The physician assistant, working with physicians and other health professionals, performs many clinical functions that enable the physician to devote more time to duties requiring his/her particular knowledge and skills.
The physician assistant performs duties based on guidelines established by the state granting licensure. In most settings the physician assistant obtains medical histories, performs physical examinations, orders and interprets laboratory results and other information and assesses and treats common illnesses, including writing prescriptions. Disease prevention and health promotion, counseling, and patient education are other important services provided by the physician assistant. Successful completion of the National Certifying Examination for Physician Assistants is required to practice as a physician assistant in Georgia
Physician assistants need the ability to relate to people, a capacity for calm and reasoned judgment in handling emergencies, an orientation toward service, and ability to think critically. A solid background in math and science is helpful as well. Due to the fast pace of our program, previous medical experience is strongly encouraged.
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, employment of physician assistants is expected to grow by 39 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Projected rapid job growth reflects the expansion of health care industries and an emphasis on cost containment, which results in increasing use of PAs by health care establishments. A certified physician assistant may work in hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices or educational facilities.
Established in 1972, the Physician Assistant Program offers a comprehensive education that allows graduates to become employed in many specialty areas. Our program emphasizes classroom and clinical practical experience, with heaviest emphasis on clinical work with patients. Upon completion of our program, students earn a master’s degree in physician assistant.
In addition to demonstrating personal characteristics appropriate for a health professions career, students must satisfy general and specific technical standards for this program.