Physician Assistant Job Description

A physician assistant (PA) is a medical professional who works with doctors. PAs are very smart and know about many different things. They work in all 50 states and territories and can work in hospitals or other places too.

woman in white button up shirt and blue stethoscope

Physician assistants work in all 50 states and territories and practice in every hospital setting, including rural hospitals.


PAs are trained to provide health care services independently or alongside physicians but can prescribe medications independently with some restrictions on PAs practicing in certain states with limitations. PAs usually complete 3 years undergraduate coursework, followed by 27 months of PA school during which they study anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology/pharmacotherapy and clinical medicine through case studies.Most graduate physicians have both an M.D., Doctor of Medicine Degree or DDS Doctorate.


As many as 19 states were considering passing legislation to allow physician assistants be able to prescribe medication independently without supervision.


Physician assistants are the only healthcare professionals who were awarded a recommendation in every State Medicaid plan for their proposed role as primary care providers. In 2010, there were an estimated 96,000 physician assistants employed nationwide. Physician assistants positions are expected to grow at 15% per year between now and 2016.


Physician assistants are skilled, clinical professionals who work under the supervision of physicians and other healthcare providers to diagnose, treat, order treatments and procedures for patients in all areas of medicine. They examine, assess and treat patients as delegated by a physician or other licensed health care provider.

Statistics on Physician Assistants


  • A 2014 Harris Poll found that 92 percent of Americans who have seen a PA or have a family member who has seen a PA said that having a PA makes it easier to get a medical appointment. (
  • The demand for PAs increased more than 300 percent from 2011 to 2014, according to the healthcare search firm Merritt Hawkins. (
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the profession will increase 31 percent from 2018 to 2028, significantly faster than the average for all occupations. (
  • The survey found that 93 percent regard PAs as trusted healthcare providers and 91 percent believe that PAs improve the quality of healthcare. (
  • In 2019, PAs held over 104,000 jobs, with hospitals employing 41.1% of PAs and office-based private practices employing 38.6%. (
  • 5.2% were employed in federal government facilities, 4.8% in community health centers or rural health clinics, and 4.6% in urgent cares. (
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 31% job growth rate for the profession through 2029. (
  • The median salary is $112,260, according to the BLS. (
  • Median Pay $115,390 per year $55.48 per hour Typical Entry-Level Education Work Experience in a Related Occupation On-the-job Training Number of Jobs, 2019 Job Outlook, 2019-29 31% (Much faster than average) Employment Change, 2019-29 (
  • Employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 31 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. (

Articles On Physician Assistants


What is a PA? Learn more about the PA profession - AAPA

What is a PA? PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and more. (

Physician Assistant

In its 2016 ranking of best health care jobs, U.S. News and World Report ranked physician assistant (PA) fourth in best health care jobs. (

Physician Assistants : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Physician assistants practice medicine on teams with physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare workers. (

Become a PA: Getting Your Prerequisites and Certification - AAPA

A PA is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional. Learn about PA school and how to get and maintain your certification. (

Physician Assistant - Career Rankings, Salary, Reviews and Advice ...

Physician assistants diagnose illnesses, develop and carry out treatment plans, assist in surgeries, perform procedures and guide patients. Their work is very ... (


Physician assistant - Wikipedia (


What is a Physician Assistant?

Physician assistants are integral members of the health care team in many hospitals and clinical practices. The role of the physician assistant (PA) is to practice medicine under the direction and (


Best Physician Assistant Programs - Top Health Schools - US News ...

Physician assistants have many of the same responsibilities as doctors, though they work under a physician's or surgeon's supervision. A PA can diagnose a ... (


AMA Delegates Pan Physician Assistants' Name Change Announcement

'We call this 'Scope-A-Dope'' (



CASPA is a service of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), the only national organization representing physician assistant (PA) educational programs since 2001. CASPA simplifies the PA school application process by allowing you to apply to multiple programs with only one applicatio... (


Physician Organizations Challenge PA Name Change

The AMA and AOA release statements against the rebrand (


What Is a Physician Assistant?

A physician assistant is a medical professional who practices under the direction of a licensed physician. Learn about physician assistants and how to become one. (


Physician Assistant - College of Nursing and Health Professions (


Physician Assistants at My Next Move (


Physician Assistant - Explore Health Care Careers - Mayo Clinic College of Medicine & Science

Learn about a health care career as a physician assistant, including what they do, where they work, and training programs at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. (


Physician Assistant Advisory Committee

New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (

Additional Resources on Physician Assistants

The following is a list of resources available for physicians, other healthcare professionals, patients and others interested in physician assistants.

Find information on certification requirements for physician assistants, the national examination and practice guidelines. Physician assistant handbook contains a wealth of information essential to practicing as a PA.

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