If you are looking for a career that is critical is many ways, becoming a physician assistant is just that type of career. Tough it is one of the most understated roles in the medical field, it is one of the most important. Doctors and nurses get all the limelight and attention. It is the (PA) Physician Assistant that is often responsible for the treatments plans and care that patients receive.

The core function of many healthcare facilities would not function as well without their physician assistants making everything run smoother. We will breakdown the necessary education, the duties of the job itself, the ins and outs of the career and future of the career below for you. Lets get started!

What does a Physician Assistant do?

The (PA) physician assistant is one step below the doctor and is relied upon by doctors and physicians for many important duties. They are extremely capable and don’t let the “assistant” title fool you in to thinking they are like a medical assistant or nursing assistant. They more like doctors than a nurse. Their education is extensive and they are highly respected on the field of medicine and heavily relied upon. Below we cover some of the day to day tasks of the career as a whole.

While the doctors and physicians perform the diagnosis and make patients treatment plans, a (PA) physician assistant will in many situations, will do these tasks as well. There are many situations (rural areas specifically) where a physician assistant may be the primary care provider, requiring only small bits of communication with a doctor when necessary. They are as a close to a doctor as there is in the medical field. They will perform these tasks and some of the others listed below.

Diagnose injury or illness odf patients
Educate and counsel patients and their families on treatments and plans
Examine patients
Give treatment and care
Order and interpret diagnostic tests
Prescribe medicine
Research latest treatments
Review patients’ medical histories

What is the process to become an PA?

Below we will walk you through the steps to become a (PA) Physician’s Assistant in a few easy to follow steps. From choosing a school to getting your license we have you covered.

STEP 1 – Get a Bachelor’s Degree in a Related Science

Becoming a PA requires a masters degree from an accredited physician assistant program and requires an undergraduate degree in a related science like on of the ones listed below:

Biology
Chemistry
Nutrition
Psychology
Sociology

After graduating with your four year degree you will be on your way to applying for entrance in to an accredited PA program.

STEP 2 – Apply to an Accredited PA Program

Selecting accredited PA programs is made easy if you look in the right place. The national accrediting body for all physician assistant schools is the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistants. They also have a wonderful database of accredited schools by state that will set you up for success with your admittance in to their programs.

You will be spending 2-3 years in your program and will be focusing on learning about specific medications and treatments all while preparing for your career and future. Clinical training is in abundance in PA training, for it is imperative that you get all the hands on experience possible and as you go further in your training you will be getting more and more of it. 6-7 years of schooling and training prepares students for the career and that is why they are as very relied upon in their duties on the job.

