physician associate careers

Physician Associate Jobs

Physician associate jobs… did you know?

Becoming a physician associate is a great career choice for graduates who want direct contact with patients but aren’t doctors or nurses.

Physician associates work in hospitals or GP surgeries, and it’s their job to support doctors in diagnosis and handling patients. You’ll most often work in general practice, acute (internal) medicine and emergency medicine.

"I find it very rewarding when I've supported a patient with a mental illness and see them come out the other side feeling hopeful and stronger than they were." Andy King, physician associate at Mosborough Health Centre in Sheffield

Health and Science Careers

Physician associate job trends

How much money can you make as a Physician associate?

£30,000 – £48,000 (UK average)

Recent labour market information says you can earn on average between £30,000 and £48,000 a year as a physician associate in the UK. The NHS will offer you extra pay if you live in or around London, as this is seen as a high-cost area.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, or location. Your salary will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

What entry qualifications and training do you need?

School, college and training

School, College and Training

This is a career choice for graduates because you first need to complete a bioscience-related BSc degree (and get a first in it). Once you’ve got your degree, you can apply to get onto one of the training programmes available.  They are usually full-time courses that last two years and combine theory and practice.

Alternatives to university:

If you’re already working as a registered healthcare professional, e.g. a nurse or midwife, you can also apply to become a physician associate.

An undergraduate integrated Master of Physician Associate Studies at the University of Central Lancashire will run, subject to approval. You’ll need A-levels to apply for this course.


There are increasing opportunities for heading into healthcare careers by doing a healthcare apprenticeship.

You can complete either an apprenticeship or advanced apprenticeship in healthcare. This gives you the opportunity to earn a salary working in healthcare while getting structured learning that leads to an industry-recognised qualification.

The NHS runs traineeships, apprenticeships and cadet schemes.

NHS apprenticeships are on offer at four levels:

  • Intermediate (Level 2 – equivalent to five GCSES (9-4/A*-C)
  • Advanced (Level 3 – equivalent to two A-levels)
  • Higher (Levels 4-7 – equivalent to foundation degree or above)
  • Degree apprenticeship (Levels 6-7 – equivalent to a degree)

There are some entry requirements for NHS apprenticeships. For example, to successfully apply for an Advanced Level Apprenticeship you may need four or five GCSEs or their equivalents, sometimes in particular subjects.

To start a higher apprenticeship with the NHS you may need a Level 3 qualification or enough healthcare-related experience to show you have the skills and knowledge to apply.

Visit NHS Healthcare Careers to see the range of healthcare apprenticeships on offer.

Career progression

With time and experience you could head into management or into a specialist clinical area. You could also move into research or share your knowledge and skills in a teaching post.

What experience do you need for physician associate jobs?

Work experience

It can help you decide if this is the right career for you if you have previously done work experience in a healthcare environment.

Any work experience where you have demonstrated your healthcare skills can help your application. Visit the NHS Work Experience website to find healthcare work experience opportunities in your area.

Examples of relevant work experience include:

  • Work shadowing (even if it’s just for a day)
  • Work placements in a company
  • Year-long industry placements on a sandwich degree course

Volunteering and extra-curricular activities

Volunteering is a very caring thing to do because you are choosing to give up your time to help other people. Employers may be impressed to see volunteering on your CV, and any volunteering experience related to healthcare is especially useful. Maybe you have volunteered to help vulnerable people like the homeless or elderly people?

You may have been a carer yourself for someone in the family, or you have helped family relatives struggling with their health. This life experience means you know what can be involved in caring for someone’s health.

What skills do you need for physician associate jobs?

What life and work skills do you need to make a great physician associate?

Useful skills to highlight when applying for a position include:

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

You can start to build these skills right now when you sign up with Youth Employment UK to get free Young Professional training.

What does a physician associate do?

Working under the supervision of a doctor, your daily job responsibilities will include:

  • Taking medical histories from patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Diagnosing illnesses
  • Seeing patients with long-term chronic conditions
  • Performing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures
  • Analysing test results
  • Developing management plans
  • Providing health promotion and disease prevention advice for patients.

Your first steps into Physician associate jobs

These roles are advertised under different job titles. When you’re looking on job boards, look for the following types of job:

  • Physician associate
  • Primary care physician associate
  • Associate physician

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