Advertisement

What is a physician assistant?

As their title suggests, physician assistants, or PAs, assist doctors with patient care.

Physician assistants are licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. Training for physician assistants, which includes classroom and laboratory instruction across a wide range of medical specialties, typically takes two to three years. Most physician assistant programs are graduate-level programs, which require a bachelor's degree for admittance. All physician assistants must pass a certification exam to receive their license and take ongoing continuing medical education (CME) courses throughout their careers.

Physician assistants provide care by performing exams and some types of procedures, taking medical histories, ordering diagnostic tests and treatments, making diagnoses, prescribing medications and making referrals to other specialists. Many physician assistants work in primary care clinics, and as active members of other providers’ health care teams.

A physician assistant (PA) is a health professional who practices medicine with the supervision of a licensed physician. PAs work in primary care or more specialized areas such as cardiothoracic surgery.

Continue Learning about Healthcare Basics

4 Smart Steps to Prevent Weekend Medical Mistakes
4 Smart Steps to Prevent Weekend Medical Mistakes
The eagle flies on Friday declared T-Bone Walker in the 1947 hit tune "Stormy Monday." That blues-y phrase means Friday equals payday—and that equals ...
Read More
What are prescription drug monitoring programs?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) are state-run electronic databases used to track the p...
More Answers
5 Bogus Health Tips
5 Bogus Health Tips5 Bogus Health Tips5 Bogus Health Tips5 Bogus Health Tips
These common health rules may not be as accurate as you think. By Olivia DeLong  Don't swim right after you eat. Never go outside with wet hair. We'v...
Start Slideshow
What Is the Mission of the Health Matters Initiative?
What Is the Mission of the Health Matters Initiative?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.