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Physician Assistant (PA)
|Overview:||Physician assistants (PAs) practice medicine under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. Working as members of a healthcare team, they take medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret laboratory tests and x rays, and make diagnoses. PAs are formally trained to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive healthcare services, as delegated by a physician. PAs may be the principal care providers where a physician is present for only 1 or 2 days each week. Many PAs work in primary care specialties, such as general internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. Other specialty areas include general and thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, orthopedics, and geriatrics. PAs specializing in surgery provide preoperative and postoperative care and may work as first or second assistants during major surgery.|
|Duties:||PA’s responsibilities depend on the type of practice, his or her experience, the working relationship with physicians and other health care providers, and state laws.
They interview patients in order to make a record of their past medical histories, family health problems that could be hereditary and past surgeries.
They give patients complete physical examinations to note their symptoms and vital signs. Request laboratory tests and x-rays to assist in diagnosis. Study patient test results.
They also treat minor injuries by suturing, splinting, and casting.
PAs record progress notes, instruct and counsel patients, and order or carry out therapy. Physician assistants also may prescribe certain medications.
In some establishments, a PA is responsible for managerial duties, such as ordering medical supplies or equipment and supervising medical technicians and assistants.
|Degree(s):||A.S. Health Sciences
A.S. Liberal Arts and Sciences (Mathematics and Science)
|Job Outlook:||Employment of physician assistants is expected to grow faster than average through 2018 to provide primary care and to assist with medical and surgical procedures to cut costs. Healthcare providers will use more physician assistants as States continue to expand PAs’ scope of practice by allowing them to perform more procedures. Best opportunities are in institutional settings such as hospitals, academic medical centers, public clinics, and prisons.|
|Salary Range (National Average):||$60,000 to $66,000|
|Education Level:||Candidates for this occupation generally have completed their Bachelor’s Degree and have continued their education either 1 or 2 years longer.|
|Additional Training/Education:||Almost all states require that physician assistants (PA) complete a 2-year PA specialized training program in a medical school or in a 4-year university and pass a state examination. Admission to a PA training program usually requires 2 years of basic college studies. Most applicants for PA training have a Bachelor's or Master's degree. Rotation assignments with physicians prior to employment are typical. Certification is required.|
Understanding acquiring positions in this field may be enhanced through continuing academic study (i.e. earning a baccalaureate or a master's degree) and/or work experience in the field, Queensborough Community College has established transfer agreements with other institutions for students who wish to further pursue their educational goals. Students are highly encouraged to meet with one of our Career Services Advisor to fully understand the opportunities available through study in their degree program.