I. An overview of the profession
According to U.S. News and World Report's
2014 "100 Best Jobs" ranking, physician assistant (PA) is one of the top 15 best jobs in America. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 30% job growth rate for the profession through 2020.
There are many reasons for the career's appeal:
• The average length of a PA program is 27-30 months.
• Average starting salary is $90,000.
• It offers flexibility to practice in different areas of medicine without additional education and training
Physician assistants can practice and prescribe medicine in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (regulations vary by state) under the license of a physician and can work in a variety of health care settings. Although PAs are trained as generalists in medicine, they can also work in specialty areas of medicine. PAs are formally trained to provide diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic services, as designated by a licensed physician.
Working as members of the health care team, PAs may also:
• Diagnose illness and disease
• Examine and treat patients
• Instruct and counsel patients
• Order or carry out therapies
• Order and interpret lab tests and X-rays
• Prescribe medications
• Record progress notes
• Take medical histories
• Treat injuries by suturing, splinting and casting
• Perform or assist in surgeries
PAs also may have managerial duties, order medical and lab supplies and equipment or supervise technicians and assistants. While PAs practice under the license of a physician, they may also be the principal care providers in practices where a physician may be present for only one or two days each week. In such cases, the PA confers with the supervising physician and other medical professionals as needed or as required by law. PAs may also make house calls or go to hospitals and nursing homes to check on patients and report back to the physician.
To learn more, watch a video profile about physician assistants (located in the Health Science category).
Physician assistants usually work in a comfortable, well-lighted environment. Those in surgery often stand for long periods, and others may do considerable walking.
Schedules vary according to practice setting, and often depend on the hours of the supervising physician. A PA's workweek may include weekends, nights, early morning hospital rounds to visit patients or being on call for emergencies. Physician assistants who work in clinics usually work a 40-hour week.
II. PA Studies at CBU
For complete information on the graduate PA program at CBU, please see www.cbu.edu/pa
III. Contact information regarding careers as a Physician Assistant
American Academy of Physician Assistants -- http://www.aapa.org/
Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) -- http://www.caspaonline.org
Listing of PA programs, locations and credentials offered -- http://www.aapa.org/pgmlist.php3
Physician Assistant Education Association -- http://www.PAEAonline.org
Physician Assistant Program Directory -- http://www.paeaonline.org/paprogramsdirectory.html
Physician Assistants—National PA Page -- http://www.halcyon.com//physasst/
Contact information at CBU:
Dr. Stan Eisen, Director of Pre-Professional Health Programs