The PA Profession
PAs (Physician Assistants) are comprehensively trained medical providers. In the U.S., PAs are nationally certified and state licensed to practice medicine and prescribe medications in every setting and every medical and surgical specialty. PA practice includes comprehensive patient care incorporating patient interviewing and history-taking, examination and evaluation, diagnosis, treatment plan development and implementation, patient follow-up, and patient education and counseling. PAs have been improving access for patients to high-quality primary and specialty medical care across the U.S. and throughout the world since the 1960s.
One of the best professions to pursue!
The PA profession is continually being recognized as one of the best professions to pursue.
In fact, just recently, the PA profession was again ranked by U.S. News & World Report as both one of the best overall jobs and one of the best health care jobs to pursue.
Here are a few more examples:
- Forbes: The 10 Most Promising Jobs of 2015: Physician Assistant ranked as Number 1 of the ten most promising jobs.
- Forbes: The 10 Most Promising Jobs in 2016: Physician Assistant again ranked in the top ten most promising careers.
- Forbes, Best Master's Degrees for Jobs: Physician Assistant Studies rated as Number 1 for best master's degree based on mid-career median pay, projected employment increase, and job growth.
- Glassdoor (2017), 25 Highest Paying Jobs in America: Physician Assistant ranked in the top 10 highest paying jobs in the nation (and, with more position openings than any other professions on the list)
- Glassdoor, 25 Best Jobs in America: The Physician Assistant profession rated as the Number 1 best job based on number of job openings, average base salary, and career opportunities.
- Linked-In (2017), 20 Most Promising Jobs: Physician Assistant ranked as 13th most promising job of 2017.
- U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics: "Employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 30 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. As demand for healthcare services grows, physician assistants will be needed to provide care to patients."
- USA Today, Where the Jobs Are: Physician Assistant positions are rated among the best jobs with the highest growth and wage prospects
What types of duties do PAs perform?
- Interview patients & document medical histories
- Conduct complete, focused, & specialty physical examinations
- Order & interpret laboratory, imaging, & procedural tests
- Diagnose conditions & illnesses
- Develop, implement, & assess treatment plans, including writing prescriptions
- Counsel & educate patients
- Perform office based procedures
- Assist in surgeries
What type of patients do PAs treat?
- PAs work in every primary care and specialty setting
- The patients they evaluate & treat differ from one setting to another
- PAs are trained, certified, and licensed to treat patients of all ages and in all settings
- In many outpatient settings, PA's 'follow' & treat their own panel of patients
Where do PAs practice medicine?
PAs practice every specialty and in every setting where medical practitioners are needed, including, but not limited to: office based private practice; hospital based practice; federal facilities; community health centers; occupational health practices; student health centers; extended care facilities; ambulatory surgical centers; behavioral health facilities; free clinics; rehabilitation facilities; home health care and hospice care. PAs practice in every state in the Nation and also practice throughout the world. The 2014 Statistical Profile of Certified Physician Assistants provided the following breakdown of PA practice areas:
- Primary Care Family Medicine: 19.7%
- Surgical Specialties: 19.5%
- Emergency Medicine: 13.8%
- Primary Care Internal Medicine & Internal Medicine Specialties: 12.1%
- Dermatology: 4.4%
- Hospital Medicine: 3.1%
- General Surgery: 2.1%
- Pediatrics: 1.8%
- Women's Health (OBGYN): 1.4%
- Urology: 1.4%
For More Information About the PA Profession
For more information about PAs and the PA profession, please see the following resources:
For More Information About PA Education & Certification
National and State News About PAs and the PA Profession