Physician's Assistant Career Video for Medical Assisting Students

Physician's Assistant Career Video for Medical Assisting Students Transcript

Medical assisting, for the purpose of this video, is concerned with the occupations of physician assistants and surgical assistants. This is not to be confused with the occupation of medical assistant. If you are interested in the area of medical assisting, this video provides a good introduction into making your career decision.


Physician assistants (PAs) are given a lot of responsibility as part of the medical team. Under the direct supervision of a physician, they are fully trained to diagnose, treat and prescribe preventative care for patients [1]. PAs routinely examine patients, interpret x-rays and lab tests and make diagnoses. Additionally, most states allow PAs to prescribe medicine.

Sometimes, physician assistants are the primary care providers for people. This is particularly true for inner city and rural community clinics where a physician is only present a few days a week. In fact, many PAs work in general care facilities such as family medicine.

Job Skills and Duties

Physician assistants must be quick and effective thinkers in order to interpret test results, answer patient questions and make a diagnosis. All states require PAs to be certified, and to maintain certification a PA must have 100 hours of continuing education every two years.

(Training Required)

Physician assistants in all states must be licensed [2]. Licensing usually includes passing an accredited program and then passing a national exam. Many programs require two years of college after obtaining a bachelors degree and require some work experience in the health care field. Students are educated in areas such as biochemistry, human anatomy, physiology, clinical medicine and disease prevention. Students then receive supervised clinical training under supervision of physicians where they often find permanent employment.


Physician assistants play an important role in today's heath field. As expansion of the health care industry grows hospitals are employing PAs in greater numbers. Look for programs at your local college for medical school for a career as a physician's assistant.


[#1] The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),

[#2] The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),

[#3] iseek,

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