What does a Physician Assistant do?

Physician assistants work under the supervision of a physician or surgeon in all areas and fields of medicine to examine, diagnose, and treat patients or offer surgical assistance.

Physician assistants interview and examine patients and diagnose their injuries and illnesses and help provide the treatment plan when necessary. They will order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe medications, and suggest lifestyle changes or alterations when medically necessary. A physician assistant can also stitch wounds, set broken bones, and assist with surgery and operational procedures, as well as administer immunizations. They work on the maintenance of patient records and medical histories, and review and record patient progress. They work in all medical settings, including a primary care or family physician offices, and psychiatry or surgery departments. Some make house calls or conduct home or nursing home visits to treat patients on site. Physician assistants need a master's degree, patient care experience, and to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) as well as state mandated licensing and certification if required.

What responsibilities are common for Physician Assistant jobs?
  • Perform approved procedures as indicated in the Delineation of Privileges (DOP).
  • Assist in the preparation of documentation especially for the admissions process.
  • Participate in required meetings and ceremonies.
  • Perform bedside procedures as are appropriate to the patient population.
  • Monitor patients and collect information for documentation in patient record.
  • Order, interpret, and evaluate appropriate laboratory and diagnostic tests.
  • Operate patient monitoring systems specific to unit needs (such as, cardiac monitoring).
  • Prepare admissions reports by collecting, analyzing, and summarizing data and trends.
  • Assist in the development of laboratory exercises matching course objectives.
  • Perform splinting, casting based upon instruction and departmental competency assessment applies plaster and fiberglass splints, and traction devices.
  • Perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, such as aspirations and injection of joints, bursas, and cysts.
  • Responsible for the delivery of quality care to patients under varied conditions.
  • Consistently provide high quality and timely documentation including admission and progress notes, procedure notes, operative notes and discharge summaries.
  • Triage and manage patients thoroughly and efficiently, maintain, a steady flow to avoid long wait times.
  • Review and manage daily tasks, patient callbacks, and lab results while on shift.
  • Provide oversight and lead day to day operations, as sole provider and serve as expert by consulting, coaching and training advanced practice clinicians.
  • Work under the supervision of an attending physician and report directly to the department administrator or chief physician assistant administratively.
  • Order medications and write prescriptions according to organizational and regulatory policies and procedures.
What are the typical qualifications for Physician Assistant jobs?
  • Bachelor's Degree in health science or nursing and certification as a physician assistant.
  • Strong leadership, critical thinking, and collaboration skills.
  • Prior experience as a consultant.
  • Comfortable making decisions and solving problems.
  • Work with confidence and dexterity.
  • Fluent in HIPAA protocols and practices.
  • Experience in stressful environments such as an ICU.
  • Experience interacting with patients for processes such as injections, suturing, or wound closure.
  • Sound attention to detail and judgment.
EducationGraduate Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.5 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.6 ★
Avg. Experience0-1 Year

Physician Assistant Salaries

Average Base Pay

$4,102 /month
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
See More Insights
Not enough salaries reported to show distribution
$4K
Median: $4K
$4K
See More Insights
Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Physician Assistant Career Path

Learn how to become a Physician Assistant, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

L2
Physician Assistant
No Salary Reports
L3
L4
L2

Average Years of Experience

0 - 1
51%
2 - 4
27%
5 - 7
1%
8+
21%
Not including years spent in education and/or training
See Career Path

Physician Assistant Insights

Read what Physician Assistant professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
North American Spine and Pain (NJ)North American Spine and Pain (NJ)
Physician Assistant
13 June 2022

“I have been here almost 2 years and I am looking forward to spending my future career with NASPAC!”

Penda AikenPenda Aiken
Physician Assistant
25 June 2022

“The pay was great but I felt like I had to work hard to ensure I got my check every two weeks.”

WellNow Urgent CareWellNow Urgent Care
Physician Assistant and Manager
16 Sept 2020

“I am autonomous and respected as a provider and always feel supported.”

Morgan StanleyMorgan Stanley
Urgent Care Physician
22 May 2020

“It was really great and fun.”

Revere HealthRevere Health
Physician Assistant
28 Apr 2021

“It is a salary position and not tied to how many pts I see in a day.”

CarePoint HealthCarePoint Health
Physician Assistant
5 Nov 2020

“Gave up multiple opportunities to work elsewhere because I had signed a contract and made a commitment to Carepoint.”

ConcentraConcentra
Physician Assistant
13 July 2021

“I've been here 2 1/2 years and feel the compensation is well above industry average.”

Cascadia EyeCascadia Eye
Ophthalmic Scribe
8 June 2022

“I have always felt appreciated here and have been generously compensated for my work (especially considering I started with zero experience and was offered on”

See More

Physician Assistant Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of physician assistants

Physician assistants work under a doctor to provide patient care. These professionals are qualified to do much of the work a doctor does. A typical day of a physician assistant includes seeing and treating patients, prescribing some medication, and ordering lab tests.

Physician assistant is a top career in the United States. U.S. News lists it as #1 in Best Jobs, #1 in STEM careers, and #1 in Best Healthcare Jobs. Physician assistant job satisfaction centers around a good work-life balance, excellent salary, and chance to help people.

As with all healthcare jobs, working as a physician assistant comes with both high stress and high rewards. When researching how to become a physician assistant, remember that depending on where they work, physician assistants may need to clock long shifts on their feet.

Related Careers

Ct Technologist
Mri Technologist
$111,500
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
$102,865
Radiologic Technologist
$50,000

Physician Assistant jobs