Students in Pennsylvania College of Technology's physician assistant program were among participants across the United States celebrating National PA Week, held Oct. 6-12.
Physician assistants across the country use National PA Week to increase awareness of both the profession and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. On Penn College's campus, the future PAs gathered for a group photo and held a fundraiser to support the activities of the college's Physician Assistant Club.
The theme for the national observance is "America Needs PAs." A PA is a graduate of an accredited educational program who is nationally certified and state-licensed to practice medicine with the supervision of a physician.
Juniors in the physician assistant bachelor-degree major at Penn College gather to celebrate National PA Week, Oct. 6-12.
"PAs are trained and educated by the medical model, which is a combination of classroom and clinical instruction, and therefore share diagnostic and therapeutic rationale similar to physicians," said Whit Worman, director of the physician assistant program at Penn College.
PAs perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illness, order and interpret lab tests, perform procedures, assist in surgery, provide patient education and counseling, and make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes. All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow PAs to practice and prescribe medicine.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physician assistants is expected to increase by 30 percent through 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for a physician assistant exceeds $86,000.
Penn College offers a Bachelor of Science degree in physician assistant. While in the major, the option of starting a master's degree via distance learning through Nova Southeastern University is a practical route for interested students. Job placement for graduates from the Penn College program is 100 percent.