List of Accredited Physician Assistant Programs

School/WebsiteAddress
A T Still University of Health Sciences800 W Jefferson, Kirksville, Missouri 63501
AdventHealth University671 Winyah Drive, Orlando, Florida 32803
Albany Medical College47 New Scotland Ave, Albany, New York 12208-3479
Alderson Broaddus University101 College Hill Drive, Philippi, West Virginia 26416-2035
Anne Arundel Community College101 College Pky, Arnold, Maryland 21012-1895
Arcadia University450 S Easton Rd, Glenside, Pennsylvania 19038-3295
Augsburg University2211 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55454
Augusta University1120 Fifteenth St, Augusta, Georgia 30912
Baldwin Wallace University275 Eastland Rd, Berea, Ohio 44017-2088
Barry University11300 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, Florida 33161-6695
Bay Path University588 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, Massachusetts 01106
Baylor College of MedicineOne Baylor Plaza, Houston, Texas 77030-3498
Baylor UniversityWaco, Texas 76798
Bethel University325 Cherry Ave, McKenzie, Tennessee 38201
Bethel University3900 Bethel Dr, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55112
Brenau University500 Washington Street SE, Gainesville, Georgia 30501-3668
Bryant University1150 Douglas Pike, Smithfield, Rhode Island 02917-1291
Butler University4600 Sunset Ave, Indianapolis, Indiana 46208
California Baptist University8432 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, California 92504-3297
Campbell University143 Main Street, Buies Creek, North Carolina 27506
Carroll University100 N East Ave, Waukesha, Wisconsin 53186
Central Michigan University106 Warriner Hall, Mount Pleasant, Michigan 48859
Chatham UniversityWoodland Road, Office of Institutional Research, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15232
Christian Brothers University650 East Parkway South, Memphis, Tennessee 38104
Clarkson University8 Clarkson Ave, Potsdam, New York 13699
Cleveland State University2121 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115-2214
College of San Mateo1700 W Hillsdale Blvd, San Mateo, California 94402-3784
Community College of Baltimore County7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, Maryland 21237
Concordia University-Wisconsin12800 N Lake Shore Dr, Mequon, Wisconsin 53097-2402
CUNY City College160 Convent Ave, New York, New York 10031
CUNY York College94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd, Jamaica, New York 11451
Cuyahoga Community College District700 Carnegie Ave, Cleveland, Ohio 44115-2878
Daemen College4380 Main St, Amherst, New York 14226-3592
Des Moines University-Osteopathic Medical Center3200 Grand Ave, Des Moines, Iowa 50312
DeSales University2755 Station Avenue, Center Valley, Pennsylvania 18034-9568
Dodge City Community College2501 N 14th Ave, Dodge City, Kansas 67801-2399
Drexel University3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
Duke University103 Allen Bldg, Durham, North Carolina 27708
Duquesne UniversityAdministration Bldg 600 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15282
D'Youville College320 Porter Ave, Buffalo, New York 14201-1084
East Carolina UniversityEast 5th Street, Greenville, North Carolina 27858-4353
Eastern Michigan University401 Pierce Hall, Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197
Eastern Virginia Medical School700w. Olney, Norfolk, Virginia 23507
Elon University100 Campus Drive, Elon, North Carolina 27244-2010
Emory University408 Administration Building, 201 Dowman Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30322
Foothill College12345 El Monte Rd, Los Altos Hills, California 94022
Francis Marion University4822 East Palmetto Street, Florence, South Carolina 29506
Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University5414 Brittany Dr, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808
Franklin Pierce University40 University Drive, Rindge, New Hampshire 03461-0060
Gannon University109 W Sixth St, Erie, Pennsylvania 16541-0001
Gardner-Webb UniversityMain St, Boiling Springs, North Carolina 28017-0997
George Washington University2121 I Street, NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20052
Grand Valley State University1 Campus Dr, Allendale, Michigan 49401-9403
Harding University915 E. Market Ave., Searcy, Arkansas 72149-5615
Heritage University3240 Fort Rd, Toppenish, Washington 98948
Hofstra University100 Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York 11549
Howard University2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20059-0001
Idaho State University921 S 8th Ave, Pocatello, Idaho 83209
Indiana State University210 N 7th St, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis420 University Blvd, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202-5143
James Madison University800 South Main Street, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807
Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)4201 Henry Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19144-5497
Jefferson College of Health Sciences101 Elm Avenue SE, Roanoke, Virginia 24013
Johnson & Wales University-Providence8 Abbott Park Place, Providence, Rhode Island 02903-3703
Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale1500 NW 49th St., Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309
Kettering College3737 Southern Blvd, Kettering, Ohio 45429-1299
King's College133 N River St, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 18711-0801
Lake Erie College391 W Washington St, Painesville, Ohio 44077-3389
Le Moyne College1419 Salt Springs Rd, Syracuse, New York 13214-1301
Lincoln Memorial University6965 Cumberland Gap Pkwy, Harrogate, Tennessee 37752-9900
LIU Brooklyn1 University Plaza, Brooklyn, New York 11201-8423
