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Physician associate

Physician associates support doctors to diagnose and manage patients in hospitals and GP surgeries.

Annual Salary

£44,000 to £50,000

Average UK salary in 2023 was £34,963
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 42 week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on shifts

Future employment

There will be 3.8% more Physician associate jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

You'll support the work of the medical team to provide care for patients with a range of medical conditions.

You'll do many of the day-to-day tasks of doctors, like:

  • examine patients and take medical histories
  • diagnose and make referrals
  • create a healthcare management plan
  • perform medical procedures
  • give advice on keeping healthy and promote wellbeing

Working environment

You may need to wear a uniform.

You could work in an NHS or private hospital or at a health centre.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

To become a physician associate you'll need to complete a postgraduate diploma or master's qualification that is recognised by the Faculty of Physician Associates.

For this, you'll usually need a first undergraduate degree in a health or life sciences subject like:

  • biochemistry
  • medical science
  • healthcare science
  • nursing

The postgraduate qualification takes 2 years to complete. It combines study with practical clinical experience in general, community and emergency medicine.

Some universities now offer an undergraduate degree that includes an integrated Master of Physician Associate Studies (MPAS). These courses take 4 years to complete.

If you're already a qualified medical professional, contact universities offering the postgraduate course about their entry requirements.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 3 A levels, or equivalent, including at least 1 science
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information

Depending on your qualifications and experience, you could do a Physician Associate Level 7 Degree Apprenticeship. This will take around 3 years to complete.

For more information

If you're a registered healthcare professional, like a nurse or midwife, you might be able to apply to become a physician associate.

You'll need to take a postgraduate qualification in physician associate studies to do this.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

  • Once you're qualified you have to complete 50 hours of continuous professional development each year and sit a renewal exam every 6 years.
  • pass enhanced background checks

More information

Career tips

When applying for courses and jobs, you'll be expected to have an understanding of how the NHS values apply in your work.

Professional and industry bodies

At the end of your course you'll sit a national exam and apply for physician associate membership of the Royal College of Physicians.

This allows you to join the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (PAMVR). This shows employers that you're a fully qualified physician associate.

Further information

You can find out more about training and working as a physician associate from the Royal College of Physicians and Health Careers.

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As an experienced physician associate you might be able to move into management, medical teaching or research.

You might move from general or emergency care into a specialism like paediatric care or mental health.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of medicine
  • knowledge of biology
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • active listening skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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