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Physician Associate

The Physician Associate is another role which falls under the umbrella of Allied Health professionals – medical professionals, excluding doctors, in the healthcare sector. This page will give you a detailed guide to the Physician Associate role, PA studies and careers.

What is a Physician Associate?

A Physician Associate is somebody who provides support to doctors taking care of patients. Their range of tasks include noting medical histories, analysing test results and diagnosing patients with the doctor’s supervision. The role is extremely varied: some Physician Associates may work in GP surgeries, or some may work in hospitals. Either way, you will have direct contact with patients.

What is the salary of a Physician Associate?

The Physician Associate salary generally starts at £31,072 after training and can rise to £35,000 per year. A standard working week is roughly 37.5 hours.

How can I take Physician Associate Studies?

Most Physician Associates will possess a Biomedical Sciences undergraduate degree – and then complete a Physician Associate degree. Currently, 29 universities in the UK run postgraduate Physician Associate Studies programmes. You can see these below:

UniversityProgramme
Anglia Ruskin UniversityMSc Physician Associate Studies
Brighton and Sussex Medical SchoolPostgraduate Clinical Diploma in Physician Associate Studies
Bucks New UniversityPostgraduate Diploma Physician Associate
Canterbury Christ Church UniversityPgDip Physician Associate Studies
Hull York Medical SchoolMSc Physician Associate Studies
Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and DentistryPgDip Physician Associate Studies
Sheffield Hallam UniversityPgDip Physician Associate Studies
London, St George's University of LondonMSc Physician Associate Studies
BirminghamPgDip Physician Associate Studies
UCLan, University of Central LancashirePgDip Physician Associate Studies
Norwich, East AngliaMSc Physician Associate Studies
LeedsPgDip Physician Associate Studies
ManchesterPgDip Physician Associate Studies
Reading UniversityPostgraduate Diploma Physician Associate
SurreyPgDip Physician Associate
Bristol, University of the West of EnglandMSc Physician Associate Studies
WolverhamptonPgDip Physician Associate Studies
WorcesterMSc Physician Associate
BradfordMSc Physicians Associate Studies
London, Brunel UniversityMSc Physician Associate Studies
Newcastle UniversityPgDip Physician Associate Studies
SheffieldPgDip Physician Associate Studies
SwanseaPgDip Physician Associate Studies
LiverpoolPgDip Physician Associate Studies
AberdeenPgDip Physician Associate Studies
Bangor, University of WalesPgDip Physician Associate Studies

These programmes usually last two years. The course structure will cover patient-centred learning approaches, clinical reasoning strategies for diagnosis and clinical practice. Most programmes will also usually involve weeks of clinical placements in primary care in the second year of study.

What are the entry requirements to become a Physician Associate?

Entry requirements for Physician Associate courses vary from school to school – so double check these before applying! Brighton and Sussex Medical School require that applicants will possess a first or second class honours degree in Life Sciences, or another healthcare-related undergraduate degree.

The University of Manchester requires a first or second class honours degree in a relevant subject – in this, they include Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, as well as Nursing, Midwifery and Pharmacy. Some universities also highly value relevant work experience, so it’s a good idea to try to undertake work experience as a Physician Associate before applying.

What can I expect from a Physician Associate job?

A career as a Physician Associate involves working across a wide range of areas in the NHS. Your day-to-day tasks can include diagnosing illnesses, developing treatment plans, managing patients with long-term chronic conditions, examining patients and analysing their test results. Physician Associates are unable to prescribe medicines, or to conduct X-Ray scans.

Your work will largely focus on adult and general practice, rather than providing specialty care – and you will need to pass a recertification test every six years to demonstrate you possess this general medical knowledge. The two year training at UK universities will include 1,600 hours of clinical training, and you will also spend 90 hours across the areas of mental health, surgery and gynaecology.

Read more about becoming a Physician Associate:

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