Physician Assistant

What is a Physician Assistant?

Physician Assistants do many of the same things that doctors do.  The medical profession largely involves the caring for and comforting of people and animals using scientifically determined ethical methods and procedures.  The human element is as important as the scientific one, with physicians and physician assistants making decisions based on what is best for the patient when all factors are considered.  To do that, Physician Assistants diagnose illnesses, develop treatment plans, prescribe medications, and sometimes are the patient’s principal healthcare provider.  Ordinarily, they work in conjunction with and under the supervision of an MD or group of MDs, depending on their geographical location.

In most places, Physician Assistants are required to have a Master’s degree in some kind of Physician Assistants program, after earning a bachelor’s degree in one of the sciences.  Some programs, which will probably take 2-3 years to complete, also require candidates to have work experience that involves patient care in a medical setting before applying. Training in this field includes many of the same experiences as medical school students with lots of hands-on experiences, plus you may be able to specialize just like doctors do. You’ll probably need a certification and/or a license to practice, depending on where you’re located. A majority of Physician Assistants are employed in doctor’s offices or hospitals, although some opportunities exist in specialized agencies where prospective applicants have health assessments done.  The outlook for the field looks good over the next 10 years or so as the need for medical care increases with the increasing senior citizen population.  Physician Assistants who are employed in primary care doctors’ offices are generalists; others may work primarily in specialties like dermatology, orthopedics, neurosurgery, psychiatry, urology, nephrology, and many others.

What Degrees Relate to Careers in Physician Assistant?