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Certified physician assistants (PAs) are licensed and certified health care professionals who practice medicine with physician supervision and bring a breadth of knowledge and skills to patient care.

Certified PAs can do a variety of procedures, including, take histories, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventative health care, assist in surgery and write prescriptions.

Today, more than 95,000 certified PAs practice in almost every setting and medical and surgical specialty, improving access to care for patients across the U.S. while providing invaluable support to their supervising physicians.

Those who work most closely with certified PAs champion them as valued members of the health care team. Given the growing provider shortages, their contributions have arguably never been more important.

  • 94.2% of PAs' employers* say that PAs have helped increase the number of patients seen.
  • 92.5% agree that PAs have enabled them to shorten the time patients must wait for appointments.
  • 91.2% say that PAs enable them to allow patients more time to ask questions during their office visits.

Employers also rave about the quality of PA care with more than 99% agreeing that they:

  • provide high-quality health care.
  • are compassionate clinicians.
  • are valuable members of the health care delivery system.

*Results from 2005 NCCPA survey of health care employers who employ PAs.

So what exactly is a PA?

What makes an excellent certified PA? Read more and give your thoughts.

Want to know if a PA is licensed in your state? Click here for a list of the state medical board Web sites.

Certified PAs and PA students are held to a high degree of professional and ethical standards. For the ethical and professional standards all students and certified PAs are held to, read NCCPA's Code of Conduct for Certified and Certifying PAs.

If you've had a problem with a certified physician assistant and need to file a complaint, click here for instructions.