The Physician Assistant Profession

Physician assistants provide high-quality medical and health care services to patients and to the community. A PA is a nationally certified and state-licensed highly skilled health care professional. PAs perform many of the same diagnostic, preventative, and health maintenance services as a physician, such as providing patient evaluation, education, and health care services. A PA exercises considerable autonomy in diagnosing and treating patients, but the PA’s experience, patient needs, facility policies, supervising physician and state laws determine the scope of a PA’s practice.

In clinical practice, PAs perform an extensive range of medical services in nearly every medical and surgical specialty and health care setting. Offering many of the services traditionally provided by physicians with rapidly increasing frequency from coast to coast, the profession is poised to internationalize.

Physician assistants have many roles and can perform many tasks including but not limited to:

  • Provide high-quality medical care
  • Diagnose, treat and counsel patients
  • Obtain medical histories
  • Perform physical exams
  • Develop and implement treatment plans
  • Write prescriptions
  • Assist in surgery
  • Perform procedures

In case you are still not convinced that becoming a PA is the right choice for you, here are a few more reasons why the PA profession rocks!

Before one can practice, all PAs must graduate from a nationally accredited program and pass a national certification exam in order to gain licensure.

  • TEAM! American Academy of Physician Assistant policy on team practice: “AAPA believes that the physician-PA team relationship is fundamental to the PA profession and enhances the delivery of high-quality healthcare.”
  • Opportunities! Employment opportunities are expected to grow 30% by the year 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Number One! As part of their “Best Jobs in America” 2006 feature, CNN Money ranked the physician assistant career as the # fastest-growing field!
  • Number One Again! In 2012 Forbes names a master’s in physician assistant studies as the number 1 BEST master’s degree job
  • Number Five! The Medicus Firm, a national physician recruiter, reported physician assistants (PAs) rose to No. 5 among its top 10 most frequently placed medical care providers in 2014. Primary care physicians continue to hold the top three spots: family physicians No. 1, hospitalists No. 2 and internists at No. 3.
  • Top Ten! In the U.S. News & World Report Best Jobs of 2015, PAs ranked # 10 with this statement: “Physician assistants aren’t also-ran medical professionals who treat you when the doctor is too busy. They’re well- trained personnel who diagnose ailments, analyze test results, monitor patient progress and prescribetreat ment and medicine.
  • Number One Yet Again!  The Huffington Post reports the findings from the career website Glassdoor.  The 2015 number one ranking of the Physician Assistant profession was based on earning potential, number of job openings and opportunity for career advancement.  Please click here to view the article: These Are The 25 Best Jobs In America, If All You Care About Is Numbers

Before one can practice, all PAs must graduate from a nationally accredited program and pass a national certification exam in order to gain licensure.