Physician assistants (PAs) work under the supervision of a physician. However, PAs may be the principal care providers in rural or inner city clinics, where a physician is present for only a few days each week. In these cases, the PA confers with the supervising physician and other medical professionals as needed or as required by law. PAs also may make house calls or go to hospitals and nursing homes to check on patients and report back to the physician. Locally, PAs work in our hospitals and emergency rooms.
PAs can do most of the same things that a physician can do but their scope of practice is determined by state laws. There were 137 accredited or provisionally accredited educational programs for physician assistants; more than 90 of these programs offered a master's degree. The rest offered either a bachelor's degree or an associate degree.
Make certain you do your homework as far as the scope of practice for PAs and how that is similar or differs from that of a nurse practitioner (NP). Schools will ask questions like this during the interview process.
Admissions Requirements vary from school to school. It is best to visit a particular school's website (see link to the right) for specific pre-requisite coursework required. In general, coursework is equally rigorous as the pre-medicine curriculum but the content can differ substantially.