PAs are formally trained to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive health care services, as delegated by a physician. They take medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret laboratory tests and X-rays, make diagnoses, and prescribe medications. They also treat minor injuries by suturing, splinting, and casting. PAs record progress notes, instruct and counsel patients, and order or carry out therapy. PAs may prescribe medications in all 50 states. They also may have managerial duties. Some order medical and laboratory supplies and equipment and may supervise technicians and assistants.
Although PAs work under a physician, they may be the principal care providers in rural or inner-city clinics, where a physician is present for only one or two days each week. In such cases, the PA confers with the supervising physician 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.
Physician Assistant earnings vary from state to state. Results of the 2008 AAPA Physician Assistant Census
The average total income for PAs who are not self-employed and who work at least 32 hours per week for their primary employer is $89,987, or $76,232 for PAs who have been in clinical practice for less than one year. Speciality may also influence salary (the specialty for a PA is based on the specialty of…