Physician Assistant How to Hire, Salary Data, and Job Descriptions

Physician assistants serve a critical role in the health-care industry. They practice alongside doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel in hospitals, clinics, and physician’s offices. Physician assistants — also known as PAs — examine, diagnose, and treat patients. In some cases, they serve as primary-care providers when a licensed physician is not available. 

Sample job description #1

ABC Company, Virginia’s largest provider of expert orthopedic and therapy care, is currently seeking a full-time, licensed Physician Assistant (PA) or Nurse Practitioner (NP) to join our team! Along with a collaborative, team-oriented work environment, our outstanding employment package includes: competitive salaries, excellent medical, dental, and vision benefits, paid time off (PTO), a generous 401k incentive plan, short-term and long-term disability insurance, life insurance, and a company-wide wellness program.

The APP will support our growing Pain Management service line. The primary work location with be in Alexandria, VA in a brand-new pain management suite with state-of-the-art imaging and technology. You will work closely and collaboratively with the physician delivering comprehensive interventional pain management using various modalities.

Responsibilities and duties

  • Performs physical examination, compiles medical data and records medical history, and implements a treatment plan on new and established patients
  • Orders appropriate diagnostic studies when indicated
  • Instructs patients and families regarding treatment plan and medications
  • Consults with physician when warranted to assess patient condition and treatment
  • Ensures that medical charts and administrative paperwork is completed in a timely manner
  • Provides monitoring and continuity of care between physician visits
  • Provides follow-up care to patients according to practice guidelines
  • Notifies Medical Director or attending physician if patient does not meet criteria or is not suitable for treatment in the outpatient setting
  • Supports the patient and family by explaining the procedure experience with specific instructions to the patient and family regarding their responsibility in the outpatient process
  • Performs within guidelines of specific privileges approved by the governing body and delegated by the Medical Director
  • Monitors patients and administers medications according to Facility policy
  • Provides support to medical and office staff

Knowledge, skills and abilities

  • Ability to assess situations, resolve within scope of ability, or escalate as appropriate
  • Ability to respond effectively to emergencies, actual events, or drills
  • Ability to follow instructions with little supervision
  • Ability to maintain professional demeanor in all aspects of role
  • Demonstrates initiative and is a motivated learner
  • Assists in completing paperwork for patients as indicated
  • Travels between facilities when indicated, rarely
  • Strong customer service skills and excellent communication skills

Requirements and qualifications

  • Completion of an accredited Physician Assistant Program or Nurse Practitioner Program is required
  • Must maintain CEU’s in pertinent clinical practice according to licensure requirements
  • BLS Certification must be maintained
  • Pain Management or Orthopedic experience highly desired. However, new graduates are encouraged to apply
  • (State) license

Sample job description #2

The Physician Assistant (PA) or Nurse Practitioner (NP) will provide a wide range of pre, peri, and post-operative care to surgical patients. The PA/NP will participate under the supervising surgeon’s direct, general, or personal supervision in the office and hospital settings.

Essential functions:

  • Obtain a detailed history and physical examination of the presenting surgical problem
  • Prescribe medical, therapeutic, or corrective measures
  • Recognize and evaluate clinical situations that call for the immediate attention of the supervising surgeon
  • Prescribe medications as allowable under state law and Federal DEA regulations
  • Order and interpret laboratory tests and diagnostic studies
  • Address and resolve clinical inquiries from patients, office, and hospital staff related to surgeons and PA/NP patient volume
  • Perform detailed and accurate documentation of patient encounters in a timely manner
  • Perform and/or assist in consultation of hospital in-patients and emergency room patients
  • Provide support to the surgeon on daily and weekend call schedule as agreed upon by PA/NP and surgeon
  • Provide clinical support to the surgeon in the operating room, emergency department, and hospital setting
  • Provide First Assist support in the operating room
  • Perform and/or assist with rounding in hospital as needed
  • Assist with returning pages from the hospital
  • Prepare consult cases with review of studies, document history, and physical examination
  • Ordering of appropriate medications, testing, consultations, as well as other pre-and post-operative care per surgeon’s protocol
  • Perform procedures at various hospital settings under physician supervision (direct/indirect) commensurate with training, experience, and/or credentialing
  • Other duties as assigned and requested by surgical team members


