Physician Assistant Resume Guide

Physician Assistant

If you’re looking to be a Physician Assistant, the first thing you’ll need is an interview-winning resume to get your foot in the hospital swing door.

Keep reading to learn how to do just that, without the “land your dream job in 10 easy steps” nonsense. 


Physician Assistant Resume Example

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Physician Assistant Resume Writing Guide

Resume Sections

1. Contact Information: 

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Email
  • Optional: LinkedIn

2. Career Summary: 
Similar to your Twitter bio, but more professional. Stick to 3-5 compelling sentences. In your career summary, present your years of experience, specialist skills, qualifications, and one or two valuable interpersonal traits. For a little extra razzle-dazzle, put this section in a different or larger font to make it pop. 

3. Qualifications Summary:
Not all roads lead to Rome. Some of them lead to becoming a PA. There is more than one way to acquire the title of Physician Assistant. There is a high demand for PA’s, and numerous courses and training options are opening up across the country. Medical schools are by far the most equipped in terms of grooming and training you into becoming the best PA could be. There are prerequisite courses to learn and better understand the field of medicine, through patient care experience. Some states require you to participate in formal accreditation programs to pass an entry exam. In other states, job training hours are required. Be sure to list de

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4. Relevant Physician Assistant Experience:
for this section, channel your inner Amy Santiago and channel your internal organizer. You can opt for using a functional or a chronological approach when typing up your experience. You may use a functional (to showcase your functional skills and experience to display your academic and practical knowledge in the form of bullet points, without linking ) or chronological format (where you showcase your experience by relating it to a job in 3-5 bullet points) to present experience and skills on your Physician Assistant Resume. Both of these methods are accepted. As long as you stick to Working interdependently with Physicians, PAs provide diagnostic and therapeutic patient care in virtually all your best PA-related experiences. It would be highly suggested to correlate your experience with keywords you can find in the job listing to make your resume more relevant to each job you apply. Your experiences can be as vast as those of your supervising Physicians, and be sure to make mention of all your specialty experience, like clinical practice, patient education, team leadership, medical education, health administration, and research.

6. Skills Summary/Key Skills: 
Make your future employer’s life easier by dedication a section in your resume to your skills. They want to know whether you know what that sharp thing is for and your dental experience (not the state of your mouth, please). Showcase your work tenure and mirror those lovely keywords in the job listing for this section to prove that you are a good match. Focus on the requirements and align them with your specific skillset. Opt for using a skills matrix format. 

6. Certification/Licensing: 
Requirements vary in terms of the entrance to PA training programs, but across the board, at least two years of college coursework is required, and subjects such as chemistry, biology, and anatomy. In every state, it is required to obtain a professional license once you graduate. You must pass the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE), which is administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants Add your certifications and licensing in your education section, including details such as the name of your credential, institution attended, date of completion, course topics, and, where applicable, accumulated hours.  


What to Highlight in a Physician Assistant Resume

So, what exactly is it that you’re supposed to highlight in your resume? A resume is short, usually between one and two pages long, so you need to be to the point and add only the most relevant information about your skills and qualifications. 

A Physician Assistant is a medical professional working directly under the supervision of a licensed Physician. This means that you would provide primary care services, such as performing examinations on patients, ordering tests, and prescribing medicines to them. As a PA, it comes as no surprise that you should possess a certain skill set. You would need to be competent in a range of soft skills, including being compassionate, a critical thinker, and being sensitive. Now, let’s have a look at certain aspects to be highlighter in your resume

First and foremost, provide information about your work environment. Everything from working for a private practitioner to working in a large hospital or an academic setting. NPs and PAs have to be jacks of all trades. Below are just a few of the sub- categories. Pick the ones most relevant to your current environment and include them in your resume.

  • Hospitals 

As far as opportunities go, this is the most obvious. Everything from OB to the theatre, the possibilities are seemingly endless. 

  • Emergency Departments

Just like working n a hospital, this can be all kinds of exciting and demanding. It’s perfect for the adrenaline junkies. Working in n emergency is a high-risk, high reward. It’s fast-paced, and you need to be ready for anything. If this is you be sure to include your ability to stay calm under pressure in your list of soft skills.

  • Urgent Care Centers

Falling somewhere between being family practices and hospitals is Urgent care. It’s slightly slower than an ER, and most of your extreme cases will be sent elsewhere, but you’ll be exposed to a wide variety of causes and conditions. Hiring manager would be keen to read about the cases your have been involved in.

