What’s a physician assistant?

Physician assistants (PAs) support doctors at their practice. They perform many of the same jobs that doctors do and, like doctors, they’re trained, licensed, and certified to give you the best care. They can diagnose, treat, and examine patients like doctors, but always require a doctor’s supervision to practice medicine. They can create treatment plans, prescribe medicine, and counsel patients about their treatment options. They can also do minor surgeries, cosmetic procedures, and can provide pre- and post-op care.

Like doctors, a physician assistant has to begin their schooling with an undergraduate degree. Instead of going on to medical school, PAs go into a master’s program for twenty-four months. This can be continuous, year-round, but it’s usually spread out over three years. In their programs, they learn general medicine and do clinical rotations.

Although PAs don’t specialize like doctors, they can choose to work for a specialist. Much of their training is on-the-job training with their supervising physician. There are also organizations that certify PAs that are dedicated to specialties like the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants and the Michigan Dermatology Physician Assistants.

At Lifetime Dermatology, all of our practicing PAs are members of these organizations. These memberships give them access to conferences, workshops, training, and other continuing education that keeps their skills and knowledge sharp. Meet Dr. Hern’s team before stopping by for your appointment.