The Physician Assistant Profession

The profession was established in 1965 by Dr. Eugene Stead.  PAs perform health care services with physician supervision as members of the health care 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 January 2019, the United States bureau of Labor Statistics projects 37.3% employment growth for PA’s between 2016 and 2026.
  • According to U.S. News and World Report 2019, the PA profession was voted #1 in Best Health Care jobs and #3 in Best Jobs overall.
  • 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