Physician Assistant

For UC Davis Students


Physician Assistants (PAs) provide health care with the supervision of a physician. They are trained to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive health services. PAs also take medical histories, examine patients, order and interpret laboratory test and x-rays, and make diagnoses. They also treat minor injuries by suturing, splinting, and casting. In 47 states, PAs may prescribe medications under the supervision of a physician. Many PAs work in primary care areas such as general internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. Others work in specialty areas such as general and thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, orthopedics, and geriatrics. PAs specializing in surgery provide pre- and post-operative care and may work as first or second assistants during major surgery.

PA programs usually last two years and are full time Master’s programs. Admission requirements vary, but most require two years of college and some work experience in the health care field.

For additional information refer to the Physician Assistant Information handout.

Health Sciences Advising has advising staff who are eager to assist you in your quest toward becoming a Physician Assistant.

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