Physician assistants (PAs) are health professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision.

To become a licensed PA, one must:

  • Graduate from an accredited PA program
  • Be certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)
Physician assistant with patient
Physician assistants play a vital role in health care and can work with nearly any patient population.

Within the physician/PA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. Physician assistants are qualified to perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care and assist in surgery. In most states, including Wisconsin, they can prescribe medications.

Responsibilities of a physician assistant depend on:

  • Delegation by supervising physician
  • Practice setting
  • Education
  • Experience of the PA

PAs can practice:

  • In nearly any health care setting
  • In nearly any discipline
  • With nearly any patient population
  • In education, administration and research