11+ Pros and Cons of Physician Assistant (Updated)4 min read

Are you wondering the pros and cons of a physician assistant? Have you been interested in finding out the functions of a physician assistant? Then this article is for you.

Physician assistants are professionals whose jobs are not popular and known to most individuals. However, they are still part of critical, vital, and important individuals helping and working in the medical and health sector.

They are professionals who can work with patients of different ages, analyze and treat typical and everyday sicknesses.

This article will define a physician assistant, state the functions of a physician assistant, and the pros and cons of a physician assistant.

Pros and Cons of Physician Assistant

Who is a Physician Assistant?

Physician assistants are certified medical and health care professionals who can provide basic medical services and typically works under the supervision of a doctor or a certified physician. They can work in different areas of the health sector.

Individuals who study to become physician assistants can specialize in a variety of areas.

Some of their specialization options include;

  • Internal Medicine
  • Cardiology
  • Family Medicine
  • Anaesthesia
  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Dermatology
  • Radiology etc.

Some of the workplaces for physician assistants are hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

To become a physician assistant, you’ll need to complete 6 to 7 years of education at a university or college. Some professionals can transfer careers to become a physician assistants.

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Physician assistants are also required to obtain a master’s degree in physician assistant studies. Moreover, there are several exams physician assistants are required to complete to get their license.

Functions of Physician Assistant

  • Aiding in surgery
  • Prescribing medicine or drugs
  • Carrying outpatient exams
  • Diagnosing illnesses or sicknesses
  • Developing and overseeing plans for treatment
  • Counselling patients on excellent medical practices

Pros and Cons of Physician Assistant

Pros of Physician Assistant

Adjustable schedule: 

An individual working as a physician assistant can have a flexible and adjustable schedule, especially if working per day is around 10 to 12 hours.

As a result, the physician assistant can schedule their workdays at a time that is most convenient for them.

Even though a physician assistant is expected to work sometimes on holidays, weekends, nights, or on-call, it is possible to get time off if the schedule is adjusted in a good way.

Flexibility in choosing a career:

The specialization options and disciplines available to a physician assistant are numerous, versatile, and plentiful. This means that there is flexibility in choosing careers.

There are many career choices available to a physician assistant.

For example, a physician assistant can either be a Neurosurgery physician assistant, pediatric physician assistant, or orthopedic physician assistant. The options available are many.

Physician assistants are blessed with the ability to work in a field that they choose and prefer. Thus, this will lead to an increase in the enjoyment and satisfaction of the job.

Secure Employment:

Obtaining a job in the healthcare sector means giving yourself very good job security. It is very hard for individuals in the health sector or field to lose their jobs.

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According to research, the need for physician assistants continues to grow rapidly.

In comparison to other occupations, you do not need to be concerned about job availability as a physician assistant because the profession is in high demand. As a result, physician assistants have a bright future.

Other Pros of Physician Assistant include:

  • Above-average paycheck
  • Shorter education compared to doctors
  • Smooth change between careers
  • Essential aid and benefit to the society
  • Ability to carry out some medical procedures
  • Career satisfaction

Pros and Cons of Physician Assistant

Cons of Physician Assistant

Cumbersome work hours:

Although the schedule can be flexible and adjustable as a physician assistant, some occasions will be sorely missed. If the schedule is not favourable, the work hours will be inconvenient, cumbersome, and annoying.

If a physician assistant is expected to work on holidays, weekends or nights, it is inevitable that some events will not be attended to.

On the other hand, a physician assistant can also be on-call, which could be very less than ideal as plans might not go through.

Recertification of license:

Physician assistants are expected and mandated to update and renew their license every 6 to 10 years, unlike other professions where they pay fees to renew their license.

In the process of renewing and updating their license, they will have to retake a certification exam. This means that they will have to re-read, revise and relearn knowledge to write the exam.

This is a very big disadvantage of a physician assistant as it is very irritating and troublesome to do this.

You need a supervising physician:

An individual who is a physician assistant should have a supervising physician or doctor. Note that the different states have different rules for physician assistants and the degree of autonomy granted to a physician assistant.

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However, it doesn’t matter how qualified, suitable, and capable you become as a physician assistant; your situation will always require a supervising assistant.

This means that physician assistants have limited independence related to their practice in medicine.

Other Cons of Physician Assistant include:

  • An increase in salary and promotion is limited
  • Stress and pressure increase
  • Possibility of exhaustion
  • Patients confuse and misunderstand your duties or roles.


The pros and cons of a physician assistant should assist and aid in making the decision. If you have an interest in becoming a physician assistant, research more extensively and get the advice of an experienced physician assistant.

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