PA-C Doctor (Meaning, Duration, Duties, Requirements, Best Schools)4 min read

With the increasing need for improved medical facilities globally, a group of medical professionals decided to reduce the stress on doctors and nurses by introducing a PA-C doctor to assist moderate the workload on the medical field.

PA-C, which means physician assistant is a graduate of an accredited physician assistant educational program who has undergone testing by the national commission on certification of physician assistants.

This article will explain who a PA-C Doctor is, and the best schools to get a PA-C Doctor degree.

Who is a PA-C Doctor?

Physician assistants are healthcare providers or workers who obtain their education at a medical school, in the medical model.

Their training allows them to diagnose and treat illness and provide preventive care in partnership with a physician supervisor in towns, villages, hospitals, clinics, etc.

The word “C” in the acronym PA-C indicates that a PA (Physician Assistant) is certified by the National Commission of Certification of PAs.

A PA-C doctor has successfully undergone training through school and is also certified and licensed to carry out medical activities within their jurisdiction.

Although PA-C doctors work with a supervising doctor or physician, that doesn’t mean they work directly under the doctor’s direct supervision; instead, they are in partnership with the physician at either the hospital or the clinic at any given time.

Duties of a PA-C Doctor:

A physician assistant certified doctor may do the following accurately without being supervised by a physician;

  • Physical examination
  • Diagnose and treat illnesses
  • Prescribe medication
  • Perform procedures such as draining abscesses or removing suspicious moles
  • Order and interpret lab test results and imaging
  • Provide patient education and counselling
  • Assist in surgery
  • Make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes
  • Take the medical history of patients
  • Refer big or bad cases beyond his jurisdiction to a specialist
  • Aiding patients with chronic conditions
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Unless otherwise authorized by a supervising physician, the PA-C doctor can only perform an operation that is carefully supervised through video chat or phone calls.

To perform diligently, a supervising physician must be available to continue outside the jurisdiction of a PA-C doctor.

How long does it take to be a PA-C Doctor?

The PA-C educational program is modeled after the medical school curriculum, allowing participants to complete it in 27 months.

The training includes a wide range of classroom lectures backed with clinical instructions.

Well-experienced and equipped medical practitioners handle these training to transform knowledge accurately through information passed from lecture notes and experience over time.

The period of study towards becoming a Physician assistant is non-negotiable as potential PA-C doctors will have to follow through with the academic calendar of the school they chose to learn from.

To be eligible for the PA-C program, students must have completed two or three years of college or university courses in basic science, behavioral science, or medical-related courses.

This is similar to premedical studies acquired by medical students. The PA-C program completes more than 2000 hours of clinical training in services such as:

On completing this 27 months program, PA-C students are to take the national certification tests, otherwise known as the board.

Every two years, this certification needs 100 hours of continuing medical education.

PA-C doctors are also expected to take a national rectification exam every six years to maintain the “C” in PA in certain countries.

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PA-C Doctor: Best schools to get a PA-C Degree

The school you attend as a PA-C practitioner matters a lot.

Beyond getting a good job, it’s also important to note that education varies per school.

Different schools have different learning styles or curriculum vitae, but your choice of PA school matters when it comes to receiving or obtaining outstanding clinical experience, solid faculty, excellent academics, and graduating as a top student.

There are a lot of schools to attend, let’s look at the following:

  • Duke University
  • University of Iowa
  • Baylor college of medicine
  • University of Utah
  • Emory university
  • George Washington university
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Texas Southwestern medical centre Dallas


A PA-C doctor may have several primary care patients they care for over the years and would never get the chance to meet the supervising physician because of the quality of healthcare delivery the PA-C doctor offers.

However, if the case is beyond the PA-C doctor’s scope of practice and expertise, the PA-C doctor will usually refer the patient to a physician or ask the physician to take care for the patient.

The demand for PA-C doctors is set to increase by 37% in 2026, with young lads trooping into this department to make ends meet and save lives.

With the high demand for employment, a PA-C doctor can work in various forms, which include: hospitals, nursing homes, medical offices, community health centers, retail clinics, workplace clinics, schools, correctional institutions, and a lot more.

PA-C doctors can work in government agencies like veteran affairs (VA) and military branches.

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