national certification, PAs must complete 100 hours of continuing medical education credits every two years and sit for a recertification exam every ten years. Graduation from an accredited physician assistant program and successful completion of the national certifying exam are required to obtain state licensure and the privilege to practice medicine with the collaboration of a physician.
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