What does a Physician Assistant do?

Physician Assistants are medical professionals who work with doctors to perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications, order and analyze lab tests, perform procedures, assist in surgery and educate and counsel patients. The education of a physician assistant is very similar to that of medical students. As a result, physician assistants do their clinical fieldwork in a variety of different areas and are found in many different and diverse departments throughout a hospital.

Types of Work Environments

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes

Education and Training Requirements

The average length of a physician assistant program is about two years. This includes a rigorous course of classroom-based study, which covers many different scientific disciplines. Physician assistants must also complete 2,000 hours of clinical rotations in various settings such as family medicine, gynecology, surgery, emergency medicine, and psychiatry. Additionally, physician assistants must complete 100 hours of continuing education every two years.

Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary of a  physician assistant is approximately $86,410 per year.

Professional Organization

American Academy of Physician Assistants