Lock Haven University401 North Fairview Street, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania 17745-2390
Loma Linda University11139 Anderson Street, Loma Linda, California 92350
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-New Orleans433 Bolivar St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112-2223
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport1501 Kings Hwy, Shreveport, Louisiana 71103
Marietta CollegeIrvine Bldg, Marietta, Ohio 45750
Marquette University1250 W Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233
Marshall B Ketchum University2575 Yorba Linda Blvd, Fullerton, California 92831-1699
Mary Baldwin University318 Prospect Street, Staunton, Virginia 24401
Marywood University2300 Adams Ave, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18509-1598
MCPHS University179 Longwood Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115-5896
Medical University of South Carolina179 Ashley Ave, Charleston, South Carolina 29425
Mercer University1501 Mercer University Drive, Macon, Georgia 31207
Mercy College555 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry, New York 10522
Mercyhurst University501 E 38th St, Erie, Pennsylvania 16546
Methodist University5400 Ramsey St, Fayetteville, North Carolina 28311-1420
Miami Dade College300 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, Florida 33132-2204
Midwestern University-Downers Grove555 31st Street, Downers Grove, Illinois 60515-5514
Midwestern University-Glendale19555 N 59th Ave, Glendale, Arizona 85308
Misericordia University301 Lake St, Dallas, Pennsylvania 18612-1098
Mississippi College200 South Capitol Street, Clinton, Mississippi 39058
Missouri State University-Springfield901 S National Avenue, Springfield, Missouri 65897
Monmouth University400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey 07764-1898
Moreno Valley College16130 Lasselle St, Moreno Valley, California 92551
Mount Saint Joseph University5701 Delhi Rd, Cincinnati, Ohio 45233-1670
New York Institute of TechnologyNorthern Blvd, Old Westbury, New York 11568-8000
North Greenville University7801 N. Tigerville Road, Tigerville, South Carolina 29688-1892
Northeastern State University600 N Grand, Tahlequah, Oklahoma 74464-2399
Northeastern University Lifelong Learning Network360 Huntington Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Northern Arizona University1900 S Knoles Dr, Babbitt Administrative Center, Room 200, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011-4092
Northwestern University633 Clark St, Evanston, Illinois 60208
Nova Southeastern University3301 College Ave, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796
Oakwood University7000 Adventist Blvd NW, Huntsville, Alabama 35896
Ohio Dominican University1216 Sunbury Road, Columbus, Ohio 43219
Ohio University-Main Campus020 Chubb Hall, Athens, Ohio 45701-2979
Oregon Health & Science University3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd, Portland, Oregon 97239-3098
Pace University1 Pace Plaza, New York, New York 10038-1598
Pacific University2043 College Way, Forest Grove, Oregon 97116
Pennsylvania College of TechnologyOne College Ave, Williamsport, Pennsylvania 17701-5799
Pennsylvania State University-College of Medicine500 University Drive, Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033-2360
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine4170 City Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19131
Quinnipiac UniversityMt Carmel Ave, Hamden, Connecticut 06518
Red Rocks Community College13300 W Sixth Ave, Lakewood, Colorado 80228-1255
Rochester Institute of Technology1 Lomb Memorial Dr, Rochester, New York 14623-5603
Rocky Mountain College1511 Poly Drive, Billings, Montana 59102-1796
Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions122 East 1700 South, Provo, Utah 84606
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science3333 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, Illinois 60064-3095
Rush University600 S. Paulina St. STE 440, Chicago, Illinois 60612
Rutgers University-New Brunswick83 Somerset St, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901-1281
Sacred Heart University5151 Park Ave, Fairfield, Connecticut 06825-1000
Saint Ambrose University518 W Locust St, Davenport, Iowa 52803-2898
Saint Francis University117 Evergreen Dr, Loretto, Pennsylvania 15940
Saint Louis UniversityOne North Grand Blvd, Saint Louis, Missouri 63103-2097
Salus University8360 Old York Rd, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania 19027-6262
Samuel Merritt University3100 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, California 94609
Seton Hall University400 S Orange Ave, South Orange, New Jersey 07079-2697
Seton Hill University1 Seton Hill Drive, Greensburg, Pennsylvania 15601
Shenandoah University1460 University Dr, Winchester, Virginia 22601-5195
South College3904 Lonas Road, Knoxville, Tennessee 37909-0000
South University–Richmond2151 Old Brick Rd, Glen Allen, Virginia 23060
South University-Savannah709 Mall Blvd, Savannah, Georgia 31406
South University-Tampa4401 N Himes Ave, Suite 175, Tampa, Florida 33614-7095
Southern California University of Health Sciences16200 East Amber Valley Drive, Whittier, California 90604
Southern Illinois University-CarbondaleLincoln Drive, Carbondale, Illinois 62901-4512
Springfield College263 Alden St, Springfield, Massachusetts 01109-3797
St Catherine University2004 Randolph Ave, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55105
St Francis College180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, New York 11201-4305
St John's University-New York8000 Utopia Pky, Queens, New York 11439
Stony Brook University310 Administration Building, Stony Brook, New York 11794
