Pre-physician Assistant

Physician assistants (PAs) are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs:

  • Conduct physical exams
  • Diagnose and treat illnesses
  • Order and interpret tests
  • Counsel on preventive health care
  • Assist in surgery
  • Write prescriptions (in most states)

Physician assistants are found in all areas of medicine. Today, over 50 percent of all physician assistants practice what is known as "primary care medicine" - that is family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology. About 19 percent are in surgery or the surgical subspecialties.

Physician assistants receive a broad education in medicine. Their education is ongoing after graduation through continuing medical education requirements and continual interaction with physicians and other health care providers.