PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS (PA's) provide healthcare services supervised by physicians. They provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive healthcare services. They obtain medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret lab tests and x-rays, diagnosis, and prescribe medications. They treat minor injuries, such as cuts, burns, lacerations, abrasions, and other minor problems. They record progress notes, instruct and counsel patients, and order or carry out therapy. Some may order medical and lab supplies and equipment, and supervise technicians and assistants.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $82,500 average per year ($39.75 per hour)
- A medium occupation (81,400 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow rapidly (3.9% per year)
Most states require new PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS to complete an accredited formal education program. Admission into programs usually require two years of college and some experience in healthcare. Programs are offered in schools of allied health, academic health centers, medical schools, 4-year colleges, community colleges, hospitals, and the military. Physician assistants must be certified. Candidates must be graduates of an accredited PA program and pass an exam given by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.