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Sarah Caudle

Sarah Caudle

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MD vs. PA

What is the difference between an MD and a PA?
A physician assistant is a medical professional who operates under a doctor’s supervision. Both the doctor as well as the PA, share patient care responsibility. The scope of a PA’s duties includes examining patients, diagnosing illnesses, taking the patient’s history, developing and carrying out treatment plans, counseling patients on healthcare plans and performing certain medical procedures, such a re-aligning fractures. The main duties of a PA are very similar to that of a doctor across several aspects; except for a few major procedures, such as surgery. Physician assistants may assist doctors in surgical procedures but they themselves are not licensed to perform surgery. Other than that, the major difference in job functions between a doctor and a physician assistant is that a doctor works autonomously whereas a PA always works under the supervision of the doctor. Physician Assistants in Texas are authorized to write prescriptions. At Pediatric Sports and Spine Associates, our Physician Assistants have been trained directly by Dr. Capelo, and have extensive experience in treating pediatric fractures, sports and overuse injuries, scoliosis and other conditions of the spine, and many other pediatric orthopedic conditions.


What It Takes To Become A Doctor? A medical doctor invests many years into the education and training which is required to become proficient in diagnosing various conditions, determining the appropriate treatment options, and prescribing the best treatment. After obtaining an undergraduate degree, it takes four years to obtain a degree a medical degree(MD), and then 3 to 7 additional years of residency training before receiving a license to practice medicine or surgery. Doctors are board-certified on the national level and must obtain a state license where they practice.


What It Takes To Become A Physician Assistant? Physician Assistant qualifications vary slightly from one state to another, but obtaining a license to practice usually requires a 4-year undergraduate degree and completion of an accredited Physician Assistant Master’s program. Most programs are approximately 26 months (three academic years) and require the same prerequisite courses as medical schools. Most programs also require students to have about three years of healthcare training and experience. To obtain a PA license, PAs must successfully complete a one-year clinical rotation where they gain hands-on medical experience. Physician assistants are certified on the by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and a PA must obtain a state license where they practice. Physician Assistants are also required to complete ongoing continuing education classes and regular re-testing of medical expertise.

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