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.

Click Here to Watch the AAPA's Video, "What is a PA?"

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:

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%

 Click Here to Read the AAPA's Annual Survey Report for PA's

 Click Here to See the Practice Profile for Virginia PAs

For More Information About PA Education & Certification

Emory, Va. Campus: P.O. Box 947, Emory, Va. 24327 (map)    276.944.4121
Marion, Va. Campus: 565 Radio Hill Rd., Marion, Va. 24354 (map)    276.944.6342 ·  276.781.7200