Sullivan University3101 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, Kentucky 40205-3013
SUNY Downstate Medical Center450 Clarkson Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11203-2098
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center3601 4th Street, Lubbock, Texas 79430
The University of Findlay1000 North Main Street, Findlay, Ohio 45840-3653
The University of Tennessee Health Science CenterMemphis, Tennessee 38163
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio7703 Floyd Curl Dr, San Antonio, Texas 78229-3900
The University of Texas Medical Branch301 University Blvd, Galveston, Texas 77555-0129
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley1201 W University Dr, Edinburg, Texas 78539-2999
Thomas Jefferson University1020 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Touro College500 7th Avenue, New York, New York 10018
Touro University California1310 Club Drive, Vallejo, California 94592
Touro University Nevada874 American Pacific Drive, Henderson, Nevada 89014
Towson University8000 York Rd, Towson, Maryland 21252-0001
Trevecca Nazarene University333 Murfreesboro Rd, Nashville, Tennessee 37210
Tufts UniversityMedford, Massachusetts 02155-5555
Union College3800 S 48th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska 68506
University of Alabama at BirminghamAdministration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-0110
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences4301 W Markham, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205-7199
University of Bridgeport126 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604-5620
University of Charleston2300 MacCorkle Avenue, SE, Charleston, West Virginia 25304
University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus1380 Lawrence Street, Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1400, Denver, Colorado 80217-3364
University of Detroit Mercy4001 W McNichols Rd, Detroit, Michigan 48221-3038
University of Dubuque2000 University Ave, Dubuque, Iowa 52001
University of FloridaTigert Hall, Gainesville, Florida 32611
University of Iowa101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1316
University of KentuckySouth Limestone, Lexington, Kentucky 40506-0032
University of Maryland Eastern ShoreJ.T. Williams Hall, Princess Anne, Maryland 21853-1299
University of Maryland, Baltimore620 West Lexington St, Baltimore, Maryland 21201-1627
University of Missouri-Kansas City5100 Rockhill Rd., Kansas City, Missouri 64110
University of Mount Union1972 Clark Ave., Alliance, Ohio 44601-3993
University of Nebraska Medical Center42nd & Dewey Ave, Omaha, Nebraska 68198-7815
University of New England11 Hills Beach Rd, Biddeford, Maine 04005-9599
University of New Mexico-Main Campus1700 Lomas Blvd NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill103 South Bldg Cb 9100, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599
University of North Dakota264 Centennial Drive, Stop 8193, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202-8193
University of North Texas Health Science Center3500 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, Texas 76107-2699
University of Oklahoma-Health Sciences Center1105 Stonewall Avenue, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73117-1221
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus4200 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260
University of Saint Francis-Fort Wayne2701 Spring St, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46808-3994
University of Saint Joseph1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford, Connecticut 06117
University of South Alabama307 N University Blvd, Mobile, Alabama 36688-0002
University of South Carolina-ColumbiaColumbia-Campus, Columbia, South Carolina 29208
University of South Dakota414 E Clark St, Vermillion, South Dakota 57069-2390
University of Southern CaliforniaUniversity Park, Los Angeles, California 90089
University of St Francis500 N Wilcox St, Joliet, Illinois 60435-6188
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center5323 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, Texas 75390-9096
University of the Cumberlands6191 College Station Drive, Williamsburg, Kentucky 40769
University of the Sciences600 South 43rd Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4495
University of Toledo2801 W Bancroft, Toledo, Ohio 43606-3390
University of Utah201 Presidents Circle, ROOM 201, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-9008
University of Washington-Seattle Campus1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, Washington 98195-4550
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse1725 State St, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601-9959
University of Wisconsin-Madison500 Lincoln Dr, Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1380
Upstate Medical University750 E Adams St, Syracuse, New York 13210
Wagner CollegeOne Campus Rd, Staten Island, New York 10301-4495
Wake Forest University1834 Wake Forest Road, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27106
Wayne County Community College District801 W. Fort Street, Detroit, Michigan 48226
Wayne State University656 West Kirby Street, Detroit, Michigan 48202
Weill Cornell Medical College1300 York Ave, C-114, New York, New York 10065
West Liberty University208 University Drive, West Liberty, West Virginia 26074
Western Michigan University1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008-5200
Western University of Health Sciences309 E 2nd St, Pomona, California 91766-1854
Wichita State University1845 N. Fairmount, Wichita, Kansas 67260-0124
Wingate University220 North Camden Road, Wingate, North Carolina 28174-0159
Yale UniversityWoodbridge Hall, New Haven, Connecticut 06520

