Physician Assistants

Health Science > Therapeutic Services

Projected Growth: Much faster than average

Projected Job Openings

Extensive Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to 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.

Common job titles of Physician Assistants include:

Experience and Education

Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.

  • 50% said they needed a Master's Degree.

  • 30% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.


    Prescribe therapy or medication with physician approval.

    Visit and observe patients on hospital rounds or house calls, updating charts, ordering therapy, and reporting back to physician.

    Interpret diagnostic test results for deviations from normal.

    Obtain, compile, and record patient medical data, including health history, progress notes and results of physical examination.

    Administer or order diagnostic tests, such as x-ray, electrocardiogram, and laboratory tests.

    Examine patients to obtain information about their physical condition.

    Make tentative diagnoses and decisions about management and treatment of patients.

    Instruct and counsel patients about prescribed therapeutic regimens, normal growth and development, family planning, emotional problems of daily living, and health maintenance.

    Supervise and coordinate activities of technicians and technical assistants.

    Provide physicians with assistance during surgery or complicated medical procedures.

    Perform therapeutic procedures, such as injections, immunizations, suturing and wound care, and infection management.

    Order medical and laboratory supplies and equipment.


X ray machines

Walking braces


Videoconferencing equipment

Vascular straight aortic clamps

Vaginal specula

Tuberculin TB skin test equipment

All Tools


Tracheal suctioning equipment


Tongue blades

Tong traction devices

Therapeutic treadmill exercisers

Tablet computers

Swan catheters

Suturing needles

Suture scissors

Surgical curettes

Subcutaneous hypodermic needles

Subclavian lines



Slit lamps

Scalpel handles

Scalpel blades


Reflex hammers

Pulmonary function testing PFT equipment

Portable satellite telehealth terminals

Plastic surgery lasers

Personal digital assistants PDA

Personal computers




Operating microscopes

Notebook computers

Needle holders


Nasogastric tubes

Nail probes

Nail nippers

Mosquito artery forceps

Microscope slides

Medical magnetic resonance imaging MRI machines

Mechanical stethoscopes

Manual blood pressure units

Lumbar puncture equipment

Life support for trauma and transport LSTAT intensive care units

Laser printers


Knee braces

Intravenous IV equipment

Intramuscular needles

Intracranial pressure monitors

Intra-aortic balloon pumps IABP

Interthercal therapy equipment

Holter monitors

High-frequency ventilators

Harvester rods

Halo fixation devices



Eye charts

Evacuated blood collection tubes

Endoscopic camera/video systems

Electronic blood pressure monitors

Electrocautery devices

Electrocardiography EKG units

Doppler vascular equipment

Doppler ultrasound fetascopes

Dissector rods



Chest tubes

Cervical collars

Central venous pressure lines

Cast removal saws


Bull dog nose clamps

Breath alcohol testers

Bone marrow biopsy equipment

Blood collection syringes

Blood collection needles

Binocular light compound microscopes


Aspirating needles

Artery forceps

Arterial line catheters

Arterial blood gas monitoring equipment


Anesthesia ventilators

Anesthesia equipment


Healthcare common procedure coding system HCPCS

Medical condition coding software

MEDITECH software

ChartWare EMR

Electronic medical record EMR software

Medical procedure coding software

Patient records software for personal digital assistants PDAs

All Technologies

Spreadsheet software

Teleconferencing software

Teleradiology systems


Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Systems Evaluation

Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.


Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.


Teaching others how to do something.


Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

See details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Sensory Abilities › Visual Abilities › Near Vision

Generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Category Flexibility

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