Physician Associate


Physician associates support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients.

Work Activities

Physician Associates are trained healthcare professionals who support Doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. They help Doctors to manage their patient workload.

As a Physician Associate, you might work in a GP surgery, or be based in a hospital. Wherever you work, you'll have direct contact with patients. Doctors may need to spend time either training, in clinics, or in surgery. This means they can't provide care for some of their patients. This is where the Physician Associate comes in. As a Physician Associate, you will provide a constant level of care for the patients on the ward or in the surgery.

You’ll be a graduate who has undertaken postgraduate training and you'll work under the supervision of a Doctor. You’ll be trained to perform a number of day-to-day tasks including:

  • diagnosing illnesses
  • taking medical histories from patients
  • performing physical examinations
  • seeing patients with long-term chronic conditions
  • performing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures
  • analysing test results
  • providing health promotion and disease prevention advice for patients

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Physician Associate, you will need:

  • an interest in health or social care
  • good communication skills
  • a friendly, caring nature
  • tact and sensitivity
  • strong observation skills
  • the ability to listen to patients and their families, reassure them and explain things clearly
  • physical fitness (in most areas of nursing, you'll be on your feet a lot)
  • number skills, for example, to take body measurements such as blood pressure
  • emotional strength to deal with distressing situations

Pay and Opportunities


NHS employees are paid on a rising scale within defined pay bands, according to your skills and responsibilities.

  • Band 6: £30,401 to £37,267
  • Band 7: £37,570 to £43,772

Hours of work

Physician Associates usually work a 37.5 hour week. This may involve working shifts.

Where could I work?

At the moment this role is only available within the NHS. It is expected that opportunities will be available in towns, cities and rural areas throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on the NHS Jobs website, in professional journals, and on specialist and general job boards.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

To become a Physican Associate, you must complete a Physician Associate Studies postgraduate diploma. You’ll usually need a biology-related first degree to get onto one of the 25 postgraguate training programmes available.

The University of Central Lancashire runs a four year undergraduate integrated Master of Physician Associate Studies course. This is currently the only undergraduate Physician Associate training course. You will combine university study with work-based placements.

Alternatively, if you’re a registered healthcare professional such as a nurse, allied health professional or midwife you can also apply to become a Physician Associate.

Work Experience

Work experience, such as shadowing Doctors and other healthcare staff, or maybe working in a care environment (such as a care home) will help you stand out as an applicant.


To get on to a degree course you will typically need:

  • 2/3 A levels, including at least one science subject
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 and above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 and above, including English and maths

Further Information

NHS Wales Careers

Publisher: National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare



NHS Jobs


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NHS careers

Tel: 0345 6060655


Skills for Health

Skills for the health sector

Address: Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP

Tel: 0117 9221155



British Medical Association (BMA)

Address: BMA House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9JP

Tel: 020 7387 4499


British Medical Association (BMA) Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: 16 Cromac Place, Cromac Wood, Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 2JB

Tel: 028 9026 9666



British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland

Scottish enquiries

Address: 14 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1LL

Tel: 0131 2473000



British Medical Association (BMA) Wales

Welsh enquiries

Address: 5th Floor, 2 Caspian Point, Caspian Way, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF10 4DQ

Tel: 029 2047 4646



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