What is a PA?

Improving & Expanding Access to Healthcare


PAs, or Physician Assistants, are medical providers who diagnose illness, develop & manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare professional. With thousands of hours of medical training, PAs are versatile and collaborative. PAs practice in every state and in every medical setting and specialty, improving healthcare access and quality.

To obtain a license, PAs must graduate from an accredited PA program and pass a national certification exam. To maintain their certification, PAs must complete 100 hours of continuing medical education (CME every two years) and pass a re-certification exam every 10 years. PA’s practice in every healthcare work setting and in every specialty.

What’s the difference between a PA and a Nurse Practitioner? Both PAs and nurse practitioners (NPs) play an increasingly vital role as front-line healthcare providers. Although there are some significant differences in training and maintenance of certification requirements, the similarities between PAs and NPs far outweigh the differences. What is important for patients to know is that, regardless of whether they see a PA or an NP, they are being treated by a highly educated, well-trained healthcare provider who places the patient at the center of their care.

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Physician Assistants

To practice in California, each PA must pass a rigorous national examination before being licensed by the Physician Assistant Board, which is part of the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

Graduate from an accredited school

Improve access to healthcare

Sit for a national board exam

Assess, diagnose, & treat illness in every specialty