The PA Profession

What is a physician assistant?

  • A physician assistant (or PA) is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional.
  • PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers.
  • They practice and prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories, with the exception of Puerto Rico.
  • As a respected healthcare provider, you will enjoy an exciting and fulfilling career as a PA. The physician assistant profession is one of the fastest growing healthcare careers nationwide.

The PA Profession at a Glance

What can a physician assistant do?

PAs can:

  • Take a medical history
  • Conduct physical exams
  • Diagnose and treat illnesses
  • Order and interpret tests
  • Develop treatment plans
  • Counsel on preventive care
  • Assist in surgery
  • Write prescriptions
  • Make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes

PAs’ specific duties depend on:

  • The setting in which they work
  • Their level of experience
  • Their specialty
  • State law in which they work

Where can a physician assistant work?

PAs work in all specialties and settings. They treat patients in:

  • Hospitals
  • Physician offices
  • Rural and urban community health centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Retail clinics
  • Schools and university-based facilities
  • Industrial settings
  • Correctional institutions
  • The uniformed services and other federal government agencies

For more information, go to the American Academy of Physician Assistants website.

Career Outlook

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Physician Assistant has a projected growth of 38% for 2012-2022. PAs work in any field of medicine (i.e. primary care, internal medicine, internal medicine specialties (i.e. cardiology, endocrinology), surgery, orthopedics, women’s health, pediatrics, emergency medicine, and mental health) under the supervision of a physician. The median pay for a PA in Primary Care in 2015 was $98,180 and in Connecticut was $111,200. For more information, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook.

USA Today
According to USA Today: Where the jobs are: Hot prospects for college grads, "Out of all high-skill occupations expected to grow at least 5% by 2017, physician assistant positions are among the jobs with both the highest growth and wage prospects."

U.S. News
U.S. News Ranks PA as #3 in Best Jobs in 2017.