Nursing Education
Nursing Education Opportunities in Mississippi - 2006  <more..>
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Physician Assistant


Physician Assistants (PAs) Work under the direction and supervision of a physician to provide a variety of medical care services. They are called upon to take detailed medical histories, perform physical examinations, and order diagnostic laboratory tests and X-rays. They then identify and report any abnormalities that they find after conducting these tests and examinations. Physician assistants can also care for minor injuries by suturing wounds, applying and removing casts, and splinting and bandaging. They may also be in charge of making rounds at a hospital in an effort to observe and record the progress of patients. A key role in the physician-PA relationship is assisting with counseling patients on preventative care, medical problems, and prescribed medications and treatments. PAs may choose to specialize in areas such as surgery, geriatrics, public health, anesthesiology, obstetrics, neonatology, occupational medicine, or orthopedics. The physician assistant is a vital member of the medical profession because they allow physicians to handle more complex patient problems. Individuals interested in this line of work should enjoy working with people, have good oral and written communication skills, and be able to make decisions quickly.

Work Environment:

Physician assistants work in a variety of health care facilities that include hospitals, physicians’ offices, clinics, community health centers, and government facilities. They may work alone or with other health professionals such as registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.

High School Preparation:

Students interested in becoming a physician assistant should take high school courses in biology, chemistry, algebra, psychology, sociology, English, literature, health occupations/medical professions education, computer skills, medical technology, and geometry.

College Requirements:

Requirements for admission into a physician assistants program vary greatly. Most programs require at least four years of undergraduate study and some work experience in the health care field. PA programs are usually two years in length. Upon completion of an accredited PA program, students must pass an examination given by the National Commission for Certification of Physician Assistants. After an individual becomes certified, they must apply for a license from the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure to practice in this state. Due to changing requirements, contact the Board for up-to-date licensing requirements.

Students interested in physician assisting should contact schools for information on admission and course of study.

For educational institutions in Mississippi
offering this course of study click here.

Career Outlook:

Employment opportunities for physician assistants are expected to be excellent over the next decade. Job opportunities for this profession are expected to increase 21 - 35% through the year 2012. Opportunities will be particularly good in areas and settings that have difficulty attracting physicians, such as rural and inner city clinics. PAs are also being utilized in routine duties and procedures that would otherwise have to be done by physicians. Another reason for this positive job market is new state laws that limit the number of hours that physician residents can work. This is causing hospitals and clinics to use PAs in order to supply some physician resident services.




Average Annual Salary



Salary Range



Professional Organizations:


American Academy of Physician Assistants

950 N Washington Street

Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone: (703) 836-2272

Fax: (703) 684-1924


Association of Physician Assistant Programs

950 N Washington Street

Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone: (703) 548-5538

Fax: (703) 684-1924

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