What do physician assistants do?
They practice medicine under the supervision of a physician. They take comprehensive histories, perform complete physical examinations, order and interpret laboratory tests, diagnose and treat illnesses, develop treatment plans, counsel patients and their families, perform minor procedures, and assist in surgery.
Where are physician assistants employed?
You can find physician assistants in virtually any medical setting where you might find a physician. They work in private physician offices and clinics, hospital inpatient and emergency departments and mental health facilities. They are employed by individual physicians, medical groups, hospitals, clinics and federal agencies.
What does the future look like?
Physician assistants are listed as the seventh fastest growing profession in the United States per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They estimate an additional 29,000 PAs will be needed by 2018. A recent report in Money Magazine listed the PA profession as the third most desirable profession in the U.S. Data from the American Association of Physician Assistants' 2009 Annual Survey lists the average annual salary for all PAs to be $85,700.
To learn more about the field of Physician Assistant Studies, visit the American Academy of Physician Assistants.