Physician Assistants

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • Anesthesiologist Assistant
  • Anesthetic Assistant
  • Cardiology Physician Assistant
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery Physician Assistant
  • Cardiovascular Physician Assistant
  • Certified Physician's Assistant
  • Dermatology Physician Assistant
  • Doctor
  • Doctor Assistant
  • Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant

What They Do

  • Order medical and laboratory supplies and equipment.
  • Supervise and coordinate activities of technicians and technical assistants.
  • Visit and observe patients on hospital rounds or house calls, updating charts, ordering therapy, and reporting back to physician.
  • Provide physicians with assistance during surgery or complicated medical procedures.
  • Instruct and counsel patients about prescribed therapeutic regimens, normal growth and development, family planning, emotional problems of daily living, and health maintenance.
  • Perform therapeutic procedures, such as injections, immunizations, suturing and wound care, and infection management.
  • Administer or order diagnostic tests, such as x-ray, electrocardiogram, and laboratory tests.
  • Prescribe therapy or medication with physician approval.
  • Make tentative diagnoses and decisions about management and treatment of patients.
  • Obtain, compile and record patient medical data, including health history, progress notes and results of physical examination.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: ISR.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Investigative interests, but also prefer Social and Realistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Working Conditions and Achievement in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • 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.
  • Speaking - 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.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

LMI Region

Wages

In 2013, the average annual wage in United States was $94,350 with most people making between $62,030 and $130,620

Outlook

2.41%
avg. annual growth

During 2010, this occupation employed approximately 83,000 people in United States. It is projected that there will be 108,000 employed in 2020.

This occupation will have about 2,000 openings due to growth and about 38,000 replacement openings for approximately 40,000 total annual openings.