School of Health Professions
HomeHealth ProfessionsPhysician Assistant

The Profession

Physician Assistants (PAs) are educated through academic and clinical training as medical providers who are licensed to practice medicine as part of the healthcare team. Working under the direction of physicians, PAs can:

  • Take medical histories
  • Perform physical examinations
  • Order and interpret diagnostic tests
  • Diagnose and treat illnesses
  • Write Prescriptions
  • Counsel patients on preventative care
  • Assist in surgery

A PA exercises considerable autonomy in medical decision making, but the supervising physician and state law determine the scope of the PA’s practice. PAs deliver healthcare to diverse patients of all ages and a variety of medical settings.

The PA profession has been named by several top media outlets, including Forbes and USA Today, as the most promising job in America. The demand for PAs increased more than 300 percent from 2011 to 2014, according to the healthcare search firm Merritt Hawkins.