Interested in a medical career with more advanced training than a registered nurse, but less than a doctor? Consider becoming a physician assistant, or PA. Under a physician's supervision, PAs examine and diagnose patients' injuries or illnesses, treat and educate patients, and prescribe medicine. A PA does many of the same tasks a doctor does, from setting broken bones, to ordering x rays and blood tests. Physician assistants work in all areas of medicine, including primary care and family medicine, emergency medicine, psychiatry, and surgery-where they assist physicians during procedures. Like other medical professionals, PAs spend significant time reviewing patient records and documenting patients' progress. Most physician assistants work in healthcare clinics and hospitals. Spending many hours each day on their feet to make rounds and examine patients, the work can be physically demanding. Most PAs work full time, and may work nights, holidays, and weekends. Some are required to work on-call shifts, ready to respond to patient needs at any time. They may make house calls or visit nursing homes to treat patients. A master's degree and license are required to enter the field. PAs bring healing and help to patients, while continuously learning from the skilled physicians in their midst, and from the patients who depend on their skills.
What they do:
Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.
On the job, you would:
Examine patients to obtain information about their physical condition.
Make tentative diagnoses and decisions about management and treatment of patients.
Prescribe therapy or medication with physician approval.
medicine and dentistry
therapy and counseling
Math and Science
Arts and Humanities
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
use rules to solve problems
quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things
quickly know what you are looking at
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
Concern for Others
You might use software like this on the job:
Healthcare common procedure coding system HCPCS
Medical procedure coding software
Office suite software
master's degree or bachelor's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.