  • Must have high level of interpersonal skills to handle sensitive and confidential situations
  • Working knowledge of medical terminology
  • Good phone skills; Excellent Customer Service
  • Organized; sets priorities, and able to multitask
  • Baccalaureate Degree or higher in Physician Assistant Sciences, Nurse Practitioner, or related degree
  • Completion of an APAP or NP approved program with 60 hours of didactical training in pharmacology
  • Current PA/NP licensure and certification
  • 1-3 years of surgery experience or completion of a PA/NP surgical residency program

Sample job description #3

Job Summary: 

We are a well-established clinic looking for someone who is comfortable working in a fast-paced occupational medicine clinic that specializes in acute care and work-related injuries. Tasks would include providing direct patient care, timely documentation of patient encounters in the EMR, pre-employment physicals, worker’s compensation injuries and typical urgent care complaints with proper referrals to specialists or Emergency Room when needed. Excellent work life balance. No nights or weekends!

Responsibilities and duties

  • Provide and manage direct patient care, including physical examinations, evaluations, assessments, diagnoses, and treatment
  • Treat injuries and illnesses following Evidence Based Medicine standards
  • Manage patients thoroughly and efficiently, maintaining a continuous patient flow and avoiding long wait times
  • Order diagnostic tests, such as x-ray, electrocardiogram, and laboratory tests, as well as interpret test results
  • Perform minor outpatient surgical procedures such as wound closure and management, incision and drainage, and foreign body removal
  • Instructs and counsels patients regarding compliance with prescribed therapeutic regimens. Communicates with patients regarding testing results, follow-up care, and additional information
  • Communicate patient needs, diagnosis, and course of treatment to the patient, company, as well as other clinical staff and instruct and educate patients about discharge instructions if applicable
  • Review and manage daily tasks, patient callbacks, lab results while on shift
  • Works with Clinic Medical Director to ensure operations and quality of care are consistent with medical and professional standards of care
  • Support. You will be a part of a team of a physician assistant/nurse practitioner, on-site clinic medical director and with ongoing support from operations, IT, and clinical staff

Qualifications and skills

  • Must be board certified.
  • Must have and maintain a valid unrestricted medical license to practice in the (State)
  • Have current DEA & BLS certifications
  • Have a positive and outgoing personality and be a collaborative team player
  • Must have and maintain a controlled substance license along with a DEA license with no restrictions
  • 1 year of urgent care or emergency medicine experience desired but not required
  • Occupational Medicine experience preferred, but training with medical director is available

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a physician assistant is $104,250 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$103,700$140,250
Los Angeles, California$116,950$158,250
Denver, Colorado$97,450$131,900
Washington, DC$118,750$160,650
Miami, Florida$97,050$131,300
Orlando, Florida$89,500$121,100
Tampa, Florida$90,400$122,300
Atlanta, Georgia$94,800$128,300
Chicago, Illinois$109,000$147,450
Boston, Massachusetts$117,850$159,450
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$93,950$127,100
New York City, New York$124,050$167,850
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$101,000$136,650
Dallas, Texas$98,350$133,100
Houston, Texas$97,450$131,900
Seattle, Washington$113,400$153,450
National Average$88,600$119,900

Sample interview questions

  • What is your understanding of what a physician assistant does?
  • How would you describe your work ethic?
  • Why do you want to become a physician assistant?
  • Do you have any experience working in the medical field? If so, what kind?
  • Describe your work style. How are you as a team member?
  • What is your availability for work? On average, how many hours can you work per week?
  • Which medications are you comfortable talking about to patients?
  • Why do you want to leave your current position and why are you interested in this particular company/practice/clinic?
  • Do you have any experience with patient assessments? If so, please describe.
  • What do you think are the most important qualities for a successful physician assistant?
  • What challenges have you faced in your previous roles and how did you address them?
  • Are you comfortable working with patients who have limited mobility or are disabled?
  • What do you think the most important thing for a physician assistant to possess is?
  • If you could describe yourself with three adjectives, what would they be?
  • Give me an example of a difficult situation that you faced as a physician assistant and how you coped with it.

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