Physician Assistant Profession

What does a Physician Assistant do?

Physician assistants are health professionals who practice medicine as members of a team with their supervising physician. They are nationally certified and licensed by individual states. As healthcare providers, PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations in rural, urban and suburban settings.

The role of a physician assistant varies with training, experience and state law. In general, the scope of the PA's practice corresponds to that of the supervising physician's practice.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • obtain histories
  • perform physical exams
  • order various diagnostic tests
  • interpret the results
  • diagnose and treat illnesses
  • counsel and educate patients
  • assist in surgery
  • prescribe medications


Where will I work?

Physician Assistants are employed in essentially every medical and surgical specialty and subspecialty in which physicians are employed. About 36 percent of physician assistants work in primary care, (i.e., family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and women's health). PA's can be found in hospitals, clinics, offices and other settings.

Approximately 87 percent of the graduates of the Saint Louis University Physician Assistant Program are active in practice as physician assistants within the following disciplines:

Primary Care (General Internal medicine, Family
Medicine,Pediatrics, Women's Health)


General Surgery and Surgery Subspecialties


Emergency Medicine


Internal Medicine Subspecialties


Pediatrics Subspecialties



Among those Saint Louis University Physician Assistant Program alumni who are not in active clinical practice as physician assistants are administrators, educators, physicians, attorneys, pharmaceutical representatives and members of other health related occupations.

Both the job outlook and starting PA salaries are excellent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website has the latest job outlook information at


Quick Facts

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