The Physician Assistant Profession

Physician assistants provide high-quality medical and healthcare services to patients and to the community. A PA is a nationally certified and state-licensed healthcare 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, the patient’s needs, facility policies, the 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. Before one can practice, all PAs must graduate from a nationally accredited program and pass a national certification exam in order to gain licensure. 

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! 

  • 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 of physician assistants is projected to grow 31 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. As demand for healthcare services grows, physician assistants will be needed to provide care to patients, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • The Top Best x3! In the U.S. News & World Report for 100 Best Jobs of 2021, the PA profession ranked #1 with this statement: “Physician assistants are expected to continue to be an important part of providing health care services, as they can be trained more quickly than physicians but can provide some of the same services.” Additionally, PAs ranked #1 for Best Jobs in Healthcare and #1 for Best STEM Job according to the U.S. News & World Report. The “profession is filled with rewards that come from helping and treating patients. A 2015 AAPA study found that more than 96 percent would recommend their physician assistant career to others.”