Physician Assistant

Taylor Gerstner

What is a Physician Assistant?

A Physician Assistant, or PA, is a mid-level health care practitioner who works independently with physicians to provide diagnostic and therapeutic care. They practice medicine in partnership with doctors. Unlike nurses, Physician Assistants can prescribe medicine, and unlike doctors, they can't preform major surgeries.

PA's can:

Obtain medical histories


Diagnose and treat patients

Citations- What is a PA?

- What can a certified PA do for me?

What Certifications are Necessary?

After graduating from a Physician Assistant Program, accredited by Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, they take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) to become a certified. After passing they have a NCCPA certification, PA-C, which is good for up to six years. After the six years, they must pass a recertification exam.

Citations- Certification Process Overview

What are Their Daily Activities?

Physician Assistants's schedule is very similar to what a regular physician's would look like. A typical experience with a patient would be:

-Look over/examine and obtain medical information and physical conditions

-Interpret diagnostic test results, comparing to average/standard results.

-Make a tentative diagnosis, to know what steps to take next.

-Compile the patient's medical history, data, and other notes

-Organize for particular scans/tests to be done pertaining to symptoms

-Based on results, solidify diagnosis and prescribe medicine, surgeries, treatments, or therapy (may need physician's approval)

-Check back in, follow up if necessary

Citations- Physician Assistant Job Description

What are the Education Requirements?

-complete prerequisites and obtain healthcare experience

*before entering a PA school/program many people have a bachelor's degree and 3 years of experience.

-get a Bachelor's degree in a PA program (BA-PA)

-to be accepted in the program you must have a 3.0 GPA

-obtain a Master's degree in a 2 year PA program

-pass the PANCE test for certification

Citations- How to Become a Physician Assistant

What is the Average Income?

On average, PA's make an annual amount of $92,970. The top 10% make approximately $130,620, while the bottom 10% make about $62,030.

Citations- Physician Assistant: Salary

What Skills are Needed to be a Physician Assistant?

-Active listening

-Problem solving


-Decision making

-Time management

-Service orientation

-Math and science

-Social perceptiveness

Citations- What Skills are Required for Physician Assistants?

Where do Physician Assistants Work?

-Physician offices


-Clinics and practices

-Family doctor's office

-Other health care facilities

Citations- More about Physician Assistants

Fun Facts about Physician Assistants:

-projected job growth by 2020 is 21% or more (high in demand)

-it's Physician Assistant, not Physician's Assistant

-there were approximately 95,583 certified PA's going into 2014

Citations- Key Facts and Information

Physician Assistants


Physician Assistants: A Fast-Growing Profession