What is a Physician’s Assistant?

Physician's AssistantStudents interested in entering the healthcare industry often ask the question, “What is a Physician’s Assistant?” Whenever you must attend school to become a professional within a certain vocation or occupation, it is important to know what you will do, what demand looks like in the field, and how much you can expect to earn with a degree and experience. By doing this, you can make sure that you put the degree that you choose to use immediately after graduation. Here is your guide to the title of Physician’s Assistant so that you can make an informed decision.

What Does a Physician’s Assistant Do?

A physician’s assistant is part of a team of doctors and nurses. As a licensed medical professional, a physician’s assistant, more commonly referred to as a PA, can perform various physical examinations and treat illnesses under the supervision of a doctor. The procedures that a physician assistant can perform vary from state to state, but it is common for physician assistant to assist in surgery and provide patients with information and counseling within a medical office environment. All states also allow physician assistants to prescribe patients with medication and provide specific types of patient education.

How Do You Become a Physician’s Assistant?

Physician assistants play a major role in the medical system, and with so many understaffed hospitals, medical offices and clinics in the nation, demand for physician assistants is high. Since you will play an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients, you must complete a physician assistant education program at an accredited school. The programs average in length, but the average student will complete school in 27 months. Upon completion of the training program, physician assistant students will then need to complete 2000 hours of clinical study within a primary care facility or clinic. This will be the start of a physician assistant’s lifelong learning. Once the clinical hours have been completed, you will be eligible to test for licensing within the state. All physician assistants are required to complete at least 100 hours of continuing education every two years to stay up-to-date in the field of medicine.

Related Resource: Physician Assistant Programs

Demand and Salary Ranges

Demand for physician assistants is on a rise, with the Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicting that the field will grow by 38% by the year 2022. With the need for medical care growing and the population of baby boomers living longer than ever, students who want to work in the medical field can benefit from studying to become a physician’s assistant. Currently, the average salary in the field is $90,930 per year, but this salary can be higher or lower depending on your experience and location. It is important to compare different openings in different medical settings to find the best compensation possible.

The physician assistant is at the center of the team model to providing high-quality medical care. If you want to treat patients, but you do not want to study to become a physician, becoming a physician assistant is a great and very reasonable alternative where you are not required to earn your PhD.