  • Surgical Centers

For the PA’s looking to specialize in one type of medicine of procedure, Surgery centers offer the opportunity for just that. Everything from cosmetics to orthopedics can be part of your job scope, therefor be clear on the specialty you have been assigned to.

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  • Community Health Clinics

In addition to some emergency care, community health clinics provide the services a family practice would. Explain to recruiters exactly what a typical day would entail.

  • Retail Clinics

Retail clinics, as the name implies, are found in larger retail stores or pharmacies. They provide primary medical care, such as flu shots and less-invasive procedures. These clinics have specific operating hours. They receive many feet, and therefore a variety of patients from all walks of life. Your customer service orientation would be of interest to recruiters and hiring managers.

  • Nurse-Managed Medical Centers

This is a recent addition to the healthcare world. Nurse-managed medical centers offer various services at a lower cost than most healthcare institutions because there is no Physician on-site. If you’re looking at maybe running your practice, this would be an excellent place to work. This experience is also like catnip for hiring managers and looks good on a resume.

  • Phone Triage Centers

With the evolution of technology being what it is, medical help can be found at the tip of everyone’s fingers. Medical assistance given via phone is referred to as telehealth, and it is changing the world of medicine. This is a method for the public to receive necessary medical help or diagnosis. This is a progressive field and maybe the future of medicine which makes your exposure in this industry highly sought after.

  • Rural Health Care Facilities

As the name suggests, rural health care facilities are often the only source of medical care for miles. They serve smaller populations like small towns of native American reservations. They provide a variety of services and procedures to the people who need it. As most people are not too keen to work and live in the middle of nowhere, being available apply for jobs like these would definitely boost your chances of landing the job.

Second, you can specialize in a wide variety of areas as a PA, such as family practice, pediatrics, or surgical subspecialties like plastic or trauma surgery. 

  • Dermatology

These professionals focus on skin: evaluating, diagnosing, and treating skin conditions in both a medical and surgical manner. Most PAs in dermatology specialize by collaborating with an eligible or practicing board-certified dermatologist. Make sure to add these keywords in your technical skills matrix.

  • Critical Care

PAs working in critical care work in the ICU and engage in comprehensive patient care. Physicians are legally liable, but critical care provided by a PA focuses on the support and management of patient care over 24 hours. Include your availability to work irregular hours.

  • Emergency Medicine

There is a rising demand for PAs in emergency rooms. They practice under the supervision of a trained Physician and often work independently, too. Along with their regular duties (completing patient histories and physical exams, ordering tests, or prescribing treatments), emergency medicine PAs perform medical procedures such as lumbar punctures, closing lacerations, thoracentesis, and arterial punctures. Remember to add a technical skills section at the end of your resume and include all the procedures you can perform.

  • General Surgery

PAs in general surgery do patient rounds, write discharge summaries and correct issues, post-operative under a physician’s supervision. You may also perform various abdominal surgeries in a surgical suite and handle orthopedic, urological, and thoracic procedures. PA’s in general surgery also evaluate trauma victims and start treatment. 

  • Pathology

Examining patients post mortem, sampling tissues, and doing imaging fall under the scope of pathology PAs. You often need to go through an internship programme to accumulate hours on the job (add these to your education section).

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  • Radiology

You will perform a variety of both invasive and non-invasive procedures, imaging, and scans. In this specialty, PAs will also often perform what is called interventional radiology (otherwise given the very SciFi title “surgery of the new millennium”). They use real-time imaging to provide patients with targeted treatments in the least invasive way possible to reduce pain and recovery time. 

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

You can work either in an obstetrics office or family practice. You will provide family planning to patients, address gynaecological issues, and do annual check-ups and exams. 

  • Paediatrics

The diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, annual check-ups, and assisting Physicians in surgeries in paediatric patients. 

Explain to your recruiters how you would forge positive, lasting relationships with your patients to make them comfortable and how you would educate them on the correct oral hygiene, as well as simply outline their treatments. Patient relationships are a crucial part of being a PA. A smart idea would be to include a Soft Skills Matrix at the end of your resume (more on this later)

Last but not least, tell your future employer about your admin and general operational skills. Doctors prefer PAs who are trained in a variety of dental practice operations. This includes processing X-rays, recording procedure codes and lab tasks, send out bills, and follow up on payments. You will also need to demonstrate administrative skills, such as scheduling appointments.

Tools and Technology

Just like no house is a home without reheatable microwave meals, no resume is complete without an award-winning Tools and Technology section. In a table format, tell your recruiter all about your competencies in using all kinds of software, equipment, and instruments you come across daily as a PA. Here are some examples: 

UpToDatePedi QuikCalOsmosis
PicmonicShots Immunizations
LabGear Medical Lab Values & TestsDiagnosaurus® DDx
Microsoft TranslatorEpocrates Pharmacopeia
MedCalc – The Professional Medical CalculatorThe Sandford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy
The EMRA Antibiotic GuidePerfect OB Wheel
ICD-10 CM Coding GuideMedscape
Essential Clinical ProceduresZygote Body 3D Anatomy
NotabilityTarascon Pharmacopoeia


Career Summary Examples

A vital part of your resume is your career summary. You want to make a lasting impression on the hiring manager in the best way possible. Just like the rest of your resume would be tweaked and adapted to suit the listing or job you are applying for, so too should you adjust your career summary. Customize this section using the keywords and verbs you find in the job listing. It requires much work, but it is well worth the hours you put in. 

Tell your future employer about your contributions and your unique skills. The most relevant experiences and highest qualifications pertinent to your job as a PA are crucial. Summarize this in 3-6 powerful, action-packed sentences to impress the socks off your new boss. A half-hearted career summary will lose you the opportunity, so take extra care here. 

A word to the wise would be to mimic the terms and phrases in the advertisement. This will prove that you are the best fit for the role in question. 


Summary example 1:

“Professional yet personable NCCPA-certified Physician Assistant with 8+ years experience in busy, mid-sized clinics. As licensed and registered Physician Assistant in New York was awarded the 2016 AAPA/PAEA Preceptor of the Year. Registered member of the AAPA. Provided professional treatment and care of over 400 patients with orthopedic emergencies and traumatic injuries.”

Summary example 2:

“Adaptable, patient-focused Certified Physician Assistant with 5+ years of experience in family medicine. Exceptional at working with Physicians to best facilitate patient recovery. Currently, studying a Masters in Pediatric Medicine.”

Summary example 3:

“Highly experienced Physician’s Assistant with 10+ years of experience providing care in high-end practices. Professional and personable, patients and doctors alike enjoy working with. Knowledgeable in medicine, Psychology, and dentistry, and I use my extensive knowledge and skills to serve all ages. Excellent at teamwork, and always strives to ensure patients are as relaxed and comfortable as possible.”


Physician Assistant Job Descriptions, Responsibilities, and duty Examples

A PA who performs their daily tasks in the most professional manner will need a comprehensive skill set, including technical and administrative competencies and client relations. Sprinkle those keywords from your job listing in here, to ensure maximum probability of landing that interview. We have created a list of Physician Assistant job duties below for you to use as-is. You may also tweak and adjust them to suit your specific job experience. 

Physician Assistant Job Description:

  • Take part in quality improvement initiatives to help better patient safety and reduce errors 
  • In collaboration with a team or independently, conduct quality improvement projects and workflow optimization
  • Assisting attending Physician inpatient evaluations, follow-ups, and educating families regarding disease intervention and post-operative care 
  • Responsible for making rounds with attending Physicians, completing discharge forms, planning and care coordination, filling pre-operative orders, and providing the family and patient with support and education
  • Effective and professional communication with patients and their families, Physicians, residents, and other co-workers promptly
  • Participate actively in the provision of the workflow to optimize the provided care team model and allow everyone to work in the highest and most professional manner 
  • Develops, participates in, and implements quality performance improvement initiatives
  • Writes orders for medications, diagnostic tests, and lab works and interprets results
  • Performs patient rounds, daily
  • Performs physical exams and takes extensive patient histories 
  • Confers with other care team members, including attending Physician and nursing staff or other care providers, to ensure the quality of patient care is optimal
  • Handle patient telephone calls to continued patient care

Highlight Your Accomplishments

Doctors and practice managers are busy people and do not have the time to read every resume that comes across their desks in detail. Therefore, your Physician Assistant resume should hook their interest for the right reasons.

Use accomplishment statements as your proof of work regarding your skills set and capability to add value to the business. The trick to accomplishment statements is measurability. Include numerical values like volumes, timeframes, frequencies, ranking, scores, and percentages. Now you are implementing a quantification approach and consider improving your chances to land an interview. 

To start with, jot down achievements, recommendations, patient review scores, and contributions that you can link numbers to. Then choose 4-6 of the most impressionable ones to highlight your achievements and accomplishments. These should be significant enough to make you stand out from the rest of the resume pack.

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To help you get a head start, try to answer the questions below: 

  • How many patients do you see per day on average? 
  • How long does a procedure take on average? 
  • How many claims (in percentage) are accepted and paid out each month? 
  • How many times a day do you take vital signs? 
  • Which medical procedures can you perform, and how many have you performed? 


Accomplishment Statement Examples:

  • Caseload of 60% spine and 40% cranial and essential paediatrics
  • Treated and managed a diverse caseload of 25-30 patients per day, managing acute and chronic diseases.
  • Awarded the 2014 AAPA/PAEA Preceptor of the Year Award.

Physician Assistant in Education Section Example

Provide a detailed account of all your academic credentials in your education section. Include any relevant training programs or conferences you attended, as well as short skills workshops, CPD’s, and accumulated practical hours. Name information on the course curriculum and major topics, too. \

Pretend you’re telling your story backward and list the credentials in reverse chronological order. Include the date of completion, name of credential, and the institution you attended. 

2017 – 2019 Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (Physician Associate Program), Rocky River School of Health Technology and Management, Springfield, AZ

Relevant Coursework: Clinical Pharmacology, Contemporary Issues in Health Care Delivery, Research Writing for Health Professionals, Principles and Practices of Clinical Prevention and Population Health

2014-2016 Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care, Long Island University, Long Island, NJ

Relevant Coursework: Healthcare Ethics, Medical Terminology, Medical Laws and Ethics, Clinical Medicine, Nutrition Support, Pharmacology, Quantitative Methods

What to Write in a Physician Assistant Resume Skills Section


Your resume will have to survive a few rounds of elimination before it makes its way to the guy who will call you for an interview. As with the rest of your resume, match up your skills list with the skills listed in the job listing you are applying for. The computer programs that do the first few rounds of eliminations throw out resumes that don’t include these words. These bots and programs will then list the resumes in order of suitability. 

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Use the skills matrix formation on your resume. Write down your soft skills first, and your technical competencies second. Refer to the requirements mentioned n the job listing to see which skills you should highlight. 

Create a table listing all these skills, such as the one below: 

Soft Skills Matrix

Time ManagementReliableDiplomatic
EmpathyEnthusiasticCaring
PlanningPatient CommunicationResourceful
Active ListeningSchedulingTeam Player
Sound JudgementCompassionateMotivated
Relationship BuildingEfficientOrganized
Patient CareFlexibleDetail Orientated

Technical Competencies

Respiration and Blood Pressure MachinesOperate X-ray UnitsElectrocardiogram Machines
UltrasoundHematologic DisordersNeurofeedback
Advanced Nutrition in Clinical PracticeEpidemiologyIV’s
Treating and Diagnosing PatientsPathologyInternal Medicine
Chronic and Acute IllnessesPrescribing MedicationsSpinal Immobilization
ObstetricsGynecologyLumbar Punch
Skin Cancer & RashesCompassion and EmpathyCardiothoracic Surgery
GeriatricsHealth Risk AssessmentOrder and Perform Diagnostic Tests
Surgical InstrumentsSelf-Care ProgramsPediatrics

Qualifications/Certifications associated with Physician Assistants

Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) ExamNational Entry Level Physician Assistant (NELDA)Impressions (IM) Exam
Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA)Certified Preventive Functions Physician Assistant (CPFDA)Orthodontic Assisting (OA) Exam
NCCPA Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) — Cardiovascular & Thoracic SurgeryInfection Control (ICE) ExamTemporaries (TMP) Exam
NCCPA Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) — Orthopaedic SurgeryAssociates Degree in Pharmaceutical TechnologiesCertified Physician Assistant
NCCPA Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) — Emergency MedicineAmerican Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)APTA
CAPTECCVTCFMT
CPR and First AidECSFSBTE

Professional information on Physician Assistants

Sectors: Healthcare, Medical, Clinical, Dental, Cosmetic, Surgical
Career Type Professional Care, Specialized Care, General Care, Post Op Recovery, Preventative Care, Health Education, Assistant, Healthcare Worker, 

Person Type: Caregiver, Helper, First Responder, Medical Advisor, Surgical Assistant, Counsellor, Post-Operations Monitor

Education Levels: From High School Diploma upwards
Salary Indication: Average salary $ 104 830 (teach.com)

Labor market: 31% increase between 2019 – 2029 (BLS)

Organizations: Hospitals, Private Practices, Medical Facilities, Corporate, Old Age Homes, School Clinics, Military, Schools, Public Health Care Educational Institutions, NPO’s, Government, Nursing Homes, Step Down Facilities, Hospices, Volunteer Organizations, Community Facilities

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