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casting labThe physician assistant (PA) profession was established in 1965 to help physicians provide healthcare services to underserved and rural populations. While the profession remains committed to its historical mission, PAs are now employed in almost all healthcare settings and are valuable members of a multidisciplinary healthcare team.

PAs are healthcare professionals licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician. Individual state laws define the scope of practice and prescribing authority of Physician Assistants. In general, most states authorize PAs to prescribe non-controlled and controlled substances and perform any task delegated to them by their supervising physician.

To be eligible for licensure, PAs must graduate from a program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and pass the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE). Although Physician Assistants will always remain under the guidance and counsel of a licensed physician, PAs are expected to perform appropriately delegated tasks autonomously.

The PA field is growing, and employment is projected to increase by 28% from 2021-2031. (United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics)