What does a Physician Assistant do?
Physician Assistants can work in any medical specialty to provide basic care to patients. Their duties vary depending on what kind of Physician they report to. Many Physician Assistants work under Primary Care Practitioners to provide basic medical care, handling common issues on their own and seeking guidance from the Physician on complex problems. They meet with patients, perform physicals, discuss symptoms and educate them on their condition. Physician Assistants can also work with specialists and perform duties within their scope of care, for example providing support to Surgeons during surgical procedures and performing skin biopsies when working with Dermatologists.
Physician Assistant skills and qualifications
Physician Assistants need a variety of skills, including:
- Strong verbal and written communication
- Excellent attention to detail
- Knowledge of diagnostic equipment and procedures
- Good interpersonal skills
- Critical-thinking and problem-solving skills
- Ability to move and manipulate patients
- PA state license
- Ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment
- Computer literacy
Physician Assistant salary expectations
A Physician Assistant makes an average of $106,497 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.
Physician Assistant education and training requirements
Physician Assistants need to have a master’s degree in Physician Assistant studies. Programs usually last two years, and students need a bachelor’s degree to enter the program. During the program, students receive a mix of classroom instruction and clinical experience. Upon graduating, they need to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination to earn a state license to practice. PAs need to complete continuing education in order to maintain licensure. When a Physician Assistant wants to specialize, they usually need to complete a residency and get a certification.
Physician Assistant experience requirements
Entry-level PAs need no work experience since they get clinical training in school. Physician Assistants who pursue a specialty typically need to undergo a residency program lasting between one and two years. Those who manage or lead other PAs should have at least five years of experience. Employers who need Physician Assistants to complete a wide range of highly complicated duties could also require at least five years of experience.
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