What Does Physician’s Assistant Training Cost?

Well, anytime you go get a master’s degree you can expect to be spending 20K-100K on your education, depending on where you go to school. In most cases, expect 20K-50K.

Step 3 – Get Your National PA Certification

Upon graduation from your accredited program to become a PA, you are then eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), which is administered by the (NCCPA) National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Once you successfully pass the PANCE examination and maintain your certification, the title Physician Assistant-Certified or PA-C can used.

Step 4 – Get Your PA License in Your State

To see your state licensing board information see a list of each states licensing board here and get each states rules and regulations here. Each state may have different demands of their PAs and be sure to make sure you are prepared for yours.

Step 5 – Maintain Your PA Certification

To maintain your national physicians assistant certification you need to complete a minimum of 100 hours of (CME) continuing medical education credits every two years. It is also expected of working PAs to take a re-certification examination every 10 years known as the (PANRE) Physician Assistant National Re-certifying Exam.

The PANCE Exam

Having success on the PANCE exam is critical for your success and career as a PA. We will walk you through some of the basics of the test and give you some tips for success and provide links to resources from the test provider and more.

After graduation, you will have 6 years to take and pass the exam. The exam costs $500 and once you pay the exam fee you can schedule your testing date. For more details on the exam registration click here.

More About the PANCE Exam

The PANCE exam is 5 hours long and has 300 multiple choice questions on it. You will be given 60 questions per hour block. You get a total of 45 minutes of breaks in between block times and it is up to the test taker how to manage the break times. There is also a 15 minute tutorial provided. Some tips for success are arrive early, dress comfortably, study hard and be prepared mentally for a long hard day. Five hours is a long grueling test. It is meant to test you and it does, Do not take it lightly.

Where to take the PA exam

About PA salary

The pay of physicians assistants is one of the highest in allied health! They are some of the most educated in the sector and are compensated highly for their work. Below we break down all the great details of the career!

What is the average salary for a Physicians Assistant?

The average pay and salary of working physician assistants is $50.41 per hour and $104,860 per year per bls.gov’s latest statistics.

PA salary by state

StatesAvg. Hourly PayAvg. Salary
Alabama$46.88$97,500
Alaska$54.26$112,860
Arizona$42.96$89,350
Arkansas$35.15$73,110
California$53.30$110,860
Colorado$48.14$100,140
Connecticut$56.09$116,670
Delaware$49.78$103,550
District of Columbia$47.77$99,370
Florida$49.62$103,200
Georgia$47.85$99,520
Hawaii$54.73$113,840
Idaho$47.18$98,140
Illinois$47.44$98,670
Indiana$48.25$100,350
Iowa$49.32$102,590
Kansas$46.84$97,420
Kentucky$48.26$100,380
Louisiana$44.50$92,570
Maine$50.25$104,520
Maryland$46.21$96,110
Massachusetts$51.07$106,220
Michigan$46.32$96,350
Minnesota$51.76$107,670
Mississippi$29.34$61,030
Missouri$45.75$95,150
Montana$46.89$97,530
Nebraska$47.12$98,010
Nevada$61.72$128,370
New Hampshire$54.17$112,670
New Jersey$53.34$110,950
New Mexico$49.91$103,810
New York$51.46$107,030
North Carolina$48.31$100,480
North Dakota$55.20$114,810
Ohio$50.33$104,680
Oklahoma$49.32$102,580
Oregon$53.03$110,310
Pennsylvania$44.64$92,860
Rhode Island$49.78$103,540
South Carolina$44.40$92,360
South Dakota$47.69$99,190
Tennessee$41.12$85,520
Texas$46.84$97,420
Utah$50.81$105,690
Vermont$54.98$114,350
Virginia$45.58$94,810
Washington$54.76$113,900
West Virginia$47.64$99,090
Wisconsin$46.54$96,810
Wyoming$53.10$110,450

Source: www.bls.gov

PA Salary by employer type

Employment services $114,780
Outpatient care centers $111,740
Hospitals $108,250
Offices of physicians $102,890
Educational services $101,730

Source: www.bls.gov

What is the job outlook for Physician Assistants?

With an astounding 37% growth in demand over the next decade the PA is really one of the best career options in the medical and allied health fields! It does not really get any better or more exciting for an individual career!

Other Options for Great Allied Health Careers