A Seventh-day Adventist Organization

What is a PA?

The Physician Assistant Profession

The profession was established in 1965 by Dr. Eugene Stead.  PAs perform healthcare services with physician supervision as members of the healthcare team.  PAs take medical histories, examine patients, order and interpret laboratory tests and x-rays, make diagnoses, write treatment plans and progress notes, prescribe medication, instruct and counsel patients, and order or perform therapeutic services.  They practice in all medical specialties, serve as first assistants in surgery and work in research.

Growth of the Profession

  • As of June 2016, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 30.4% growth in PA jobs between 2014 and 2024.
  • In 2016, U.S. News and World Report ranked the PA profession as number 5 of the 50 Best Jobs of 2016.
  • In 2016, according to a new ranking, Forbes reported Physician Assistants are coming close to primary care physicians as the health professional most in need at U.S. hospitals and health systems.

Physician Assistant Competencies

The Physician Assistant Competencies were developed as a joint effort by four national PA organizations to define quality in the PA profession. These competencies are a list of objectives that outline the knowledge, skills and attitudes for successful PA practice and are often used by PA programs to guide curriculum development. 

Graduate Employment

Primary Care Percentage

  • Nearly half of our 2015 graduates (43%) plan on working in primary care.
  • In our most recent alumni survey, (45%) of alumni were working in primary care fields.

 Physician Assistant History Society