Marketing Retarget Pixel

The Physician Assistant (PA) Profession

  • AdaobiStudentatComputer

    What is a Physician Assistant?

    Physician Assistants (PAs) are highly trained healthcare professionals licensed to provide medical care services with the supervision of a doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). As members of the health care team, PAs work interdependently with physicians to provide a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic patient care. Their responsibilities include obtaining medical histories, conducting physical exams, ordering and interpreting diagnostic studies, assessing and developing treatment plans, writing prescriptions, and counseling on preventive care.  PAs are educated to provide services in primary health care and specialty medicine. PAs are trained to provide comprehensive care in various specialties including pediatrics, emergency medicine, surgery and more.  PAs also work in  different settings such as private physician offices, nursing homes, hospitals, community health centers, retail, schools, correctional institutions, and in uniformed services and other federal government agencies. PAs also work in clinical research, health care administration, and academic positions. 

    The Physician Assistant Profession began with four ex-Navy corpsmen at Duke University in the mid-1960s. Dr. Eugene A. Stead Jr., then Chairman of the Department of Medicine, believed that mid-level practitioners could increase consumer access to health services by extending the time and skills of the physician. Today, there are 224 accredited PA programs in the United States and 115,547 practicing PAs. With the increasing demand for PA services, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an astounding 38.4 percent employment growth in this profession between 2012 and 2022.

    For more information on the Physician Assistant profession, please visit the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).