What is a physician assistant? is a question often asked by those interested in a medical career, but who are considering roles other than a full doctor. A physician assistant, who performs nearly 80 percent same responsibilities as of a doctor, works under a licensed physician. The duties of a physician assistant depend on the type of practice or facility and the respective state law. But basic duties of this medical professional include diagnosing illnesses, conducting checkups, performing examinations, taking medical histories and prescribe medicines, where allowed by law. Though physician assistants works under supervision and can’t practice independently, but mostly are seen working independently in hospitals.
A physician assistant may order X-rays and tests, apply casts or splints, suture, and, may act as a primary doctor or care provider in some rural areas where a licensed physician is available only in certain week days. These are considered extended duties of PAs. However, it’s necessary for a PA to work under licensed physician’s supervision. Minimum requirement to become a PA is to complete a 2-year program (full-time course) that finishes in an associate degree. He/she needs to pass an examination administered by the NCCPA, called the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination.
And if you are asking, what is a physician assistant? then you may also be interested to know what it takes to become one. The continuing education requirements are determined by the individual state laws for a physician assistant that may involve a recertification exam and 100 hours of continuing education. Every candidate should have a direct patient contact experience for minimum of 1,400-hour to qualify for certificate training. This is highly recommended. A certified physician assistant is allowed to work in any registered nursing home, rehabilitation center, surgeon or physician’s office, military, prison or clinic.
The average annual salary of this medical professional is between $35,000 to $60,000, depending on the type of practice or facility and the state where he/she starts working. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirm an annual increase of around 39 percent in national employment from 2008 to 2018 for this job category. Physician assistants get highest salary in Nevada where they get around $103,500 annually, while offices of physicians are top employment providers to PAs in United States. Hopefully this information can help to answer anyone who asks, “What is a physician assistant?”