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DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT

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Visit the Physician Assistant History Society Website to learn more about the history of the PA profession.

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Career Paths

Physician Assistants (PAs) practice medicine as members of a healthcare team with physicians and other providers. They are required to have the same amount of continuing medical education (CME) that is required of physicians. PA’s must pass a National Certifying Exam approved by the National Board of Medical Examiners before they can practice.

The functions of a physician assistant include performing diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and health maintenance services in any setting in which the physician renders care, in order to allow more effective and focused application of the physician's particular knowledge and skills. Medicare and other third-party insurers pay for PA services.

The specific tasks of individual physician assistants vary because of the differences in practice requirements mandated by geographic, political, economic and social factors. For those reasons, education emphasizes didactic and clinical studies which will prepare students to function as a generalist with the ability to expand to more specialized areas.

Students may be interested to know:

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of PA jobs will increase 38% from 2012-2022.
  • There are more than >100,000 practicing PAs in the United States.
  • There are approximately 1,000 practicing PAs in the state of Kansas.
  • Approximately 56% of WSU graduates work in rural settings.
  • Approximately 47% of WSU graduates work in primary care speci alties.
  • Approximately 39% of WSU graduates provide care to medically underserved populations.
  • PAs must successfully pass the national certification examination and pass a recertification exam every 10 years to maintain certification.
  • All states and the District of Columbia permit PAs to prescribe medications.

Job Search Databases

There are a number of online resources available to assist in the search for employment after graduation. Here is a list of useful websites to get started: