Difference Between MD and PA
MD vs PA
Many prospective medical students find themselves confused as to the clear differences between a Medical Doctor and a Physicians Assistant. In order to make the differences clear, we need to understand the requirements that will lead one to either to a PA or a MD profession and the duties involved with each.
In basic terms, to qualify as a medical doctor, one has to attend and graduate from an accredited medical school, which is licensed as well. As for a PA, one needs to finish the Physician’s assistant course and depending on state, get an authorization to perform most of the tasks carried out by the MD, including patient examination, making diagnosis and giving prescriptions. But most importantly, a PA must always work under a medical doctor’s supervision, meaning every work done by a PA is to be reviewed by the MD.
However, the trend is that a number of hospitals and clinics hire Physicians’ Assistants for the sole reason that this is cheaper than hiring Medical doctors. But the best recommendation would still remain for one to visit a Medical Doctor for some serious medical conditions.
The education requirements for a medical doctor are a bachelor’s degree with the suitable math and science pre-requisites, four years of medical school that are split into 2 years of classes and 2 years of internship. In addition to this, and depending on the specialization chosen, one may need to take a 3 year residency. That would add up to 11 years of post high school training.
For the Physician Assistant, one needs to pursue a PA program, which can take approximately 2 years (26 months). Although a bachelor’s degree is not essential, majority of the a applicants who get accepted to the PA program have a bachelor’s degree and some experience in health care. During the course of their work, PAs may be required to take refresher courses and have their clinical skills be tested regularly.
The main duties a PA carries out include examining patients, treating them, taking the patient’s medical history, diagnosing conditions, prescribing medication and many of the duties that a MD would do. However, all of these are supervised by the MD.
The MD is the highest level in the field of medicine and therefore a Medical Doctor should carry out all medical related duties wholly and autonomously.
1. MD is a Medical Doctor while PA is a Physician’s Assistant.
2. An MD works autonomously while a PA always works under the supervision of the MD.
3.A Medical Doctor requires almost 11 years of post high school to qualify as one while a PA needs approximately 2 years and some health care experience.
4.It’s cheaper to hire a PA than an MD.
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