Physician Assistants

Examine patients, diagnose injuries, and provide treatment.

What do Physician Assistants do?

Physician assistants practice medicine with a physicians and surgeons supervision, and directions. They are trained to examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses, and provide treatment.


  • Work under the supervision of a physician or surgeon
  • Review patients’ medical histories
  • Do physical exams to check patients’ health
  • Order and interpret diagnostic tests, such as x rays or blood tests
  • Make preliminary diagnoses concerning a patient’s injury or illness
  • Provide treatment, such as setting broken bones and giving immunizations
  • Counsel patients and their families; for example, answering questions about how to care for a child with asthma
  • Prescribe medicine, when needed
  • Record a patient’s progress
  • Complete insurance paperwork

Work Experience

To become a Physician, you need to have a bachelor's degree in either a register nurse, paramedics, or emergency medical technicians. You need to have some work-related experience.

Education Needed

  • Need to have a bachelor's degree, and some healthcare-related work experience

  • Physician assistant education programs usually take at least 2 years of full-time study.

  • You need to get a master's degree in order to become a Physician

  • Education includes classroom and laboratory instruction in subjects such as pathology, human anatomy, physiology, clinical medicine, physical diagnosis, and medical ethics.

Skills Required

Compassion. They should enjoy helping others.

Detail oriented. They should be focused and observant to properly evaluate patients and follow doctor’s orders.

Emotional stability. They should be able to work well under pressure. They must remain calm in stressful situations to provide quality care.

Where do Physician Assistants work at?

  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Offices of physicians
  • Government
  • Colleges, universities, and professional schools

Work Schedule

They work mostly full time. About 13 % have reported working 50 hours or more per week in 2010. Physician assistants may work nights, weekends, or holidays if they work in a hospital. They must be ready to respond to a work request with little notice.

Job Outlook

It is expected to increase by 30% by 2020; much faster than the average for all occupations. Physician assistants also will be needed because the population is growing.


The median annual wage of physician assistants was $86,410 in May 2010, if they were working at a hospital. Physician assistants were making up to 41.00 dollars per hour in May 2010.

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