Physician Assistants (PAs) are licensed medical professionals found across the full range of medical and surgical specialties and health care settings. Trained to offer many of the same services as physicians, PAs work within heath care teams to offer patients care across the lifespan.
With the country's shortage of primary care physicians, PAs are gaining more prevalence. In many health care settings, patients work closely with a PA in lieu of seeing a generalist physician which decreases many of the obstacles that stand between individuals and medical care. PAs can work autonomously or can lead health care teams.
PAs may be responsible for the following services:
taking patient histories;
performing physician exams;
diagnosing medical conditions and ordering tests;
developing treatment plans and prescribing medications; and
PA education is much like that of a physician, but where a typical medical degree can take up to 10 years to complete, a PA program can often be completed in 24–28 months. PA curricula are general, with coursework that prepares students to diagnose and treat illness and disease across the life span.
PA students also complete clinical rotations in various health care settings. As with any medical program, hands-on experience with patients is critical to any PA program's curriculum.
After graduation, candidates pursue PANCE certification and state licensure.
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Yale Physician Assistant Online program ponsored by Yale School of Medicine. To be eligible for PANCE, you must graduate from a program accredited by the ARC-PA as a Physician Assistant Program. PA program graduates will be deemed to have graduated from an accredited program if their PA educational program was accredited at the time of their matriculation.
Why Become a PA?
PAs are in great demand, and job satisfaction among PAs is very high.
In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked physician assistant #3 in its list, The 100 Best Jobs, citing job satisfaction among PAs, high salary, and low unemployment.