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What Is A Physician Assistant?

A physician assistant (PA) is a highly educated medical professional who works as part of a team with a doctor. As a graduate of an accredited Physician Assistant program that is nationally certified and state-licensed, a physician assistant can practice medicine with the supervision of a physician. PAs perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret lab tests, perform procedures, assist in surgery, provide patient education and counseling and even make rounds in hospitals.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow PAs to practice and prescribe medications.

What Does “PA-C” Mean?

Physician assistants have their own medical licenses with a distinct scope of practice. The acronym PA-C simply means “Physician Assistant Certified”. A physician assistant becomes certified by graduating from an accredited physician assistant program and must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (among other requirements) before receiving the medical license designation “PA-C”.

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